Being an Infertility Patient Advocate in the Doctor’s Office & the White House

Drs. Cardozo and Sauerbrun-Cutler stand with other patient advocates | Women & Infants' Fertility Center | Providence, RI

At Women & Infants’ Fertility Center, we believe that it is critically important to advocate for our patients, and for their access to family building services. Patient advocacy at a state and national level allows us to fight for change that will help those needing infertility services.

Advocating for patients

In May 2019, Dr. Eden Cardozo and Dr. May-Tal Sauerbrun-Cutler went to Washington, D.C., as part of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and RESOLVE’s Advocacy Day. They were joined by more than 200 other advocates – both professionals and patients! All of these men and women went to Capitol Hill to meet with legislators, explain the importance of specific bills, and to ask for their support of legislation that would help Americans build their families.

Some of the legislation that Dr. Cardozo and Dr. Sauerbrun-Cutler helped advocate for the following legislation.

The Access to Infertility Treatment and Care Act

This would require all health plans offered on the group and individual markets (including the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, TRICARE, the VA and Medicaid) to provide coverage for the treatment of infertility and for fertility preservation prior to a medically necessary procedure that may cause infertility, such as chemotherapy.

The Every Child Deserves a Family Act

This would ban discrimination against foster and adoptive parents, families of origin, and foster youth based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status and religion. It would also increase the number of foster and adoptive homes

The Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act

This would permanently allow veterans with infertility caused by a service-related injury to access in vitro fertilization (IVF) medical treatments, to cryopreserve gametes pre-deployment and provide adoption assistance.

Dr. Sauerbrun spoke with representatives, including Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline, as a patient advocate | Women & Infants' Fertility Center | Providence, RI
Dr. Sauerbrun-Cutler spoke with Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline about patient advocacy.

Cancer and infertility legislation patient advocacy

Dr. Cardozo and others worked alongside a team from the legal and communications departments at Women & Infants Hospital, and together were able to introduce and get passed a bill in the Rhode Island legislature. The bill revised infertility law by providing a new, separate definition that requires coverage for fertility preservation services when a medically necessary treatment may directly or indirectly cause infertility.

Governor Gina Raimondo signed the bill into law in July 2017. Rhode Island and Connecticut were the first states in the country to pass legislation that requires insurers to provide some coverage for fertility preservation services.

Read more

We need patient advocates who are infertility patients

Would YOU like to get involved? The BIGGEST impact is made NOT by the doctors and other professionals who advocate, but by patients who come and share their stories. Legislators want to hear from YOU, their constituents, about how bills like these would affect you and your life. There are lots of ways to get involved locally, and in addition, please consider joining us in Washington next year!

To learn more and become an advocate:

https://resolve.org/get-involved/become-an-advocate/

https://resolve.org/get-involved/events/advocacy-day/