When you’re young and thinking about getting married and having babies you never dream it will be difficult to do. You figure when you decide to have children, you’ll just, BOOM, get pregnant and start your family. Yes, this does happen. But for many couples it is not as easy as hopping into bed. The world of fertility and infertility treatment has exploded in the last 20 years. Couples today have many options if regular old sex won’t get the job done. The problem is, most of these options are expensive and the grandaddy of them all, in vitro fertilization (IVF), costs the most. Insurance typically does not cover IVF and it often takes multiple cycles to result in a pregnancy. At $6000 to $15,000 a round, IVF can quickly bankrupt a couple. Worrying about how to pay for IVF can add another layer of stress on an already unbelievably stressful time, when you are supposed to be convincing your body and mind they are ready to conceive. I interviewed two couples this month. One is trying IVF for the first time. The other is preparing for round 3. Both were a joy to get to know. They are warm, funny, supportive of their partners, honest, and heartbreakingly unfulfilled right now. They both are struggling to pay for IVF. Now to the reason they invited me into their homes. I’m sharing their stories because they are using the internet and the kindness of strangers to bankroll their baby dreams. Maybe you are familiar with online crowdfunding sites such as Go Fund Me or Kickstarter. You enroll on the site, set up a profile as detailed as you wish, and ask for help with your project, your small business, your independent film, your fertility treatment. Both husbands in the couples I spoke to were reluctant at first to put their “business” out there for everyone to read but have come around after seeing the incredible outpouring of support, both financial and emotional, they’ve received from all over the country, from people they don’t know. The couples have raised thousands of dollars between them and will most certainly be able to afford a round of IVF. When I asked them what they would say to those who have given one dollar, a thousand dollars, a kind word, all said through tears they would simply say ‘thank you for allowing us our dream of having a family.’
They say it takes a village to raise a child. In this case, it takes a village to conceive one.
My story on IVF crowdfunding airs Wednesday, June 18th at 11. Then look for it online at http://www.cbs46.com under health.