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Archive for the ‘Advocacy Day’ Category

8 Things to #StartAsking and #KEEPAsking after #NIAW

By Tracey Minella

April 30th, 2016 at 4:43 pm

 

image courtesy of Resolve, the National Infertility Association


Honestly, my first reaction to this year’s NAIW #StartAsking theme wasn’t positive. It just didn’t sit right with me for some nagging reason I couldn’t put my finger on. So, it was hard to sit down and write a post using it. It made me have to really think about some serious and difficult things. Stuff I usually keep locked away. Some days, I just don’t have the strength to think too hard.

Start Asking.

Start Asking why? Start asking how? Start asking for something?

Start asking…what, exactly?

Should I start asking Why me? Truth be told, that was the first thing that came to mind. But there is no point in asking that question. So what is worth asking?

Then it dawned on me. We need to start asking for whatever it is we need in order to get through this journey (or to see that those who follow us can get through it). It’s that simple. And that difficult.

That means asking for help, for understanding, for respect, for answers, for kindness, for prayers, for coverage, and for action.

Start asking yourself what you need. And who can fill that need?

  1. Help: It’s hard to ask for financial help but if it’s the only barrier to treatment, you may have to ask. Loans, gifts, online fundraising sites are some ways to finance fertility treatment. Most IVF practices offer grants as well. Ask for help.
  2. Understanding: No one will truly get it unless they’ve battled infertility themselves. But they need to try to understand why it’s too hard for you to handle things like baby showers, egg hunts, and gender reveal parties for a couple’s 5th baby. Tell them you’re happy for them, but it hurts too much to participate right now. Ask them to understand.
  3. Respect: Everyone has advice on how you should be handling your infertility journey. Regardless of their personal (and usually uneducated) opinions, they need to respect the decisions you’re making…whether that involves IUI,  IVF, egg donation, donor sperm, surrogacy, egg freezing, pre-implantation genetic screening, adoption, or choosing to live child-free. Ask them to respect your right to make your own decisions.
  4. Answers: There is no such thing as a stupid question, at least when it comes to infertility treatment. So much is on the line that you owe it to yourself to understand the often complicated and ever-changing world of assisted reproductive technology. Understand what is happening to your body during any given treatment or procedure, including the medications you’re taking, how to take them, and any possible side-effects.  Knowledge is power. Ask questions if you don’t understand something.
  5. Kindness: Similar to respect, you deserve to be treated kindly. People can be mean…on purpose or innocently. “Why can’t you give me grandchildren?” “He just looks at me and I get pregnant”. “You can have one of mine.” “I’ll get her pregnant for you”. “Be thankful you have one.” Protect your heart. Ask people to stop saying hurtful things like that.
  6. Prayers: For the religious, infertility (especially a long journey filled with losses) can sometimes be a test of one’s faith. Don’t feel guilty asking why this is happening to you or questioning why your prayers are not being answered. If your faith is a source of comfort and strength to you and also to those you know, ask for their prayers or good thoughts on your behalf.
  7. Coverage: As you no doubt know, the biggest barrier to infertility treatment is often lack of health insurance coverage. Most policies offer little to no coverage for fertility treatments like IVF. The only hope for change lies in advocating for new legislation mandating better infertility coverage. Ask your elected representatives to create or support legislation mandating IVF coverage.
  8. Action: Start asking is a good start. It’s a catchy theme for NIAW. It’s good to raise awareness. One week per year. But that’s not enough. We need infertility action not just infertility awareness. The week is over. Tomorrow we risk being forgotten until next April (or at least until we resurrect Coming Out Infertile Day in November). And those baby shower invites will still flood the mailbox. Those nagging personal questions will not abate. And those uncovered infertility costs will still prevent many from accessing the treatments they need to become parents. Ask yourself and others to take action for real change.

I guess my issue with the theme this year, or maybe every year, is just a frustration over the slow pace of change. And the poor collective memory of the public. Tomorrow will not only start a new week, but a new month. A new “awareness” cause to push. By Friday, will anyone still be aware of infertility? Will they still be ASKING? We don’t need to just #StartAsking. We need to #KEEPAsking.

Let’s show our appreciation for –and join–all the tireless infertility advocates who support the infertile folks of today through activism, advocacy, blogging, and more. To the extent you can, join the fight. Consider participating in Advocacy Day . Don’t just start asking. Keep asking. Then keep acting until real change happens. Until we have babies for all.

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What did you #StartAsking? What will you #KeepAsking?

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Long Island IVF-WINNER: Best in Vitro Fertility Practice 2015 AND 2016

It is with humble yet excited hearts that we announce that Long Island IVF was voted the Best In Vitro Fertility Practice in the Best Of Long Island 2015 and 2016 contest…two years in a row!

The doctors, nurses, embryologists, and the rest of the Long Island IVF staff are so proud of this honor and so thankful to every one of you who took the time to vote. From the moms juggling LIIVF babies… to the dads coaching LIIVF teens…to the parents sending LIIVF adults off to college or down the aisles… to the LIIVF patients still on their journeys to parenthood who are confident in the care they’re receiving…we thank you all.

We love what we’ve gotten to do every day more than 28 years…build families. If you are having trouble conceiving, please call us. Many of our nurses and staff were also our patients, so we really do understand what you’re going through. And we’d like to help. 631-752-0606.

 

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Confessions of a National Infertility Awareness Week “Hater”

By Tracey Minella

April 27th, 2015 at 8:12 am

I hate infertility. I hate that people are so clueless… and their words and actions are so hurtful …that we have to raise their awareness of our pain and educate them about this disease. And I hate that NIAW is just a week long.

Then, in many ways, life just goes back “normal”. To the unacceptable normal. Starting now.

Sure, last week we certainly raised awareness in the community. We hosted a series of events including a seminar about the donor egg program and a fun fertile yoga class. We ended the week with Alternative Medicine and Holistic Approaches to Fertility Enhancement which included demos of fertility-focused acupuncture and Reiki, along with massage therapy, meditation and stress reduction techniques.

We bonded with patients from our own practice, as well as those from other practices, and they bonded with each other. We welcomed prospective patients, their parents and friends, and interested strangers. We fed them fertility-friendly trail mix, donned them with NIAW silicone bracelets, and sent them home with swag bags of fun and useful items and coupons from the participating service providers. We empowered them with therapies and activities they can use to take back some control over their fertility. They were thankful and such a pleasure to get to know. In short, we did some good. As did other infertility practices and organizations around the country.

But, now NIAW is over. And it’s kind of quiet.

How do we keep the momentum of NIAW going? How do we make sure the topic of infertility doesn’t get swept under the rug until next April?

One way is to move on swiftly and loudly to the next thing that keeps infertility in the news. Maybe that means joining thousands of infertility advocates by going to Washington D.C. for Advocacy Day on May 14, 2015. Or participating in Walks of Hope to raise infertility awareness. [For more info contact at RESOLVE http://www.resolve.org/ ]. Or seeking out charitable organizations that award grants to infertile folks, like the Tinina Q. Cade Foundation, the BabyQuest Foundation, and others, some of which have grant application deadlines approaching soon.

As for Long Island IVF, we’re doing our part to keep infertility awareness front of mind…and donating a free IVF cycle as a door prize to one lucky winner…through a fun night at the Great South Bay Brewery on June 4, 2015.

Along with the Cade Foundation, Long Island IVF is happy to sponsor its “Brew for the Family” event, which includes a night of food, music, craft beer-sampling, brewery tours, souvenir glasses, a silent auction and more…plus a chance (or 2 chances for VIP ticket holders) to win the free IVF cycle door prize. Regular tickets cost $55, date night tickets for two cost $100, and VIP tickets cost $90. The free IVF cycle door prize is transferable in accordance with the contest rules, so bring your generous fertile friends and family down to increase your chances to win.

To get more information on the event and purchase tickets go here: http://bit.ly/1yvDBit or to go directly to ticket sales click here: www.librewforthefamily.eventbrite.com

Let’s keep the conversations about infertility going…

 

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Will you be there?

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Long Island “Brew For the Family” Event- June 4, 2015

Would winning a FREE IVF Cycle door prize help you or a loved one build a family?

Join us on Thursday, June 4th, 2015 from 7:30-10PM at the Long Island Brew for the Family event hosted in partnership with the Tinina Q. Cade Foundation.

We have come together to spread the message that infertility can be overcome! Enjoy a night out and forget the stress of infertility as we sample craft beers at one of Long Island’s premier microbreweries, The Great South Bay Brewery. The evening will include a sampling of 6 beers, guided brewery tours with a master brewer, great food, music, and a silent auction.

Each admission ticket will include one entry into the drawing for a FREE IVF CYCLE* door prize. Be sure to invite your family and friends for even more chances to win, as the prize is transferrable.

To purchase tickets and learn more about this event please visit: www.librewforthefamily.eventbrite.com.

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Long Island IVF-WINNER: Best in Vitro Fertility Practice 2015

It is with humble yet excited hearts that we announce that Long Island IVF was voted the Best In Vitro Fertility Practice in the Best Of Long Island 2015 contest.

The doctors, nurses, embryologists, and the rest of the Long Island IVF staff are so proud of this honor and so thankful to every one of you who took the time to vote. From the moms juggling LIIVF babies… to the dads coaching LIIVF teens…to the parents sending LIIVF adults off to college or down the aisles… to the LIIVF patients still on their journeys to parenthood who are confident in the care they’re receiving…we thank you all.

We love what we’ve gotten to do every day more than 27 years…build families. If you are having trouble conceiving, please call us. Many of our nurses and staff were also our patients, so we really do understand what you’re going through. And we’d like to help.

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Infertile “Coming Out” Day

By Tracey Minella

December 16th, 2014 at 3:56 pm

 

credit: stuart miles/ freedigitalphotos.net


Many people suffering from infertility do so in silence. And this makes the struggle even harder. Did you just survive another holiday season dodging and lying to the baby-naggers and holding back tears as a mob of nieces and nephews opened presents? Are you wondering how you’ll face another New Year like this?

Despite the spike in infertility awareness and all the progress that’s made during April’s National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), by the time the holiday season approaches in December infertility awareness is off the public’s radar. With all the child-centered fun and the family gatherings where ignorant or insensitive baby pressure comments are made, December is particularly hard on the infertile. Especially the “closet” infertile who doesn’t have family support.

NIAW is specifically timed for late April, just before Mother’s Day…the indisputably most painful day of the year for infertile women. On the heels of NIAW is Advocacy Day in early May, when hundreds of infertiles and their supporters flock to Washington, D.C. to speak to elected officials about infertile-friendly issues and pending legislation. NIAW and Advocacy Day raise infertility awareness, educate the fertile public and legislators, and help reduce the ignorant and insensitive comments infertile couples are faced with. At least temporarily.

There is even a National Infertility Survival Day, on the first Sunday in May (also just before Mother’s Day) to “celebrate all the hard work and effort that infertile couples put towards trying to have a child.  The day’s main emphasis is on self-care and celebration for what they do have. It’s also a day for friends and family to help lift the spirits of a loved one coping with infertility.” * This is a great idea for those who’ve already told their friends and families… or for couples to celebrate privately.

But wouldn’t it be wonderful if infertile people had a day…much like the GLBT community’s Coming-Out Day in October…when they could “come out” to their family and friends about their infertility? And wouldn’t it be great if that day was timed for right before Thanksgiving, the kick-off of the winter holiday season? I vote for November 11th. 11-11…easy to remember. Just like two lines on a test strip.

Participants in Infertility Coming-Out Day would release the burden of their silence, quiet the “baby-naggers”, and hopefully receive needed support and understanding. And even those who still remain silent might benefit from publicity surrounding such a day.

Who is with me?

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Do you think there should be such a day just before the winter holidays? If you are currently suffering in silence, would you find strength in numbers and find it easier to “come out” on such a day? If you’re struggling with wanting to tell, but not knowing how or when the time is right, would this help you?

If you have told your family, how and when did you do so…and how was the news received?

 

 

*NationalDayCalendar.com

credit: stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net Image ID: 10054806

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Fighting Infertility with Your Voice

By Tracey Minella

May 7th, 2014 at 10:42 am

credit: adamr/free digital photos.net

 

What would you do if I told you your voice mattered? If I said that you could make a difference. If I said that you could help yourself and others get financial support to defray the costs of infertility treatment and/or adoption?

What if I said today is the day?

Well, you can. And it is.

Today is National Advocacy Day and right now, women (and men) from all over the country are converging on Capitol Hill and taking a stand on behalf of all those who are struggling with infertility. They are meeting with their senators and representatives and asking them to support three bills, each aimed at assisting couples with their family-building.

The first bill is The Family Act. S 881/H.R. 1851: If passed it will provide a substantial tax credit for the out-of-pocket expenses associated with in vitro fertilization or IVF. It could be the difference between having a family… or not… for many people.

The second bill is the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act of 2013, S 1056/H.R. 2144: Although the adoption tax credit is permanent, if passed, this bill will add back in the refundable provision that was in place in 2010 and 2011 and help more children, especially those in foster care, find permanent homes.                     

The last bill is the Women Veterans and Other Healthcare Improvement Act of 2013, S 131/ H. R. 958: If passed, this bill will require the Veterans Administration to provide family building options (i.e. IVF and adoption assistance) to veterans who are now infertile as a result of being wounded while in service to our country.

You don’t have to be in Washington to be heard!

RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association has made it easy for your voice to be heard. For simple instructions with the links you need to make a quick phone call to each of your local representatives…and a simple script you can read from so you don’t even have to think at all or be nervous… just click here: http://bit.ly/1mChEUe

C’mon and pick up that phone. The only way things will ever change is if we take action. Our representatives need to hear that we can’t start our families without this support. They need to know that we support these bills and that they should support them, too. Do it for yourself. And if you’ve already built your family, do it for those who are still struggling to build theirs. Do it so change will happen and so your own children or grandchildren won’t have to struggle if they are faced with infertility someday.

It will be the most important call you make today. Be heard. Make a difference.

Make the call.

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Did you call your representatives today? How did it go? Please share your experience.

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Is “Paper Gown Subway Ride Sunday” Next?

By Tracey Minella

January 13th, 2014 at 9:33 am

credit: feelart/freedigitalphotos.net

Yesterday, straphangers all over the world celebrated the 13th annual No Pants Subway Ride Sunday. That’s right. Thousands of people rode the subways…all over the world…in their underpants. Social media is flooded with the images this morning.

Seven guys in New York City, with no apparent agenda, unintentionally started a worldwide phenomenon about a dozen years ago. Laughs aside, what a wasted opportunity to raise awareness for some worthy cause.

Like infertility.

It makes you wonder what the infertility community can do that would increase awareness… or better yet, raise money… for our cause. Something big and bold. Something viral that easily crosses the globe and spreads through social media. Something inexpensive so financially-strapped infertile folks can actually participate.

Do we need a Paper Gown Subway Ride Sunday?

Or maybe we could have Empty Stroller Sunday, where thousands of infertile folks (and their supporters) push around empty strollers to raise infertility awareness? Add sponsorships to such an event and raise some funds.

We could incorporate these ideas into National Infertility Awareness Month in April or Advocacy Day in May. Or we could spread awareness in autumn and make our mark near back-to-school time.

Look what seven guys started just by dropping their pants. (And we are already experts at that!) I can only imagine what impact thousands of infertile women… united …could do if we got creative.

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What do you think? Would you participate in a national or international awareness movement? Do you have an idea for an infertility awareness event?

 

Photo credit: Feelart  http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=100218870

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Is “Paper Gown Subway Ride Sunday” Next?

By Tracey Minella

January 13th, 2014 at 9:25 am

photo: Feelart/freedigitalphotos.net

Yesterday, straphangers all over the world celebrated the 13th annual No Pants Subway Ride Sunday. That’s right. Thousands of people rode the subways…all over the world…in their underpants. Social media is flooded with the images this morning.

Seven guys in New York City, with no apparent agenda, unintentionally started a worldwide phenomenon about a dozen years ago. Laughs aside, what a wasted opportunity to raise awareness for some worthy cause.

Like infertility.

It makes you wonder what the infertility community can do that would increase awareness… or better yet, raise money… for our cause. Something big and bold. Something viral that easily crosses the globe and spreads through social media. Something inexpensive so financially-strapped infertile folks can actually participate.

Do we need a Paper Gown Subway Ride Sunday?

Or maybe we could have Empty Stroller Sunday, where thousands of infertile folks (and their supporters) push around empty strollers to raise infertility awareness? Add sponsorships to such an event and raise some funds.

We could incorporate these ideas into National Infertility Awareness Month in April or Advocacy Day in May. Or we could spread awareness in autumn and make our mark near back-to-school time.

Look what seven guys started just by dropping their pants. (And we are already experts at that!) I can only imagine what impact thousands of infertile women… united …could do if we got creative.

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What do you think? Would you participate in a national or international awareness movement? Do you have an idea for an infertility awareness event?

 

Photo credit: Feelart http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=100218870

 

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May: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

By Tracey Minella

May 2nd, 2013 at 7:12 pm

 

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

May is here.

The weather on Long Island has finally warmed up. Mother Nature has been particularly cruel for so long… with Hurricane Sandy and Winter Storm Nemo combining for seven long months of misery. But for those suffering from infertility, the weather is the least of our worries.

Especially in May.

May is ugly. It brings Mother’s Day on May 12…the hardest day of the entire year for infertile women. There are so few ways to console yourself that day. And even fewer if your infertility journey has been long, if you’ve suffered losses or miscarriages along the way, or if you’ve lost your own mom. And you’re not imagining things…every stranger you encounter really is wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day. It’s maddening.

But May is also good. It brings Advocacy Day on May 8…an opportunity to do something about your infertility. An opportunity to feel some sense of control over your situation. And lack of control over infertility is one of the most frustrating parts of it. You can join the movement of hundreds…maybe thousands… of suffering infertiles from across the nation as they descend upon the Capitol to meet and speak with their elected representatives about the impact infertility has had on their lives. You can educate them about infertility and the unbearable pain of this disease. You can put a face to the disease and make it easier for your officials to support new and pending legislation, such as the Family Act, that will positively impact infertile couples everywhere. Go to Washington if you can. Learn more about Advocacy Day here: http://familybuilding.resolve.org/site/PageServer?pagename=advday_home

What if you want to, but can’t, go to Washington for Advocacy Day?

RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association has the perfect Plan B for those of you on Facebook or Twitter: Join the Thunderclap! That’s an effort where, at the same precise moment on May 8, 2013, the cyber-world will hear the deafening crescendo of one unified message…a “thunderclap” of an untold number of supporters of the infertile. You can get more information about and can join this movement (and have your friends join) by clicking here: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/2094 .

By joining the Thunderclap to “Unite for the Family Act” and designating whether you want to support the movement through Facebook or Twitter, the Thunderclap Project and Resolve.org will automatically send this message once on behalf of each person who joins in: “Ask your Members of Congress to support issues important to people with infertility. http://thndr.it/11CJK6T” …and each message will be sent at the same time on May 8 to make a noticeable impact!

So the only way May can be all bad is if you don’t take advantage of Advocacy Day by either attending the annual event in Washington or by joining in the Thunderclap project. Taking some action will help your spirits. It is some much-needed empowerment in a world where you’ve been stripped of control. Movements like these are what we hope to look back on as the reason the Family Act gets passed someday.

Unfortunately, it won’t make Mother’s Day any less ugly.

But it can be the start of something beautiful.

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Will you join the Thunderclap?

Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=100156288 by arztsamui

 

 

 

 

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Join the Movement and Change the Conversation About Infertility

By Tracey Minella

April 27th, 2013 at 9:28 pm

 

Another National Infertility Awareness Week comes to a close. The events celebrating it are over. The special NIAW banners and badges on blogs and social media will come down. And things are going to return to “normal”.

Is that acceptable?

Are we going to allow the progress made this week to stall for another 51 weeks? Are we going to stop talking about infertility until next April? Are we going to condition the public that they only have to tolerate our voices for a week each year and then “they’ll just fade away”?

Or are we going to change the conversation about infertility? More importantly, are we going to change our one-sided conversation into a two-sided one…where it’s not just us talking at the public and the politicians and our families, but it’s them hearing us and talking back. You know, real conversation.

Talking about infertility isn’t easy. It’s uncomfortable for the listener… and often the speaker as well. Recurrent miscarriage doesn’t make for nice dinner conversation. Talk of low sperm counts can make people queasy. The listener’s mind may involuntarily wander to visions of stirrups and collection rooms. Reactions can vary from awkward embarrassment, to hysterical crying, to unwelcome and misguided advice, to the (preferred) silent, supportive hug.

No wonder many people don’t talk about infertility. It’s so intimate. It’s too close to talking about sex for most people’s comfort.

Yet, if we don’t speak up, we won’t get the support from our families and friends, the politicians and the public. And nothing will change. And too many suffering infertile women’s biological clocks will run out before they can get access to the medical assistance they need to build their families or they will age out of “acceptable” adoption age limits.

How can you keep the conversation about infertility going now that NIAW is over?

If you think of infertility as a disease, like cancer, it may help you to sit your family down and tell them what’s going on. Same thing with close friends. It’s easy to call or write to your political representatives. And if you’d like to meet them in person, there’s a great opportunity to do so at Advocacy Day on May 8, 2013. See RESOLVE’s website for details. http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/advocacy-day.html

If you aren’t comfortable telling everyone about your infertility, why not just tell someone? One trusted person. A random stranger. A politician. A support group. Or join in the conversation when someone else is talking about infertility.

Don’t wait until next April. Keep the conversations going.

http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (basic understanding of the disease of infertility)

http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (about NIAW)

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Have you talked about infertility with anyone this week?

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Long Island IVF Supports RESOLVE’s Advocacy Day 2013

By Tracey Minella

April 7th, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Long Island IVF’s Town Hall Event at our Melville office last December brought community members and experts together to discuss the then-pending Family Act legislation and how we could all band together and advocate for its passage.

The Family Act, modeled after the existing Adoption Tax Credit, sought to provide a tax credit to infertile couples of up to almost $14,000 to help off-set the cost of infertility treatment for IVF or to alleviate the financial burden of fertility preservation treatment for cancer patients.

Timing may not be everything, but it is certainly important. And in the midst of the frantic “fiscal cliff” political crisis, the timing of the Family Act vote could have been better. It did not pass in that session, but the movement behind it is not dead.

We’ve never been so close to getting mandated financial help from the government in the form of a tax credit for IVF. But the movement needs you…especially since there is an “opposing force” in the political arena known as the Personhood Amendment that threatens not only to block that financial relief, but to affect the very legality of IVF as it’s practiced today.

So what can you do to help? Well, now more than ever, RESOLVE, the National Infertility Organization, needs your help.

Your presence is needed in Washington, D.C. at Advocacy Day 2013 on May 8, 2013.

If you register early enough, RESOLVE will help coordinate appointments for you with your elected officials. No need to be nervous! RESOLVE has everything you need to make this a smooth yet exciting experience. You just speak from your heart. You can be the face of infertility to your senators and representatives.

Imagine how empowered and proud you will feel ascending those majestic steps, walking those halls, and having your voice literally be heard. Be part of the political process. Take photos with politicians (and share them). Meet tons of other women who are coming from all over the country to be part of this historic day, and forge new and lasting friendships. Have a story to someday share with your child about the day you went to Washington to shake things up.

Imagine the difference you could make. Imagine the impact your involvement could have on your own infertility journey or that of your children and grandchildren. Bring your friends and family. Make a special memory. All or part of your trip may even be tax deductible*.

Please consider being part of this annual event if you possibly can do it. Sign up or check out the details, including everything you need to make hassle-free travel and hotel arrangements and fundraise to finance your trip, right here: http://bit.ly/10Ia3cJ

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Are you going to Advocacy Day on May 8, 2013? If so, let us know!

 

*For information on tax deductibility, see RESOLVE’s site, check the IRS website, or ask your accountant.

Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10021916

 

 

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