One month and one day ago, infertility took Washington by storm. Fertility advocates—including patients, doctors, nurses, members of the pharmaceutical field, and not-for-profit members—people from every interest group imaginable and from all over the country gathered at the Capitol under the auspices of RESOLVE & ASRM to both thank our legislators for their support and to ask for more.

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More Access To Care

The American Medical Association just announced six days ago that they are supporting the World Health Organization in designating Infertility as a disease. As such, there is more than reasonable expectation that there is increased medical coverage for the treatment of infertility.

More Help & Support For Our Wounded Veterans

More and permanent support for IVF4Vets so that our wounded warriors can count on their country supporting their desire for a family.

More Open Discourse About Embryo Personhood & Pro-Family Fertility Treatment

The message was consistently repeated in every representative and senators office—fertility treatment is pro-family. The evidence is visible, with the five million plus IVF babies, children and adults who are present today due to medical treatment for the disease of infertility. ASRM's President, Richard Paulson, wrote a letter with a strong scientific message, explaining that "life is a continuum" and that no new life has come to be because of fertilization, given that an egg and sperm are also "live cells."

Fertility care is pro-family, it enables every person the opportunity to have a family.

—Lisa Rosenthal

Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) joined the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association at Advocacy Day in Washington, DC on May 18. RMACT’s surgical director Dr. Spencer Richlin and two of its Patient Advocates, Carrie Van Steen and Lisa Rosenthal, met with delegates from all seven of Connecticut’s representatives’ offices, including Senator Christopher Murphy, Representative James Himes, and Representative Rosa DeLauro.

Based on direction from RESOLVE and ASRM, RMACT’s Advocacy Team delivered three messages on Capitol Hill: the importance of access to infertility care, the need for lasting in vitro fertilization (IVF) coverage for wounded veterans and the understanding that infertility treatment is pro-family. This last message is intended to directly contrast personhood laws; while Connecticut does not have personhood laws, it is important to educate legislators and to discourage other states from implementing personhood laws that would directly affect the ability to use fertility protocols to build families.

Although Connecticut has comparatively progressive policy, it is important for our representatives to understand how and why this positively affects residents.

—Dr. Spencer Richlin

Along with these messages, RMACT’s Advocacy Team delivered impassioned letters on behalf of RMACT patients, friends and family. RMACT gathered more letters than any other practice nationwide and because of these efforts, Connecticut had more letters than any other state. The letters acted as an important vehicle for patients who wanted to add their voices but were not able to attend the activities in Washington, DC. RMACT collected over 300 letters during the practice’s letter campaign kick-off event alone.

“Although Connecticut has comparatively progressive policy, it is important for our representatives to understand how and why this positively affects residents,” says Dr. Richlin, a partner at Fairfield County’s leading fertility practice. “About 50–60 percent of our patients have coverage provided by Connecticut’s State Mandate, which makes fertility treatments like IVF more accessible and affordable.”

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RMACT considers patient advocacy part of its responsibility. In addition to annually participating in Advocacy Day, RMACT spreads important messages about infertility, including its prevalence and how patients can find treatment. Dr. Joshua M. Hurwitz recently met with representatives to explain the urgent need of fertility preservation for cancer patients. Earlier this month, there was unanimous and bipartisan support in the Connecticut state legislature Bill 7124, which requires health insurance providers in the state to provide fertility preservation treatments for patients diagnosed with cancer starting in January 2018.

“Fertility care is pro-family, it enables every person the opportunity to have a family,” said Lisa Rosenthal, Connecticut State Team Captain for Advocacy Day. “This is a powerful message, and one with a strong voice behind it as ASRM and RESOLVE joined forces for the first time this year. RMACT was grateful to have the opportunity to represent our patients, our RMACT team members, and our state.”

Topics: Advocacy Day

Lisa Rosenthal

Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.

Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.

Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.

Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.

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