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Crowdfunding for Kids

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

This is an actual thing now for infertile couples, according to a recent New York Times Motherlode blog. Crowdfunding—in other words, raising money from strangers and loved ones for a personal cause by asking them to donate, via the internet—is what some infertile couples are turning to in order to pay for their fertility treatments.

“After two long hard years of trying on our own to conceive, we were diagnosed with infertility,” Kimberly Sparkman writes at her campaign on Indiegogo.com. Her insurance doesn’t cover IVF, or any of the accompanying costs.

“After the diagnosis I underwent every possible test under the sun to see what our options were to be able to have just one more child...as it turns out without IVF we have less than a five percent chance of having any other children. To write that is almost as hard as asking complete strangers for help...but without doing this and reaching out we may never have a chance at welcoming another life.” The Sparkmans have a three-year-old daughter, and have been married since 2010.

I totally get it from a cost perspective—fertility treatments aren’t cheap. I know people who’ve had to pay for theirs completely out of pocket, to the tune of $30k (and there’s no guarantee it’s going to be successful). I’m very lucky I had good fertility coverage last year when I was going through all of mine. But when I found out my insurance coverage had changed (unbeknownst to me) just two days before my last FET in January, I was devastated. But FETs are a helluva lot cheaper than a full IVF cycle—about $3k for the procedure alone, as opposed to upwards of $30k.

I have new insurance now at my new place of employment that offers some fertility coverage—one IUI or IVF procedure over a lifetime. It’s not great but at least it’s something. And I have good coverage for the medications, which I’m very thankful for because those too can be very pricey.

But if I didn’t? I’d probably sooner take out a loan for the IVF treatments than ask a group of strangers—or even family and friends—to donate money to my infertility cause. It almost seems like a harder thing to justify when you’re going through secondary infertility, as Ms. Sparkman is as well. But how do I know what I’d really do if I couldn’t pay for my treatments? Maybe I’d feel differently.

There are websites that exist for this very reason—to raise money for loved ones’ medical expenses—like Indiegogo.com and Giveforward.com, that take a percentage of the money donated. People are also turning to social media, like Facebook and Twitter, to raise awareness for their cause.

Do you know anyone using their status updates to ask for help for their fertility treatments? How do you feel about it?

Would you turn to crowdfunding for your own fertility treatments? Would you help someone you know, or don’t know, fund theirs?

Follow me @spgorenstein. Friend me on Facebook. Email me. Read my entry for the3six5 project.

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