The cost of infertility is twofold: emotional and financial. We spoke with one couple, Brittany and Chris Barry, about their first tiptoes into managing their heartbreaks — and breaking the bank. Their actions are unique and admirable.
It's not that easy
"It's not that easy" is what doctors told Brittany Barry about her dreams of becoming a mother. After 3-1/2 years of trying to conceive, Brittany and her husband, Chris, have heard more than their share of harsh realities: endometriosis, blocked tube, low egg count, and — finally — infertility.
Brittany says, "When I first heard 'infertility' from the doctors, I felt as if someone had broken my heart into a million pieces. My only goal in life is to be a great wife and a great mother."
After a failed surgical procedure and several unsuccessful infertility treatments, Brittany and Chris are ready to take the next step to start their family, but they have run out of the funds to do so.
Brittany explains, "Both in vitro fertilization and adoption cost $20,000, and our insurance plan doesn't cover treatments."
Rather than giving up on the dream of holding a baby in their arms, Brittany and Chris have decided to take a leap of faith in other people who understand what it means to have dreams of the heart just out of reach. They've decided to fundraise for infertility treatments or adoption.
Brittany says, "I can't wait for the day we can show our child the articles and tell her or him how much mommy and daddy wanted them, fought to have them and how they are a true miracle."
The kindness of strangers
Faced with the overwhelming price tag of both IVF treatments and adoption, the couple decided to take a chance on Brittany's aunt's suggestion of fundraising.
"We were a little nervous about it," Brittany says, "but within five minutes of making the site, we had donations, and both of us were tearing up because it just showed how people really support you and love you. The next day, we made our Facebook page and there were 74 likes. Today we have 136 likes and 72 of those people are complete strangers."
Brittany and Chris have chosen to fundraise through YouCaring.com, the only 100 percent free fundraising site. YouCaring runs on the kindness of strangers who donate their money and time to ensure that whatever money YouCaring's fundraisers receive, they get to use toward their dreams; the site doesn't collect any fees — at all.
Michael Blasco, spokesperson for YouCaring.com, says: "The purpose of the YouCaring site from the beginning was to help people that were in need. Being supported by donors from around the world allows us to help more people than we ever imagined."
YouCaring was originally started to help fund tuition and mission trips. Today, it supports all sorts of dreams, especially medical ones. Families struck by cancer or who need transplants and now infertility treatments can take action by raising money for what they need.
Blasco says, "We currently have over 12,000 fundraisers and will raise millions of dollars this month."
The story behind the numbers
Behind every fundraising dream is the person telling his or her story and humbly asking for help. Needing help can feel solitary and lonely, but it doesn't have to be that way.
"Like most couples who suffer from infertility," Brittany explains, "we suffered the heartbreak quietly by ourselves, alone for many years. Infertility is an uncomfortable thing for people to talk about, and it shouldn't be. People going through this need support. If nothing else, I hope sharing our story spreads awareness to infertility."
Katie Hurley, founder of Clomid and Cabernet, a support site for families struggling with infertility, couldn't agree more.
She says that the "7.3 million Americans currently undergoing treatment for infertility" need a listening ear and an understanding heart.
Hurley explains: "The big misconception is that infertility is different because you can walk away from it — you don't 'need' to go through the emotional upheaval and cost. But for a couple trying desperately to start a family, it is a very real need."
This is exactly how Brittany and Chris feel and why they're reaching out for help. They've received donations — and emails — from strangers wanting to connect in one way or another.
Brittany says, "We have received so many emails from people going through the same thing and thanking us for being brave enough to share our story, which is exactly why we did this."
The power of storytelling — and kindness — is inspiring. People are, indeed, talking about infertility and supporting the Barrys' dream, hoping to sweeten a stranger's ending.
Brittany remembers: "We were recently looking back at our wedding video, and my sister opened her speech with, 'Ever since Brittany was a little girl, if you asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would tell you, I want be a wife and a mommy! She wanted 12 kids. For your sake, Chris, I hope that has changed!'"
Brittany's dreams haven't changed, so together, let's help make them happen.
Katie Hurley says: "People often ask me how they can help friends or family members going through infertility. Most of the time, the answer is simply to listen without judgment. But in this case, any amount you can share will help this couple along their journey."
One of YouCaring's mottos is "Join us in making the world a better place." You and I can do this. Follow Brittany and Chris's baby journey on their Facebook page and consider making a donation on their YouCaring site.