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Fertility Cafe

Oct 22, 2021

Ep. 46 | Military Family Building with Ellen Gustafson & Katy Bell Hendrickson


Episode Summary 

Today on the Fertility Café podcast, Eloise gets to talk with Ellen Gustafson & Katy Bell Hendrickson about fertility for military families. They share their journey that led them to be activists for change to help military service members and their spouse receive the fertility services they need.

Ellen Gustafson is a social entrepreneur, author, activist, and, most importantly, Mom and Military Spouse. She is the Co-Founder of FEED and the FEED Foundation, and the Co-Director of the Summit Institute since 2016. She is the Mom of three miracle toddlers and lives with them and her husband in “just seasonal enough” Virginia Beach, VA. Her personal experiences inspired her to find ways to support active-duty service members to build the families they want regardless of deployment schedules, fertility challenges, or financial situation.  

Katy Bell Hendrickson is a Military Spouse to a retired career Naval Special Warfare officer and mother of five children. She and her husband have experience with adoption, assisted reproduction and third party reproduction. Katy was the Reserve Flag Spouse Advisor for the Command Spouse Leadership School at NLEC in Naval Station Newport, Flag Spouse Advisor for CORE San Diego, and an Advisor to Naval Services FamilyLine in Washington DC. Katy has been active in the Warrior and Family Support Group at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado as a Senior Peer Mentor and has led multiple workshops on Family Building covering the topics of ART and Adoption. Katy is currently on the Women's Committee for the National Museum of Women in the Arts and lives in Washington DC with her husband, youngest son, and twin daughters.

Ellen and Katy are the co-Founders of the Military Family Building Coalition—an organization on a mission to help active military members build their families.

 This episode, Eloise, Ellen and Katy share: 

  • That 15 to 20% of surrogate babies nationwide are carried by military wives, even though the military makes up less than 1% of the US population
  • TRICARE, US Military Health Care, does not cover many types of reproductive assistance or adoption for military families
  • The unique fertility struggles that military families face
  • Their personal stories that led them to co-found Military Family Building Coalition



Learn more about Ellen & Katy’s Military Family Building Coalition: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and on their site

Learn more about our podcast: Fertility Cafe

Learn more about our surrogacy and egg donation agency: Family Inceptions

Learn more about independent surrogacy: Surrogacy Roadmap

On the blog: Us Surrogacy Map

On the blog: A Beginner’s Guide to Fertility Acronyms


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