Speak the truth, even when your voice shakes. 💪🏻

A group of advocates — which includes me! 😬— on the listening panel

Today I was honored to speak on a panel of policymakers, medical providers and infertility patients hosted by Senator Tammy Duckworth at Fertility Centers of Illinois.

I’ve never been on a panel before, but I’ve definitely watched a lot of them, and I have to say this was one where my attention was held rapt the entire time. Everybody brought such a unique perspective to the table: doctors, patients, philanthropists, single parents, veterans, people with tons of insurance, people with no insurance.

The women’s stories on this panel are not mine to tell, but I was incredibly touched by how personal this topic was for everybody present, and how advocacy spans across disciplines. 

One undeniable takeaway was how many barriers there are to infertility. Financial, medical, emotional, cultural. And if there was one ‘aha moment’ for me, it was this:

I am somebody who benefitted immensely from access to IVF, therefore the onus is on me to ‘go first’ in sharing my story. 

IVF is one of the most hidden commonplace things I know of. I can’t tell you how many times over the past couple months that I’ve told people about my book and learned that they too struggled with infertility. These are people I never would’ve brought this topic up with in polite company, but once I ‘go first,’ the dialogue can finally take its rightful place.

Maybe it’s easy to make sweeping value judgments about reproductive technology when it’s this abstract concept you hear about on the news. 

But you look into the (overflowing) eyes of a real person who just wants to build their family, and has been forced to fight like hell to get the same chance as anyone else, it makes the abstract real.

42% of Americans have undergone fertility treatments themselves or personally know someone who has. (Source: Pew Research).

I feel called to ‘go first’ because what I (and so many others) have been through is as real as it gets. And I’m honored to share that story coming straight from my heart to yours. ❤️

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