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Bill Would Have Dictated the Terms of Treatment Between an Infertility Patient and Her Physician
(McLean, VA, April 9, 2009) — As the leading voice for women and men facing infertility, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association (RESOLVE) and its supporters won in a showdown against legislators in Georgia who were pushing a bill that would have imposed unprecedented government control over private infertility treatments, including in vitro fertilization (IVF). Facing a groundswell of opposition from patients, doctors, and lawyers, the legislators first gutted, and then passed a much watered-down version of the original bill, Senate Bill (SB) 169. For the time being, Georgia infertility patients do not have to worry that politicians will pass legislation to make pro-family infertility treatment less effective, more expensive, or unavailable altogether.
Through RESOLVE’s grassroots mobilizing technology, Georgia citizens sent nearly 100,000 faxes, letters, and emails of opposition to Georgia State Senators and House members during this fight. Scores of infertility patients came to the State Capitol to protest, showing legislators photos of their children from IVF who would not exist if SB 169 were the law. Doctors testified that the law would force them to practice substandard medicine.
“The Georgia legislature saw the strength and the passion of RESOLVE and its supporters in defeating this ill-advised legislation.” said Barbara Collura, RESOLVE’s Executive Director. “Instead of regulating IVF, the Georgia legislature and legislatures across the country should focus on insurance coverage for infertility treatments. RESOLVE asks politicians to work hand-in-hand with us and become part of our family building team.”
Senate Bill 169, allegedly crafted to prevent another octuplet birth, would have set fertility treatment back about 20 years in Georgia. It would have (a) limited the number of eggs that could be fertilized; (b) limited the number of embryos a doctor could transfer in a woman's uterus; (c) banned all embryo freezing, and (d) banned donor compensation for donor egg, sperm and embryo. These limits not only violate nationwide medical practice standards, but also go far, far beyond anything warranted to prevent an octuplet birth.
“Women and men in Georgia who are trying to build their families were literally terrified that if this law passed, they would lose all hope of ever having a baby. Infertility patients already undergo tremendous stress during their family building journey, to now have to worry about misguided legislation that threatens their very right to be a parent is unconscionable,” said Renee Whitley, Co-Chair, RESOLVE’s Advocacy Committee and Georgia resident.
The outrage from the family building community forced Georgia legislators to backpedal, re-write, and delete many of the provisions of the bill that would have harmed infertility patients. When SB 169 did not have a hearing in a key House committee by the time the Georgia legislature adjourned on April 3, 2009, the battle was won. Collura commented: “Many in the infertility community gave up their privacy to fight against this bill which they did for their families and future children, and this time they won the battle.”
For more information on RESOLVE initiatives, visit http://www.resolve.og/.
Founded in 1974, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, headquartered in McLean, VA, is the oldest and largest consumer-based, nonprofit group that provides education, advocacy and compassionate support for those struggling with infertility in the United States. Each year, RESOLVE and its nationwide network of affiliates handle more than 1.5 million contacts from people seeking information and help. For more information, visit the RESOLVE website at www.resolve.org.