NEW YORK, NY – Hadassah today released a letter to members of Congress outlining the disproportionate impact infertility has on the Jewish community and urging Congress to recognize that infertility is a disease that needs further research to improve treatments and outcomes and that individuals and families need access to infertility-related services.
“For too long, infertility and the struggle toward parenthood have been topics of quiet suffering, particularly in the Jewish community,” said Rhoda Smolow, Hadassah National President. “That’s why Hadassah is leading the call for change. By asking policymakers to expand access to infertility care and reduce the financial burden of treatments, we are empowering all of the patients, families and communities that infertility affects. We are grateful for the strong support of our partners across the Jewish community.”
One in eight couples in the United States reports having trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy and nearly 12% of women have received infertility services in their lifetime. Some conditions that cause infertility — like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), cystic fibrosis and Fanconi anemia C — are more prevalent in the Jewish community than the general population, increasing disparities.
Nineteen Jewish organizations have joined Hadassah in calling for action on infertility, including Agudath Israel of America, A TIME/A Torah Infertility Medium of Exchange, Bonei Olam, B’nai B’rith International, Center For Jewish Values, Chava/Programs and Services for all Women's Reproductive Health, Hasidah, HUG/Hope Understanding and Guidance for Pregnancy Loss, I Was Supposed To Have A Baby, Jewish Fertility Foundation, Jewish War Veterans, National Council of Jewish Women, Orthodox Union, Priya Kansas City, Rabbinical Assembly, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Union for Reform Judaism, and Women’s League for Conservative Judaism. The letter asks members of Congress to support a bipartisan, Hadassah-backed resolution sponsored by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX).
“Bringing a child into the world is a blessing, and that possibility should be available for all who want to start a family. From my own experience in reaching that goal, I know we must better understand how infertility affects individuals and families,” said Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “This bill clearly states that Congress needs to work together to develop bipartisan, common-sense policies on this issue, and I am proud to be a part of that solution.”
Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have co-sponsored this resolution with Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz and Congressman Crenshaw: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver [D-MO-5], Rep. Susan Wild [D-PA-7], Rep. Thomas R. Suozzi [D-NY-3], Rep. Brad Sherman [D-CA-30], Rep. Andy Kim [D-NJ-3], Rep. Ted Lieu [D-CA-33], Rep. John A. Yarmuth [D-KY-3], Rep. Elissa Slotkin [D-MI-8], Rep. Ro Khanna [D-CA-17], Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee [D-TX-18], Rep. Markwayne Mullin [R-OK-2], Rep. Judy Chu [D-CA-27], Rep. David J. Trone [D-MD-6], Rep. Tony Cárdenas [D-CA-29], Rep. Jerrold Nadler [D-NY-10], Rep. Lucy McBath [D-GA-6], and Rep. Andrew R. Garbarino [R-NY-2]. Hadassah launched its reConceiving Infertility initiative in April 2020 to raise awareness, confront taboos, drive policy change and empower patients to advocate for their health. With the help of health and fertility writer Amy Klein, author of The Trying Game: Get Through Fertility Treatment and Get Pregnant Without Losing Your Mind and Hadassah’s reConceiving Infertility ambassador, the initiative amplifies the voices of families struggling with infertility and shares resources to help the Jewish community learn more about and raise awareness of infertility.
Hadassah also supports infertility treatments and research through the work of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Israel. In a country that is the worldwide leader in vitro fertilization (IVF), with the most IVF cycles per capita of any other, the Jerusalem medical center’s fertility clinics stand out. They are renowned for their services and techniques and have made Hadassah a leader in fertility treatment and research since the 1960s.