Crowdfunding And Fertility: More People Are Turning To The Web For Help Building Their Families

By Anna Webb
The Idaho Statesman.

Some of the suggestions people have given Lauren Harms about getting pregnant have verged on the folkloric: drinking protein shakes, taking a certain cough medicine. Others have been insensitive: Friends have suggested that she lose weight, or that she and her husband, Stephen, learn to “live with God’s will” that they’re not meant to be parents.

After trying for a decade to have a child and enduring fertility drug treatments that didn’t work, the Harmses, both 39, are trying a new approach.

They created a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for in vitro fertilization. The Harmses are telling their very private story as they try to raise $25,000 for the procedure in which a woman’s eggs are harvested and implanted after fertilization in a lab.

They’ve raised around $1,800 from 40 donors.

“My mom gives $25 each month,” said Harms. “We’ve gotten donations from people I haven’t heard from since elementary school.”

While crowdfunding for family planning might seem unusual, or overly public for what many would see as a private matter, the number of GoFundMe campaigns for in vitro fertilization are increasing. GoFundMe had 80 campaigns in 2012. In 2015, it has 516. Unlike programs such as Kickstarter, which focuses on creative projects and business startups, the largest share of GoFundMe campaigns are for medical expenses, according to the company.

HARD TIMES,HARD WORK
The Harmses, born a week apart, have been married for nine years.

“We didn’t have a lot of other relationships. We were both waiting for the right person,” said Lauren Harms. “We’re similar.
We have a drive to do what we want to do, not what others want us to do.”

They had planned their wedding. It was two months away when they found out Harms was pregnant — a happy surprise.

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