One in eight couples of childbearing age in the United States has trouble conceiving or sustaining a pregnancy. Not being able to have a child is life altering and fundamental to the lives of so many men and women. Medical technology now offers more treatment options for people trying to conceive a child including hormone treatments, ovulation induction and intrauterine insemination. In addition, more advanced technologies like in-vitro fertilization, ICSI, surrogacy, egg/sperm donation and even embryo donation have become widely available. These advancements build families every day. The World Health Organization and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recognize infertility as a disease, yet access to infertility treatments is shrinking, and family building issues are in need of support. The following legislation is at the forefront for advocacy groups, supporters, and partners defending and promoting positive public policy for reproductive rights and the infertility community.
Support the Women’s Veterans and Families Health Services Act
Our country’s veterans deserve the nation’s full support. Those with severe reproductive injuries often need specialized treatments such as IVF in order to have a family, but IVF is excluded from Veteran Affair’s medical benefits. This bill provides veterans wounded in the line of duty with access to reproductive treatments and adoption assistance, permanently.
Support The Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act
Adopting a child can be expensive. Since 1997, there has been bipartisan support in Congress for the Adoption Tax Credit (ATC). The ATC advances the important public goal of encouraging adoptions, especially of children with special needs. A tax credit helps only those who can use it-- the ATC needs to be made refundable so that low-to-moderate income families can afford to adopt children.
Stop Personhood Bills
The Personhood movement asserts that a microscopic embryo is equivalent to a person and therefore is afforded the rights of a person. Personhood bills seek to limit IVF medical treatment and have the effect of reducing access to family building options to thousands of families. Since 1985, American parents have welcomed over 1 million babies born as a result of IVF. If personhood were the law, these children would never have been born. The United States should not prevent this life-giving treatment that is available in all other developed nations.
Support New York’s Child-Parent Security Act
The Child-Parent Security Act, pending in New York, lifts the current ban on surrogacy and legalizes gestational carrier arrangements, where a woman can receive compensation to carry a pregnancy, but has no genetic link to the offspring. Since 1992, New York has banned compensatory surrogacy agreements, which means intended parents may not pay a surrogate to carry an embryo for them. Since the New York ban was enacted, the medical and legal fields around assistive reproductive technology and surrogacy have advanced significantly. This legislation allows for carefully regulated gestational carrier arrangements.
To get more involved, and learn how you can help, in ways however big or small, check out RESOLVE.org, a non-profit, charitable organization, working to improve the lives of women and men living with infertility.