Family Day and Five Tips for How to Advocate Effectively

This Family Day it’s important for all Albertans to remember not everyone has family to share special days, or events with. In Alberta, as in many other provinces of Canada, 1 in 6 people struggle with infertility. For them, Family Day can be a painful reminder that something important is missing.

How to Advocate Effectively

This Family Day Generations of Hope, the Alberta infertility patient advocacy group, is urging all Alberta infertility patients and supporters to call their MLAs, write their MLAs and most importantly get in to see their MLA in person to share their experiences and remind them why public funding for IVF is so important. They are sharing this PSA to help people learn how to advocate effectively.

Infertility is a complex medical health issue. Even the World Health Organization recognizes that. In vitro fertilization is often the prescribed course of action for infertile couples. But IVF can cost $7,000 in Alberta. Medications can then make that cost well over $10,000. None of that is paid for by Alberta Health Services. At least 20% of those requiring IVF cannot afford to pay for the treatment. That portion of infertility patients will be left contemplating how to pay for in vitro fertilization. Some infertility patients will take on three jobs, or remortgage homes, fundraise on the Internet to build family. Many will give up on having a family.

“I firmly believe from the top of my head to the tips of my toes that there is coverage for every other medical issue. If this were cancer, or diabetes it would be covered. Infertility is a medical issue,” says Terri Abraham, president of Generations of Hope Fertility Assistance Fund. Abraham struggled with infertility herself. She and her husband now have two boys, age 4 and 2.

Recently, Abraham, president of Generations of Hope, met with her MLA, and after a positive meeting, she shared her thoughts for how others can go about scheduling and building a rapport with their political representative. While this advice is Alberta specific, please note that these advocacy tips can be applied to most levels of politics in most areas of Canada.

Five Tips for How to Advocate Effectively

1. Be Prepared. Know your arguments.

And show your arguments. Know who you are meeting with and have all your information in front of you. If the politician wants to know where the evidence is to support why public funding for IVF saves money then show them where they can find the information to back that up. For instance in Alberta we know that the government can save taxpayers $97 million over the course of 18 years by funding IVF.

How do we know this? The Assisted Reproductive Technologies Report.  Feel free to show them this infographic explaining why public funding for IVF is the right choice for Alberta. Take an iPad with you if you want and show them the links to these reports and details.

2. Be Clear in what you are asking.

Have a very clear ask. Don’t go in with a host of demands. Have a simple ask. Generations of Hope wants public funding for IVF in Alberta. Then explain why. It saves money. It helps build healthy families. Be prepared to answer this simple question quickly: Why are you here?

3. Give Your MLA a task to complete.

Before you leave that meeting ask the politician to do something for you. Give them a job. If they seem supportive, then tell them to write a letter of support to the Health Minister.

4. Follow Up.

(Abraham notes that she sent an email right after her meeting.) In that email you can thank the MLA for meeting with you. Restate what you have asked for and then tell them you plan to follow up in one week, then 2, and then 3. Keep those channels open and hold them accountable gently and with good manners. Let them know you aren’t going away and that you will keep following up until there is public funding for IVF making fertility care accessible, affordable and fair for all Albertans.

5. Ditch the Nerves:

Most Important. – Remember everyone is nervous speaking to politicians. It’s normal. But you have to get over the nerves and realize that ultimately you are paying your MLA, or MPP’s salary. Politicians want to hear from taxpayers. If they don’t hear from taxpayers they often don’t know which issues and causes to get behind. Your MLA, or MPP is your voice in your province. That’s how democracy works and remembering this will help you to advocate effectively.

Now good luck! Go call that MLA and set up an appointment. Connect with us to help keep growing and learning more about how to advocate effectively.

In the province of Alberta 76 % of survey respondents thought government funding should be available for people wondering how to pay for in vitro fertilization. 

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Generations of Hope Fertility Assistance Fund helps raise money to make IVF happen for some couples who are unable to afford medical treatment. You must be undergoing treatment at the Regional Fertility Clinic to be eligible to apply for assistance. You can ask your family doctor for an application.

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I am community manager for Generations of Hope. As such, I receive compensation. I back this cause 100 % and my opinion is all my own.


Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.