Your administration has championed the importance of protecting a woman’s right to choose now for nearly four years. I am writing this letter in the hopes that you and your administration will expand the meaning of choice to include the rights of fertility challenged women who must choose family building with the help of reproductive doctors by supporting the Family Act of 2011 Bill.
It is easy to see the love and passion you have for your daughters when you speak about parenthood and your pride in their accomplishments. For many of the seven million women in this country facing infertility treatments, parenthood is far from reach due to the enormous cost burden of reproductive medicine.
The Family Act would provide some relief in the form of a tax credit for medical expenses associated with different fertility treatments. The lifetime maximum proposed by this bill amounts to little more than the cost of ONE IVF.
It is interesting that very little attention is paid by the media to the fact that the medical profession has labeled infertility a disability. Providing a tax credit for medical expenses would ease at least the financial stress of dealing with this disability.
Eleven years ago, my wife and I leveraged our house, credit cards, and emotional sanity for a final shot at having a biological child traveling to one of the top clinics in the country to increase the odds of success. Thankfully, the leap of faith paid off, and our formerly frozen embryo turned ten years old a few weeks ago.
The doctor who helped us ultimately achieve our success said something to me about a woman’s desire to have a child that stuck with me: for women, having a child is as basic a need as breathing, eating and sleeping.
Nowadays women (and men) spend most of their prime reproductive years trying to do the “right things” to prepare for parenthood: obtain an education, stay healthy, achieve financial stability and gain job experience so that they have the means to provide well for a child. The only drawback: their own biological time clock is working against them the entire time.
It isn’t realistic to try to change the entire socioeconomic framework of how we build families to be more aligned with our natural procreative biology. That’s why the Family Act is such a simple alternative. It will provide these aspiring mothers with a financial cushion when they are faced with the choice of having to achieve biological parenthood with the help of reproductive medicine.
I hope that you will support the Family Act of 2011 Bill so millions of women don’t have to choose a life of financial distress just to have a chance at motherhood.