Fertility advocates push for benefits legislation

Updated: Oct. 14, 2020 at 7:06 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and only 19 states offer fertility insurance for those struggling to start a family.

In the Mid-South, Arkansas offers fertility insurance, but Tennessee and Mississippi do not.

That’s why Mollie Walker and Lauren Brown co-founded an organization to bring hope to families who are struggling.

“I always say fortunately and unfortunately we have gone through the journey of infertility together and we really want to give our pain a purpose,” Brown said.

Brown and Walker have been friends since they were 5 years old.

Throughout the years, they’ve experienced all of life’s greatest joys and greatest sorrows together including infertility and suffering miscarriages.

The duo decided to create the Tennessee Fertility Advocates group in July to offer support for others going through the same thing.

“We just decided there’s 19 states that offer fertility coverage and fertility preservation coverage and Tennessee is not one of those,” Walker said. “We wanted to create a group that was a community group for advocates and allow them the opportunity to speak up and find their voice,” Walker said.

In just a few months, the group has grown by thousands of members on social media.

The three main goals are to grow advocacy and awareness, help advocates speak up to employers about the need for coverage and work on a state level to present legislation to promote fertility-friendly benefits.

"It is shown with data and through research that it can save money when infertility coverage is offered, and it will help as far as advocates being able to get the need the medical treatments they need before it gets to the point of “hey I need IVF,” Walker said.

Data shows that 1 in 6 individuals will experience infertility and 1 in 4 families will suffer a miscarriage.

“One-third of women will experience infertility issues, one-third is male and then one-third is unexplained,” Walker said.

Both Walker and Brown now have beautiful children with Brown and her husband still undergoing treatment for another bundle of joy.

“I’m going through it, I’m in the midst of it. I’m at the clinic weekly getting tests and doing procedures so we’re right there with everybody through the process,” she said.

In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, there will be a commemorative light show at the Hernando-DeSoto Bridge at 6:30 p.m. Thursday to honor those who have experienced this type of loss.

For more information about Tennessee Fertility Advocates, click here:

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