Infertility is a cruel disease, it eats away at a person and sometimes those who have lived through it are never quite the same again, but whatever our journey, there is always hope
One US woman watched her daughter struggle for a long time with infertility. When her daughter’s dream finally became a reality, she knew she had to do something to help others.
Pamela Hirsch witnessed her daughter undergo four IVF cycles, each ending in miscarriage and then being told she could never carry her own child.
The family rallied and help her daughter go on to have two children via surrogacy. It was the perfect ending to a horrible time for the family.
“Our family was fortunate to be able to help her and her husband become parents. I realised how lucky we were and wondered how many in similar situations could not pursue having a family without financial help,” Pamela said.
This was when the Baby Quest Foundation was born. An organisation that would fundraise and finance fertility treatment for US couples who were not in a financial position to do it themselves.
The foundation now accepts applications twice a year and has, so far, helped more than 20 people to realise their dream of becoming a parent.
Pamela, who runs the non-profit charity with her daughter, said they help everyone from heterosexual and same-sex couples to single men and women. They also accept applications from people needing a surrogate to realise their dream.
How are you funded?
“We receive donations from individuals. We have a few corporate partners who either contribute money or medications. We are a non-profit charity offering tax deductions for contributions,” Pamela said.
“We have two grant deadlines yearly – May and November. For each cycle we receive several hundred applications.”
Pamela said the criteria is generally those who have no money to have fertility treatment to become a family.
“We grant money to hardworking people, many of whom have devastated their savings on failed procedures. These are people who simply do not have the initial, upfront money to pursue having a family. Our application is thorough in asking about all aspects of the applicant, such as professional, medical, educational and financial.”
Just one of the recipients of the Baby Quest Foundation is Michelle.
In 2007 she was serving in Iraq when the vehicle she was in was ambushed. She survived but lost her left leg and her fertility. She was denied insurance coverage to have fertility treatment. But with the help of the foundation, Michelle and her husband, Bryan, now have a baby boy.
Lindsey and Ron came to Baby Quest having been told in their early 30s, that without IVF they would never be parents. They did not have the funds to pursue treatment, even with two incomes. Today, they are parents of twin boys.
The foundation has support from celebrities Girl Next Door and former girlfriend of Hugh Hefner, Bridget Marquardt and Chicago PD’s America Olivo Campbell.
Pamela said: “As much as some celebs open up about their struggles, there are few who will actually step up and become an ambassador for the charity, and we’ve approached many.”
She also said it was a shame US insurance companies fail to recognise infertility.
“It is truly unfortunate that insurance companies do not recognise infertility as a disease and is worthy of being covered,” she said.
Are you supported by fertility clinics and what links do you have within the fertility world?
“There are a few clinics around the country that give Baby Quest applicants a discount if they are selected as recipients. We ask each physician to offer a discount. Only in this way with everyone’s support can we offer help to more applicants,” Pamela said.
What message would you give anyone who finds themselves in a situation where they cannot afford the family they want due to infertility?
“Do your homework. Check out all sources of funding. Try to keep a positive attitude and know you are not alone.”
The foundation is currently seeking applicants for the November grant process. So, if you live in the US and are looking for funding, the deadline May 23.
Find them on social media pages, @babyquestgrants and to apply visit www.babyquestfoundation.org