Denham Springs couple chosen as patient advocates for Washington D.C. Advocacy Day.
Congratulations to Hannah Beck and Jonathan Lawson on being chosen as our patient advocates for Fertility Advocacy Day 2019!
The Denham Springs, LA, couple will join Dr. John Storment in Washington D.C. May 15-16 to advocate fertility issues with our Louisiana representatives and senators on Capitol Hill.
Hannah and Jonathan’s fertility journey officially start a year into their marriage when the couple was ready to start their family. However, Hannah’s diagnosis as a teenager of polycystic ovary syndrome and later insulin resistance was complicating their efforts to get pregnant. They initially worked with her OBGyn to combat the symptoms of PCOS, like weight gain and hormone imbalance, but they were still failing to get pregnant.
“People around us would offer all sorts of well-meaning advice and suggestions,” says Hannah. “Like, ‘just relax, stop trying so hard’ or ‘keep praying and your prayers will be heard and answered,’ and lastly, ‘why don’t you just adopt?'” While she knew much of this advice came from a place of love and concern, it still hurt to have others who did not understand the complexities of their situation. To make matters worse, Hannah underwent exploratory surgery for a large cyst on her ovary only to find out she also had extensive endometriosis.
“It felt like I had the infertility trifecta,” said Hannah, “and I didn’t know what to do.”
In 2016 Hannah’s OBGyn referred her to Dr. John Storment at Fertility Answers who has expertise in PCOS, an insulin and hormonal disease that prohibits ovulation. Dr. Storment’s initial treatment plan was conservative, opting for ovulation induction medications in conjunction with intrauterine insemination. He hoped this was all Hannah would need to get her body to ovulate and help them achieve the pregnancy they so desired.
Hannah and Jonathan were excited when their IUI cycle was completed and eagerly waited out the two weeks to find out if it was successful. But after the long wait, they were instead greeted by a negative pregnancy test. While IUI cycles are less expensive than other fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization, it was still more than they could afford. The build-up of excitement and hope with their IUI cycle left them crashing into a serious low after they had spent more than they could afford and were, in their opinions, no closer to becoming parents.
Like most Americans, Hannah and Jonathan’s medical insurance offered zero coverage for fertility treatments. After much discussion, the couple decided that they needed to pay off student loans and get on better financial footing before trying more aggressive fertility treatment. They both worked and saved to pay off all their debts and to work out a plan. That’s when they heard that Woman’s Hospital offered fertility treatment insurance benefits to employees. One of them needed to work at Woman’s Hospital and soon. Hannah, who has a liberal arts background and had plans to become a librarian, quickly enrolled in phlebotomy school. After obtaining her certification in May of 2017, Hannah applied and was hired by Woman’s Hospital as a phlebotomist.
“I was ecstatic because of the doors this job opened in my life,” says Hannah on her decision to change her career to get infertility insurance coverage. Through her newfound insurance benefits, she is finally able to start the IVF process and feels more hopeful in her future as a mother. “It was a difficult decision to change the trajectory of my life and career for the opportunity to become a parent,” says Hannah.
Most insurance policies do not offer any assistance with paying for fertility treatments and fertility medications and that standard needs to change.
Hannah and Jonathan are excited about being chosen as patient advocates and the opportunity to speak to legislators about the desperate need for medical coverage of fertility treatment. Infertility is a medical issue that affects so many but most cannot afford to treat. If Hannah were not fortunate enough to be an employee of Woman’s Hospital, these treatments would be beyond their reach. Their infertility story is similar to so many others, and it is their passion to advocate for themselves and those who have dreams of starting a family but are financially unable to do so.