If you are a member of the LGBTQ community, you may find yourself feeling anxious at times when thinking about health care. Perhaps you had a bad experience or heard unpleasant stories and, as a result, feel uncertain about where to turn to get the right care.
When it comes to fertility care, a new designation has changed all that so you no longer have to wonder where you’ll be treated well.
“Open Door” is a designation available to fertility clinics that have undergone LGBTQ sensitivity and inclusion training. Think of Open Door as a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Any clinic with the designation is deemed a safe space where members of the LGBTQ community can get the professional care they deserve in a welcoming, compassionate environment.
Reproductive Medicine Associates (RMA) – IVIRMA Global’s U.S. based group of fertility clinics, which includes RMA of New Jersey, RMA of Philadelphia, RMA of Pennsylvania, RMA of Florida, RMA of Northern California and RMA of Southern California – is getting its Open Door designation.
RMA recently partnered with the Family Equality Council, the nation’s premier advocacy organization for family-building, to enhance the level of care we provide LGBTQ patients in our clinics by leveraging the council’s Open Door training course. The goal of the partnership – and the Open Door certification – is to enhance the experience of LGBTQ patients in care, above all making them feel welcome, understood and supported throughout their family-building journey.
The Open Door initiative – which consists of rolling out a trio of training courses for all RMA staff – comes at an important time for the millennial LGBTQ community, which is increasingly interested in family-building.
“Just as science and medicine have evolved to provide more, and more effective, family-building options to the LGBTQ community, the care LGBTQ patients receive should also evolve, and we are incredibly proud to partner with the Family Equality Council to provide the highest level of inclusive care to this community,” said Dr. Dan Kaser, an RMA of New Jersey physician who oversees the center’s LGBTQ programs.
According to Family Equality Council’s 2018 survey on LGBTQ family building, more LGBTQ millennials than older LGBTQ generations are either already parenting or considering parenting – data that indicates major growth in LGBTQ family-building desire.
The survey found that while about 33 percent of LGBTQ people aged 55 or older were already parents or considering having children, and about 63 percent of LGBTQ people aged 36-54 were already parents or considering having children, and 77 percent of LGBTQ millennials, aged 18-35, were already parents or considering having children. The Family Equality Council credits this shift, at least partly, to the 2015 marriage equality ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the U.S.
What does this increased desire from the LGBTQ community to have a family mean for the reproductive health and fertility industry? It means assisted reproductive professionals must be prepared to provide sensitive, inclusive and compassionate service to these hopeful parents.
Although most people in the LGBTQ community don’t have an infertility diagnosis, they do need some assistance in achieving their goals of becoming parents. That’s why RMA is investing in an even higher level of care for its LGBTQ patients.
Two of RMA’s legacy clinics, RMA of New Jersey and RMA of Philadelphia, both have well-established programs for the LGBTQ community, with specialized departments and staff. Now, as a Family Equality Council National Corporate Sponsor leveraging the Open Door training to enhance LGBTQ competency for staff, this community can expect an extra level of compassionate care.
“Over the last 25 years, I have had the privilege of helping members of Philadelphia’s and the Delaware Valley’s LGBTQ community build their families. Medically and scientifically, much has changed over this time, but the fundamental premise remains the same: provide everyone with the highest quality care and the utmost compassion,” said Dr. Jackie Gutmann, an RMA of Philadelphia physician who leads the clinic’s LGBTQ programs.
RMA staff has already begun their three-course training on ‘LGBTQ 101,’ ‘Trans Fertility Considerations’ and ‘Building an Inclusive Practice.’ The courses include an in-depth education on LGBTQ terminology, family-planning options, and best practices for health centers dealing with the community, including the use of gender-neutral language on all paperwork.
If you are a member of the LGBTQ community and thinking about starting your family, call 973.656.2089 today.