The US Military Family Building Coalition (MFBC) has announced its creation as a newly launched non-profit organisation committed to the mission of supporting active-duty military members in building their families
The organisation is built with a coalition strategy to develop alliances with other organisations that support military families and with those that advocate for infertility and adoption benefits.
The first of its kind, this organisation was created by co-founders Katy Bell Hendrickson and Ellen Gustafson, two military spouses whose personal experiences inspired them to find ways to support active-duty service members to build the families they want regardless of deployment schedules, fertility challenges, or financial situation.
The MFBC plans to focus its efforts on educating service members, the American public, provide assistance to those in need of mental and emotional support and advocate for a change through partnerships with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and Resolve: The National Infertility Association so that the American public can support our troops in this most important mission – building a family.
Currently, the healthcare program TRICARE does not cover many types of reproductive assistance or adoption for military families, and their policies explicitly state TRICARE “does not cover non-coital reproductive procedures”. This means that the vast majority of military couples who do not get pregnant in the windows they are physically together timed with their duty responsibilities or those who choose to continue to serve but want to preserve their eggs or sperm are not provided the means to do so as part of their military healthcare.
Ellen said: “Military families face many challenges due to their service and having children shouldn’t be one of them.
“My infertility experience, and that of many other military families, is not just sad and frustrating for us. More importantly, it’s an American military readiness and retention issue as well as an equality issue. If we want our armed forces to recruit and retain top talent and have that talent ready to deploy, we need the resources to plan our families and address the challenges that come with family building and military life.”
“The timing was right for us to build this coalition,” said Katy Bell Hendrickson. “We’ve had incredible support from the military, the private sector as well, and nonprofit organizations we’re bringing into this coalition. We understand the critical need to expand support for family-building options, including assisted reproductive technologies, and what this means to the military community.”
For more information on the Military Family Building Coalition visit their website.
Read more on military-specific fertility challenges here.