Maternal Health

January 2019

Women’s Health

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.:

  • Affirms 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, identification of 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 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.