Hadassah

Maternal Health

American Affairs | Jan 2019

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA), reaffirms its commitment to women’s health equity and access to reproductive health services, including quality fertility, pre-, peri-, and post-natal care.

Israel is among the top 15 countries for maternal survival and the worldwide leader of in vitro fertilization (IVF) with the most IVF cycles per capita of any country. The Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO), located in Jerusalem, is also a leader in maternal and fertility care.  

At Hadassah Hospitals, mothers have access to state-of-the-art labor obstetric services in the Julia Goldwurm Maternity Pavilion, Natural Child Birth Center, and Hadassah Baby Hotel. The exemplary team of doctors, midwives and nurses attend to the emotional as well as medical needs of their patients – involving women in all the decisions made throughout the birthing process, which improves the quality and outcome of their birthing experience.

HMO physicians and researchers have been pioneers in the field of fertility since the 1960s and today the Fertility Clinic at Hadassah Ein Kerem and Rimon Mind/Body Fertility Center at Hadassah Mount Scopus are renowned for their professional service and variety of techniques. HMO welcomes international patients – including from the United States – to receive IVF, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, and other fertility treatments at HMO facilities. 

Around the world, maternal mortality rates have dropped by over 40 percent since 1990, whereas the rate of maternal deaths in the United States is rising – the highest of any industrialized nation. Health disparities in the U.S have contributed to maternal mortality rates three to four times higher for women of color. Complications due to pregnancy and delivery have also risen drastically during the past two decades and will continue to have a lasting impact on the health of those women and children for years to come.

One in eight couples in the United States report having trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy and nearly 12% of women have received infertility services in their lifetime, according to a Centers for Disease Control survey. Given limited access to insurance coverage and the high cost of assisted reproductive technology (ART), many families incur substantial debt or are prevented from seeking treatment due to the financial burden. Fertility problems affect women and men alike, including the unique challenges for people with disabilities, cancer patients, and those with or carrying genetic disorders.

Persistent stigma and inadequate social support for women facing infertility, pregnancy loss/termination, and postpartum anxiety/depression further jeopardize women’s physical and mental health.

In recognition of Hadassah Medical Organization’s expertise in the areas of maternal health and fertility and in accordance with its staunch advocacy for all aspects of women’s health in the United States, Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.:

  • Reaffirms that maternity coverage is an essential health benefit and that pregnancy should never be classified as a preexisting condition;
  • Recognizes individual and community efforts to destigmatize and promote open conversation about infertility, pregnancy loss/termination, and postpartum anxiety/depression;
  •  Supports state and regional committees or collaboratives created to collect maternal morbidity and mortality data, identify best practices, and make recommendations for improving quality of care; 
  • Encourages implementation of evidence-based patient safety protocols and guidelines to improve maternal health outcomes and reduce health disparities; 
  • Urges policymakers to expand access to and reduce the financial burden of infertility screenings and fertility treatments; and  
  • Calls on public and private sector organizations to invest in studying the causes of infertility and ways to improve assisted reproductive technology. 

Hadassah's Policy Statements represent the organization's official stance on a wide variety of issues facing our nation, Israel and other international matters of concern. Policy Statements are debated and voted on at national meetings by Hadassah’s national board and delegates from our membership. Once approved, statements become official policies of the organization and serve to define Hadassah's overall agenda and advocacy priorities. Hadassah, as a charitable organization classified under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is prohibited from any direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, candidates for public office.

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