Tennessee Fertility Advocates is a grassroots coalition group started in 2020 by local Collierville moms, Mollie Walker and Lauren Brown. We are a PRO-family group of Tennesseans who are advocating for fertility-friendly legislation in Tennessee while helping advocates find their voice and equipping them to have discussions with employers about the need for infertility coverage. We are determined to raise their voices about infertility while destigmatizing the disease of infertility.
Lauren and I met at the age of 5 and instantly became friends; who knew that almost 25 years later our lives would intertwine for something greater?
My husband, Taylor, and I spent many years trying to conceive our children. I didn’t ovulate on my own and my first pregnancy came after starting an ovulation medicine. My daughter, Lawson, was born in 2015. When trying for baby number two, we figured the journey would be difficult, but that word alone wouldn’t give justice to the grief and heartache that followed. I struggled with the devastating loss of two miscarriages and decided to seek treatment with Dr. Amelia Bailey at Fertility Associates of Memphis and was later diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder. Thankfully after this discovery and treatment – and through God’s amazing provision – I became pregnant with my son Noah, who is now 2. On top of all the emotional and physical toll infertility took, the financial burden was great. I didn’t have any insurance coverage for infertility treatments and spent thousands of dollars along the way.
Lauren had her own struggles with infertility. Multiple failed IUIs and two miscarriages caused for a lot of heartache and financial burden for Lauren and her husband, Houston. In 2017, after a year and half of uncovered fertility treatments, they welcomed their daughter, Katherine with the assistance of an IUI. Lauren and Houston are currently going through their second round of fertility treatments with Dr. Raymond Ke at Fertility Associates of Memphis. This time, Houston’s company, Fifth Third Bank, does offer insurance coverage for fertility treatments, which is something most Tennesseans don’t have access to; we are fighting for that right.
After learning about states that had been successful at passing legislation on fertility-covered insurance, we realized this was something we needed to start pursuing in Tennessee. One door after another was opened, and we began Tennessee Fertility Advocates in July 2020.
With one in six couples facing infertility, the need for coverage is great. Infertility isn’t just a female issue: 1/3 is female, 1/3 is male, and 1/3 is unexplained. Infertility is a disease and doesn’t discriminate based on gender, race, or social status. Having financial burdens lifted would be a game changer for many seeking to grow their family. We have grown our advocacy group and have drafted legislation to present to the Tennessee General Assembly, hopefully in 2021. We have started discussions at key Tennessee based companies about coverage. International Paper, Helena Chemical, TruGreen and MCR Safety are some of the the first large companies to start the coverage journey with their insured.
How You Can Help
The chances that you know someone who has struggled with infertility are great. Please follow us on social media and visit our website to learn more and take action. We need to build in our advocacy efforts and continue raising awareness about the need for coverage. If you want to have a discussion with your employer or would be willing to write your State Legislators then please reach out. We would love to help and elevate your voice! Our stories do make a difference. Stand with us and help fight for families.
Our email is [email protected], Instagram @TNfertilityadvocates, Facebook @Tennessee Fertility Advocates, Twitter @TNfertilityadv, LinkedIn @TN Fertility Advocates and our website is www.tnfertilityadvocates.com. Also, for more information check out this interview with Jeremy C Park with cityCURRENT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhGliW6nYG0.
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