'You can't help us in the bedroom, but you can help us make a baby': The childless couples using online donations to fund IVF
20:46 GMT, 29 October 2012
Would-be parents unable to pay for IVF, which often costs more than $20,000, are taking to the internet to raise funds via donation websites and social networking sites.
Because health insurance is not required to cover the fertility treatment in many U.S. states, Ken
Mosesian, executive director of the American Fertility Association, told ABC News that people employ a range of 'crazy' money making methods.
Indeed Brian and Molly Walsh, from San Francisco, invited family and friends to an IVF wine-tasting fundraiser. An invitation to the event, which helped raise more than $8,000, read: 'You can't help us in the bedroom, but you can help us make a baby'.
High price of fertility treatment: Timothy and Alona Robinson are just one of the couples who have set up an online fundraising page to help raise money for their IVF treatment
Barbara Collura, CEO of the National Infertility Association, said that because loans have become less available over recent years, people have had to look at new ways of funding their IVF
'Think about how difficult it is now to
get credit cards. A lot of things that people could
access cash with are either gone or very, very different now,' she said.
Brandi and Shelton
Koski, from Kansas, were one of the first couples to take to the internet to raise funds for their fertility treatment.
In 2006, when they were told were told that their IVF wasn't covered by their insurance. they set up a website called BabyOrBust.com, which asked visitors for
In a matter of months they had raised $7,500 and in two
years they reached their $20,000 target. Thanks to their unique money
making efforts they welcomed their daughter Paisley in April 2010
following their first round of IVF.
Out of reach: IVF typically costs more than $20,000 and often requires several additional cycles
Now more and more couples undergoing expensive fertility treatments are relying on donation websites.
Jessica Haley, 28, and her husband, Sean, form Melbourne, Florida, were unable to conceive naturally, but their insurance did not cover treatment. They posted their story on on IndieGoGo last June.
They wrote: 'With the help of an amazing group of doctors, we now have the opportunity to do in vetro fertilization, more commonly known as IVF.
'But since our insurance does not cover the cost of infertility, finances are holding us back… we are inviting our friends, family, and those who feel led to support us to be part of our Baby Haley Journey!'
To their astonishment, their Help the Haleys Have a Baby campaign soon raised $8,050, including $423 from an anonymous donor.
Ms Haley told The New York Times:
'It was miraculous – I can barely talk about it still. It was this
hidden community that lifted us up and was helping us through this
really difficult time.'
'We usually are not ones that ask for
help, but we
are hoping our friends and family can understand'
While most donors were friends or family, she said, about 20per cent were strangers.
Describing the day she discovered that she was pregnant she said: 'I cried millions of times that day out of pure excitement and joy. It was amazing to get all that support through a computer.'
Meanwhile Timothy and Alona Robinson from Lewisville, Texas, set up a page titled Help Support Our IVF Process on GiveForward.com this September, with an aim of raising $6,000.
In almost two months they have collected $2,025. Mrs Robinson wrote on the website: 'With IVF comes a sizable financial investment.
'We usually are not ones that ask for help, but this is something that is near and dear to our hearts and we are hoping our friends and family can understand.'
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 6.7million
women between the ages of 15 and 45 have fertility problems.
Alice Domar, assistant professor of
obstetrics and reproductive biology, said: 'In the good old days people used to
say wait a year and see what happens, and now when we see really what the
impact of age has, we realise we really can’t afford to wait.'
However, only 15 states have laws that
require insurance companies to cover infertility treatments, and seven
of them specifically exclude IVF, according to the National Infertility