Wild invites Bethlehem mom who had three children through IVF to State of the Union

susan wild

Congresswoman Susan Wild speaking at the grand opening of a TSA security checkpoint at the Lehigh Valley International Airport on July 28, 2023 (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

March 6, 2024

Congresswoman Susan Wild invites a local mother who had three children through IVF to the State of the Union on Thursday to raise awareness of IVF rights

Christie Nicas, a Bethlehem mother of four, will have a special seat reserved for her at President Joe Biden’s State the Union address on Thursday thanks to being invited as Congresswoman Susan Wild’s (D-Lehigh) special guest.

Nicas, who was able to conceive three of her children through IVF, shared her struggles with infertility in a virtual press conference with reporters on Wednesday and will be in attendance representing the thousands of women who use these treatments to start or build their own families.

“IVF is just such a personal, deeply personal thing,” Nicas told reporters.

“My husband and I got married in 2015 and we actually conceived our first son, Connor, with very little difficulty. When we decided we were ready to expand our family, we expected that it would be just as easy as the first time around, and we were in for a rude awakening.”

A 2023 article by Forbes explains how much of a financial burden IVF treatments are for parents looking to start or expand their family.

According to the article, a single IVF cycle, the process that goes into retrieving the egg and transferring the embryo, could cost someone anywhere between $15,000 to $30,000, but thankfully for Nicas she was able to qualify for medical studies to help support the costs.

“We were fortunate enough to qualify for a medical research study, and along with that and some family support, it was what made IVF accessible to us. Otherwise, I don’t really foresee a way that we would’ve been able to pursue building a family through IVF,” Nicas said.

Wild, who has been open with her own infertility issues, has been using her platform to raise awareness of IVF and her Access to Family Building Act bill since the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos have the same rights as humans last month.

“In the days and weeks following the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that threatened the future of IVF in Alabama, which also led several clinics in that state to pause IVF treatments, I have received an extraordinary amount of outreach from constituents, from people across the country, from my colleagues here in the house, a number of whom have had IVF themselves and started their families that way,” Wild said to reporters.

Wild mentioned how the Dobbs decision opened the door to roll back reproductive rights and how it inspired her to introduce legislation that would codify the right to IVF treatments.

The Alabama legislature passed two bills trying to rectify the issue, but Wild pointed out that those bills do not guarantee a woman’s right to IVF.

“The Alabama legislature has undertaken to pass a law that would make physicians and IVF clinics immune from lawsuits. That does not guarantee a woman’s right to have IVF done, and by the way, that hasn’t been signed into law by the governor yet,” Wild said.

A 2018 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 33% of Americans know someone who sought IVF treatments, but its prevalence in society doesn’t mean Republicans are flocking to Wild to support her legislation. If anything, the Alabama court ruling is stopping Republicans from supporting her bill.

“Ideally, I would’ve introduced it as the Democratic lead on the bill with a Republican co-lead,” Wild said.

“I have searched for more than a year for a Republican willing to sign on to this bill. A few have considered it and after considering it have come back to me and said no. One person did sign on to it at the very beginning and promptly went off the bill as soon as the Alabama court decision started to get publicity. I don’t think we can assume that state legislators are going to protect this.”

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

Politics

Local News

Related Stories
Share This