Breast cancer survivor Dana Clark and her physician, Dr. Jason Griffith of the Houston Fertility Institute, are headed back to Capitol Hill on May 11, 2016 to join fellow advocates for the 2016 RESOLVE National Advocacy Day. During their time on Capitol Hill, they will meet with members of Congress about the physical, emotional, and financial impact of reproductive medicine.
Clark’s infertility battle began when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 – at just 32 years old, she faced aggressive chemotherapy and a preventive hysterectomy. She decided to harvest her eggs right away in hopes that a family would come later. In March 2015 she attempted her first in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure, but the treatment was unsuccessful and she learned that the saved eggs were not viable. By this time, she had also paid $40,000 out of pocket in pursuit of motherhood, as most insurance providers do not cover assisted reproductive technologies (ART).
“I did everything I could to increase my chances of having a baby,” Clark said. “It is possible to overcome infertility, and there are amazing fertility care providers here who have done everything they can – but, I was forced to go into a tremendous amount of debt in the process.”
Clark and Dr. Griffith will share her story with the nation’s lawmakers in hopes of making a difference in existing and future legislation. Better insurance coverage for infertility treatments has been one of RESOLVE’s top priorities for many years. “Every patient’s path to IVF is different – for Dana, she was uniquely faced with a disease that was both life-threatening and caused her infertility,” Dr. Griffith said of his patient. “However, she has something in common with so many others struggling with infertility in that there is little to no financial assistance.”
This year’s Advocacy Day will also focus on asking senators and representatives to support the Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act, a bill that will dramatically improve the care wounded service members and veterans receive for infertility, and the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act.
“Our mission is to provide patient-centered care during a particularly stressful time in our patients’ lives,” said Debbie James, President and CEO of Vivere, a fertility management partner. “Unfortunately, we continue to see affordable access to quality care being blocked or burdened by difficult legislation. We’re so proud of Dana and Dr. Griffith’s efforts in tackling these issues for patients everywhere.”