July 2019

Women’s Health

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA), reaffirms support for quality, affordable infertility diagnosis and treatment in the United States.

Israel is the worldwide leader of in vitro fertilization (IVF) with the most IVF cycles per capita of any country and the Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO), located in Jerusalem, is also a leader in fertility treatment and research. 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.

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. Rates are even higher in the Jewish community, according to the Jewish Fertility Foundation, with infertility affecting one in six Jewish couples. 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. Additionally, same-sex couples may disproportionately need to access fertility services. Women’s infertility can be caused by conditions such as uterine fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and endometriosis, which historically have not received adequate research funding. With the age of first-time mothers on the rise, women will increasingly need access to fertility treatment and embryo preimplantation genetic testing for chromosomal abnormalities, according to studies published by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine

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 area of 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.:

  • Recognizes individual and community efforts to destigmatize and promote open conversation about infertility, pregnancy loss/termination, and postpartum anxiety/depression;
  • Applauds ongoing efforts improving access to fertility treatment for service members and veterans with combat injuries, and fertility preservation services for patients with iatrogenic infertility caused by cancer and other medical treatments;
  • Affirms that insurance coverage for infertility treatments – like maternity care – should be an essential health benefit;
  • Urges policymakers to expand access to and reduce the financial burden of infertility screenings and treatments; and
  • Calls on public and private sector organizations to invest in studying the causes of infertility and improving ART methods and outcomes.

Hadassah urges all units to educate their members and communities, join in coalitions with other groups to raise awareness, and advocate for greater access to quality and affordable infertility care.

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.