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New Bill Would Offer Paid Time Off for Pregnancy Loss

"Pregnancy loss should be met with care, compassion and support. It is a common experience, but many struggle in silence due to the lack of awareness and cultural stigma.”
ByNehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Updated
August 9, 2021
Upset woman puts her hands near her face and looks down.
Image: Getty Images

Making the decision to grow your family is an exciting one, but the process isn’t always easy. Couples can face devastating losses between making that decision and holding baby. Miscarriage can affect up to 15 percent of pregnancies and around 12 percent of couples in America experience infertility. Yet, these topics are still stigmatized and seldom discussed. Currently, there is also no federal requirement for workplaces to offer paid time off for hardships a couple may face while trying to grow their family, such as a pregnancy loss. Now, legislators are working to change that.

Senator Tammy Duckworth and Representative Ayanna Pressley have proposed the Support Through Loss Act, which would make sure that workplaces offer at least three days of paid leave to any employee who has suffered a pregnancy loss or has faced any challenges while trying to grow their family, such as an unsuccessful assisted reproductive technology procedure, a failed adoption arrangement, a failed surrogacy arrangement, or a medical diagnosis or event that impacts pregnancy or fertility.

The two legislators have also proposed a $45 million annual investment to the National Institutes of Health for federal research into miscarriage and pregnancy loss, as well as a requirement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—to develop and disseminate public information regarding pregnancy loss, including information on the incidence and prevalence of pregnancy loss, as well as the range of treatment options for pregnancy loss and recurrent pregnancy loss.

"Pregnancy loss should be met with care, compassion and support. It is a common experience, but many struggle in silence due to the lack of awareness and cultural stigma,” Congresswoman Pressley said in a press release. “Our bill sends a message to families that they are not alone, and would support those experiencing the loss of a pregnancy by providing them with the resources, workforce supports, and care necessary to recover and heal. I am grateful to Senator Duckworth and to our advocates for their close partnership on this long-overdue legislation.”

“The decision to start a family can be so many things—thrilling, life-changing and carefully thought out—but the road to parenthood is not always easy and for many, it can be full of setbacks and disappointments,” Sen. Duckworth also said. “My family faced our own heartbreaks and challenges when growing our family and I wouldn’t have my two girls today if it weren’t for the miracle of IVF. The Support Through Loss Act would provide so many hopeful parents with the support they need when experiencing loss, which is why I’m so proud to introduce this bill with Congresswoman Pressley to shine a light on the experiences of families across the nation.”

The bill is supported by The National Infertility Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and several other organizations. Many other countries, including India, New Zealand and South Korea, already offer paid leave for couples who experience loss and hardships while trying to grow their family. To learn more about the bill, visit Pressley.House.Gov.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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