For my family, conversations about in vitro fertilization (IVF) aren’t political. They’re personal.
My husband Tyler returned from a deployment to Afghanistan in 2005 paralyzed from the waist down with a bullet still lodged in his spinal cord after he was shot four times. When we decided to start a family, IVF was a necessity. Navigating the high cost of IVF wasn’t always easy, but it brought us our two beautiful boys and made us the family we are today.
Since going through the process ourselves, we have worked to make sure all families, and especially families of veterans, are able to access IVF. In Colorado, we worked to make sure that access to IVF would be available through health insurance, so families like ours could bring children into the world without facing crushing medical bills.
Now, I am concerned that the most recent nominee to the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, might undermine the progress we have made towards access to fertility treatments in the United States. Judge Barrett’s track record has caused leading doctors to speak out and express concern. She has associated with a group that supports criminalizing common parts of the IVF process, and during her confirmation hearing, she would not say that states could not ban procedures like IVF.
During Barrett’s confirmation hearing, a group of fertility doctors took the unprecedented step of publishing a note in Fertility and Sterility, a leading medical journal, expressing concerns about Barrett’s approach to issues like IVF. They wrote that her joining the Court “threatens those who seek to build a family through in-vitro fertilization.” Unfortunately, there is reason to think that access to IVF may be at real risk. In many states, including here in Colorado, people have proposed laws that, in the words of the National Infertility Association RESOLVE, “may seriously impair the ability of citizens with infertility to obtain needed medical treatment.”
For me, these questions aren’t abstract. If doctors had not been able to perform all the parts of the IVF process when we decided to start a family, our two little boys would not be here today. I want every family to have the choices Tyler and I did, and I want everyone who wants it to experience the joy and fulfillment that we have as parents.
Colorado Senator Michael Bennet has said he plans to oppose Barrett’s confirmation. I’m grateful to him. Senator Cory Gardner, however, has said he plans to support her. I hope he will think hard about what kind of message that would send to the families across Colorado whose lives have been changed by IVF. I hope he will think about all the joy my two little boys have brought into the world. I hope he will change his mind.
Crystal Wilson is an advocate for infertility care whose advocacy journey started when she and her husband needed IVF to have their children due to his combat-related spinal cord injury.