Hadassah National Public Relations
April 22, 2020 — NEW YORK, NY - Hadassah announces the launch of reConceiving Infertility, a national information and advocacy campaign on this once-taboo subject during National Infertility Awareness Week (April 19-25). The New York Times "Fertility Diary" columnist and author Amy Klein will serve as the initiative ambassador. The initiative will raise awareness, destigmatize and confront prejudices and misconceptions, drive policy change at the state and national level, and empower patients to advocate for their own health, according to Rhoda Smolow, Hadassah National President of the nation's largest women's Zionist organization with approximately 300,000 members, donors and supporters.
reConceiving Infertility will feature a series of videos narrated by Klein, author of The Trying Game: Get Through Fertility Treatment and Get Pregnant Without Losing Your Mind (April 2020, Penguin/Random House). The first video, "How to Help People Struggling With Infertility During COVID-19," is available at www.hadassah.org/infertility. "What Not To Say About Baby-Making" and "Infertility: Costs, Coverage, and Creativity" are next in the series. Klein's powerful story involved nine rounds of fertility treatment, 10 doctors and four miscarriages — in just three years.
Future engagement opportunities with Amy Klein and other experts, including live and digital events, will be announced following updated COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions. Visit the Hadassah Resource Center on Infertility to learn more about this campaign, Hadassah's participation in National Infertility Awareness Week, and activities throughout 2020.
reConceiving Infertility builds on Hadassah's work empowering patients to take charge of their own health as it also encourages staunch advocacy engagement around women's health policy in the United States. To further demystify infertility, Hadassah is organizing community programs, hosting trainings and empowering individuals to speak openly about their infertility journeys and pathways to parenthood — or their decision to live childfree. The initiative considers the whole family — parents who may never be grandparents or siblings who may never be aunts or uncles, who are equally affected.
The inability to have a child affects 6.7 million women in the U.S, according to a Centers for Disease Control study, or about 11 percent of the reproductive age population. Given limited access to insurance coverage and the high cost of treatments, including assisted reproductive technology (ART), many families incur substantial debt or are prevented from seeking treatment due to the financial burden.
Smolow states, "The more women and men I talk to, the more I understand how infertility has made so many rethink their lives and expectations and how devastating this can be. In the United States, one in eight couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Among American Jews, it's higher: nearly one in six couples, according to the Jewish Fertility Foundation."
Janice Weinman, Hadassah Executive Director/CEO adds, "Education and awareness are essential steps toward policy change. With our expertise championing health policy and a robust network of advocates across the country, Hadassah is continuing its fight to expand access to fertility care — from diagnosis and medication, to in vitro fertilization and other treatments."
Hadassah is mobilizing supporters and partner organizations to support infertility-related legislation at the state and federal level by writing letters and meeting with officials in support of expanded insurance coverage and greater access to treatment. Its Infertility Policy Statement highlights the expertise of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Israel, advocates for quality, affordable infertility diagnosis and treatment in the United States and affirms that insurance coverage for infertility screenings and treatments — like maternity care — should be required in every health insurance plan.
Klein states, "I have long respected Hadassah’s work building community and promoting women’s health. I am proud to be a partner with an organization that has always been at the forefront of important issues. As everyone suffers the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and isolation, most fertility clinics have closed, forcing couples who were relying on treatment to stop as their biological clocks continue to tick. Many high-risk women, with histories of miscarriage or hospitalization during pregnancy, are told not to try to conceive naturally, as to not tax our already burdened healthcare system. I look forward to working with Hadassah to raise national awareness about the challenges of infertility and how we can support the people we love."
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA) is the largest Jewish women's organization in the United States. With over 300,000 members, Associates, donors and supporters, Hadassah brings Jewish women together to effect change and advocate on critical issues such as security of Israel, combating anti-Semitism and promoting women's health. Through the Hadassah Medical Organization's (HMO) two hospitals, the world-renowned trauma center and the leading research facility in Jerusalem, Hadassah supports the delivery of exemplary patient care to over a million people every year. HMO serves without regard to race, religion or nationality and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.