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Guest Speaker: Ellen Gustafson & Katy Bell Hendrickson

Ep 46 | Military Family Building Coalition


October 22, 2021

Today on the Fertility Café podcast, Eloise gets to talk with Ellen Gustafson & Katy Bell Hendrickson about fertility for military families.

Ellen Gustafson is a social entrepreneur, author, activist, and, most importantly, Mom and Military Spouse. She has done extensive work toward food system change (Authoring “We the Eaters: If We Can Change Dinner, We Can Change the World”, Co-Founding Food Tank: the food think tank, giving 4 four TEDx Talks on food system change and advising big food businesses like Barilla and start-ups like Food Stand). 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. In her spare time, she is an architect by education and training – having spent the last decade working mainly in residential design and historic preservation. She is a former Board of Director for the Coronado Historical Association, Chairperson for the Heritage Committee, Chairwoman for the Coronado Historical Home Tour 2017-2019 and the recipient of the Cobb McCarty Preservation Award. 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
  • US Military Health Care TRICARE 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


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