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Where Does Your State Rank on the Fertility-Friendly Spectrum?
As it turns out, the United States isn't necessarily the land of equal opportunity when it comes to fertility—but we're making strides to get there. For the third year in a row, RESOLVE released their annual "Fertility Scorecard" in partnership with EMD Serono, and the results may surprise you, depending on where you live.
States were evaluated based on four main factors: 1) the number of peer-led RESOLVE infertility support groups; 2) the number of fertility doctors at SART-accredited clinics; 3) the number of women in the state who experienced physical difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term; and 4) state insurance mandates (or lack thereof).
Here's how the rankings break down—see where your state stands:
"A" Grades:Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey all came in at the top of the class. What set them apart? "These states all have a pretty decent IVF insurance mandate, so that made all the difference," says RESOLVE president and CEO Barb Collura.
"B" Grades:California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia all ranked near the top as well.
"C" Grades: Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin all managed to get passing grades.
"D" Grades:There's considerable room for improvement in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia.
"F" Grades:Alaska, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Wyoming comprise the least fertility-friendly states in the nation, based on the four deciding factors.
Along with the report card-style rankings, RESOLVE also identified "blue-dot" states that are currently at a critical action point. "The blue dot signifies that your state may have legislation that we're concerned about, and we want you to get involved," says Collura.
Wondering how to get involved and improve conditions in your state? Collura's got a few ideas:
1. Start a peer-led support group in your area.
No existing infertility support groups near you? RESOLVE makes it easy to spearhead a new one—and help provide community and catharsis for women in need.
2. Lobby for change.
"Share your story with state legislators," urges Collura. "If you haven't had insurance coverage, let them know what that has meant for your family-building journey—maybe you've gone into debt or had to put it on hold." You can also volunteer for RESOLVE's Project PROTECT, which helps give voice to people struggling with infertility through letter-writing and call campaigns.
The possibilities don't stop at the government level. Collura also urges people to speak with their employers to urge them to add infertility and IVF coverage to private group plans. "People are finding a more receptive audience [with their employers], and in some cases, succeeding in getting coverage," says Collura. "In states that don't have insurance mandates, we're hearing from people that companies are increasingly interested in voluntarily adding infertility benefits."
3. Spread the word.
Speaking openly about struggles with infertility isn't always the easiest thing to do, but if you're willing to put your story out there, it can make a big difference. "Even if the legislative route frustrates you, there are other ways you can make a difference," says Collura.
Video: What Every US State Is Best and Worst At
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