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Resolve New England aims to educate women on infertility treatment options

Date: 7/2/2014

Massachusetts is one of 15 states that mandates health insurance plans cover fertility services and Resolve New England, a regional organization that assists women suffering from infertility, traveled to Beacon Hill to speak with legislators and thanked them for the Commonwealth’s continued support.

Tara Roberts of Springfield didn’t know of the state law that has been in place since 1987 until she was facing infertility issues herself. As a survivor of infertility, she wants other woman to be aware of their rights.

Resolve New England is a nonprofit organization that supports women going through infertility issues in New England, Erin Lasker, the organization’s executive director explained. Lasker said the group’s trip to the Massachusetts Legislature on June 11 was, in part, to educate newer members of the body about the law.

Roberts said that Resolve New England does “so much more than political lobbying.” Besides support groups for women, Resolve New England offers assistance on issues such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), adoption services and egg donation. It sponsors an annual conference on fertility and adoption, which this year will be Nov. 8  

Lasker said that infertility is a disease that affects one in eight women and that many women are not aware of their condition. She explained that insurance regulation about coverage vary form state to state. A recent review undertaken by Resolve New England of the laws in all 50 states resulted in ratings of “A” for Massachusetts and Connecticut but a “B” for Rhode Island.

“Massachusetts is the gold standard,” Lasker said.

She added that adoption plays a large role in the options available for women suffering from infertility. The organization conducts clinics three times a year on the subject.

She explained the women suffering from infertility need support and education about their options as women think about being mothers “from the time they are 3 years old playing with dolls.” 

“It’s a natural instinct,” she explained, adding that receiving a diagnosis of infertility can be a “a very shaming thing.”

Lasker said what complicates how people think about infertility are media reports that focus on older celebrities starting families. She believes that education on fertility issues and options should start with younger women.

“There are a lot of different stigmas out there,” Lasker said.

Roberts called herself “one of the lucky ones,” as IVF did work in her case. She advises that any woman considering the procedure check with their insurance carrier to understand the coverage.

What helped her with her infertility is the support group she attended organized by Resolve New England.

“I didn’t know anyone going through it,” she said.

Lasker added, “It’s validating to know you are not alone.

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