On May 8, I exercised my First Amendment right to petition my government by participating in Resolve’s Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. This event inspires men and women from across the country, affected by infertility, to talk to their members of Congress about issues important to our community.
We talked about two bills currently before Congress: the Family Act (HR 1851/S 881) and the Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvement Act (HR 958/S 131). The first would provide a tax credit to expand access to infertility treatment to couples who require in vitro fertilization to conceive, while the second would provide fertility counseling and medical treatment to veterans wounded in the line of duty which resulted in infertility.
Infertility impacts one in eight couples of reproductive age and, since the majority of Americans have no health insurance coverage for IVF treatment, cost is the primary barrier for accessing this care and starting a family. An additional provision of the Family Act allows cancer patients to access the tax credit to preserve their fertility before starting fertility-damaging cancer treatments. This issue is so important to me because I required IVF to conceive my son, now 3 years old.
My trip to D.C. was fully self-funded and I was scheduled to meet with the staff members of Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and Rep. John Garamendi, who represents California’s 3rd District, which includes Davis. It was a pleasure, and a surprise, to get the chance to personally talk with Congressman Garamendi, who graciously spoke with me for several minutes in between his scheduled meetings. He listened carefully and appeared receptive to considering the two bills, and said that he would talk about them with his colleagues who had introduced them.
It was inspiring to travel across the United States to take an active part in my government, and to meet our recently elected representative and share issues that are near and dear to my heart, and to the hearts of an estimated nearly 800,000 individuals in California alone. The chance to build a family — that’s what these bills would enable! I hope I can count on Garamendi to support these bills.