Some Couples Try Crowdfunding To Pay For Infertility Treatments

By Stephanie O’Neill
Kaiser Health News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Asking for IVF assistance is becoming one of the fastest-growing crowdfunding categories. In 2016, it outpaced all categories except for adoption.

Kaiser Health News

Crowdfunding is a popular way to raise money for such disparate things as birthday parties and political protests. But on some of the big online fundraising sites are found public pleas for something far more personal, infertility treatments.

Greg and Julia Fry of Ithaca, N.Y., were in their early 30s when they got married three years ago and set out to start a family. But a year passed, and Julia didn’t get pregnant. Six more months went by and, still, no baby.

Greg said they went to a specialist. “We started to do some tests to try and find out what was happening with both of us,” he said. “And we wound up realizing that fertility treatments were what we would need.”

They began with IUI, or intrauterine insemination, in which sperm is inserted with a catheter directly into the woman’s uterus at the time of ovulation. The procedure costs, on average, just under $1,000 a try. The Frys tried four times in the past year, with no luck.

“This, by far, is the hardest thing that we’ve ever been through together,” Greg said. “There is always hope going into every cycle. And that hope, sort of, gets dashed at the end of the cycle, and then we start again.”

The next step they took was to try in vitro fertilization, or IVF, a more costly and invasive option. IVF involves retrieving eggs from the ovaries, and then fertilizing them with sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo is then transferred into the woman’s uterus. Each try can cost $15,000 to $20,000.

At first, Greg said, they thought about going overseas for more affordable treatments, but travel costs would have eaten up any savings. They went online instead, to the crowdfunding site GiveForward. They posted a video in which they talk about their decision to ask for financial help.

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