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Archive for the ‘Infertility advocate’ tag

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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Join the Movement to Increase and Protect Access to All Family-Building Options: Confessions of a Closet Infertile

By Tracey Minella

April 25th, 2013 at 4:51 pm

 

There is a national bandwagon rolling through town this week and as an infertile person, you are expected to jump on it. It’s National Infertility Awareness Week and you’re expected make some noise. But…

What if you don’t want to climb aboard? What if you want to “opt out” of this whole thing? In fact, what if the hoopla actually makes you want to hide in a cave until Sunday?

I “get” that.

I used to be a “closet infertile”.

The Top 5 reasons people are secretive about their infertility and resistant to raise awareness (in my humble but expert opinion as a former closet infertile):

·         Denial: I’m not infertile; I’ll/She’ll be pregnant next month for sure.

·         Fear: If I speak up, I’ll lose my job. If I open up, I might not get support I’m hoping for.

·         Ignorance: I don’t know what to do or where to begin.

·         Shame: I am so embarrassed that I can’t get (her) pregnant. What’s wrong with me?

·         Apathy: Why bother? Nothing will change. Let someone else do it. I already have my kids.

Some of those reasons are hard to dispute, like denial and fear.

Everyone has to face their diagnosis in their own time, and until they accept it, they can’t advocate on behalf of it. Fear about job loss can be paralyzing, especially in this economy, so how can you blame anyone for staying silent? Others are frozen in fear that friends and family may actually not be supportive after they finally muster up the nerve to let them in. (Though in the majority of cases, people will be supportive, even if they don’t really understand.)

Ignorance is understandable because the prospect of being an advocate can be overwhelming. But it’s the easiest of the reasons to overcome. For plenty of ideas on big and small ways you can get involved and make a difference in NIAW, go to RESOLVE’s’ website at: http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/home-page.html

Shame is the hardest reason of all to overcome. There has been a social stigma wrongly attached to infertility from the beginning of time. And it is powerful. It’s the primary force that drives suffering couples into secrecy and isolation. Into the closet. Crushing the stigma is one of the big reasons behind NIAW.

Infertility is a disease. It is nothing to be ashamed of and it’s not your fault. People need to come out of the closet so the world can see how many people are really affected by this disease. If everyone suffering found the strength to step out into the light and be seen and heard…all in one week…the numbers would be staggering. That’s the only hope for improved benefits and resources. 1 in every 8 is infertile. 1 in every 8 is seeking resolution. They are desperately trying to build their families.

Apathy is the reason that is hardest to sympathize with, especially if none of the other reasons apply. If your life has been touched by infertility and you are not involved in at least some small way to help raise awareness this week you are missing an opportunity to make a difference in the life of yourself, your children, or your grandchildren. Imagine if IVF is not available to them some day. How will you feel then if you do nothing now?

Please don’t sit back and wait for others to do all the work. We’ve never been so close to getting federal assistance for infertility costs. Yet at the same time, supporters of the Personhood Amendments are pushing reforms that would effectively render IVF as it’s practiced today illegal. We need you to help in some small way. Step up.

At the very least, even if you remain in the closet, you can simply share on Facebook or Twitter that it is NIAW this week. Feeling queasy? Want to throw them off? Follow it up tomorrow by sharing that it’s National Volunteer Week, too. And for good measure, next week is National Air Quality Awareness Week. So we’ve got you covered.

Listen, I know it’s hard. I know it’s uncomfortable. And if you’ve dug your heels in on the issue, then that’s your call. At some point, everyone who is out there on the bandwagon this week was once in the closet like you. Maybe it’s just not your time yet. But it’s coming.

But for those on the fence…those who somewhere deep down feel this may be the time…those who can’t hold it in anymore…I urge you to take that leap of faith. Come out of the closet and get empowered. Join the movement to increase and protect your access to all possible family-building options. Step up.

This is the week.

For more information, please go to RESOLVE’s links:

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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If you were a closet infertile, how did you come out and how did it go for you? Please share your story or word of encouragement so others may be helped.

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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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“I Have a Dream”

By Tracey Minella

January 21st, 2013 at 10:18 pm

credit: papaija208/freedigitalphotos.net

As Americans celebrate the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we usually remember his most famous quotation from his 1963 speech for racial equality.

“I Have a Dream…”

Those trying to conceive a baby live by these same words. They are the mantra of the suffering, infertile woman.

To be clear, infertility is not on the same “life-and-death” level as the civil rights movement.  Yet there is no mistaking the parallels that do exist between the passion MLK felt for his cause and the passion infertile women feel for their quest for motherhood.

When you are infertile, you are ever-aware of a different unfairness and inequality in the world. How fertile couples take their fertility for granted. How others have what you’ve been denied. You suffer unimaginable pain and despair at what is effectively a denial of your right to the pursuit of happiness. And you passionately dream your dream…of a day when you will hold a baby in your arms.

MLK’s peaceful protesting of the injustices of segregation and racial inequality ultimately changed a nation. But for the infertile woman, there is no protest that can make that dream of motherhood come true. Sure, we can and must demand the government do more to help infertile women… such as re-grouping and continually advocating for legislation like the Family Act tax credit, or mandating more comprehensive medical insurance for infertility treatment. But ultimately, your plight is based on individual circumstance, not oppression by others. New legislation may help financially, but it alone won’t guarantee you get pregnant. So how do you deal with the frustration over the situation? How do you keep your dream alive?

Dr. King…a spiritual man and motivational speaker…gave us more than that one famous quote.  Here’s another one, which speaks to the heart of the infertile woman:

“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

So when you remember the courage of this great man, think about becoming an advocate for political change that will advance the cause for infertile women. Keep the faith.

And never give up on your dream.

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How do you keep your dream alive? What’s the biggest obstacle?

 

Photo credit: Image creator’s user name: “papaija2008″

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Landscapes_g114-Stairs_In_A_Cave_p113575.html

 

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Long Island IVF Supports the Family Act

By Tracey Minella

November 18th, 2012 at 11:37 am

credit: photostock/freedigitalphotos.net

Thanksgiving is over and the December holidays are coming fast. Think back on the beauty of that Thanksgiving feast. More than any other holiday Thanksgiving is a celebration of families, pure and simple.

Just being together as a family, sharing a meal of thankfulness.

But for people suffering from infertility, it can be hard to celebrate anything. It can be hard to feel thankful for the good things when the ache for a child is so overwhelming. For some, Thanksgiving was just the beginning of a long month of painful holiday events which remind them of the families they don’t yet have.

But there is something that can be done to help the 1 in 8 couples suffering from infertility to have their families. It’s called the Family Act. And it needs your immediate attention and support.

Right now important legislation is pending in both the Senate and the House that seeks to provide over $13,000.00 in tax credit assistance to cover the medical costs associated with in vitro fertilization (IVF) for people suffering from infertility.

It also can be used for fertility preservation for patients facing cancer.

Please click on this link for a short, easy-to-read summary of the benefits of this important legislation. Then act on the easy instructions for how to contact your representatives to show your support. All the contact information and links are provided, including the words to use when making contact. http://www.resolve.org/get-involved/about-the-family-act-of-2011-bill.html

You wouldn’t be reading this if infertility hadn’t touched your life in some way. You are either suffering from infertility yourself, previously suffered from it, or know someone who is. We all know someone, even if they haven’t shared their secret pain.

We’ve never been so close to mandating IVF infertility medical assistance through a tax credit before now. But we need your help.

Please act. And please share this information and ask others to act on it. Talk about this at your holiday tables.

We need to be heard. Now. Please check our website and The Fertility Daily blog for information on how you and your family and friends can make a real difference in the passage of this legislation by attending Long Island IVF’s and RESOLVE’s big Town Hall Event on December 18, 2012!

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What have or will you do to support the Family Act?

Image courtesy of free digital photos.net http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/search.php?search=family&cat=&page=6&gid_search=&photogid=0

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