Pay It Forward Fertility Foundation
On July 14, 2010, I posted about ways to stretch your infertility dollar. In that post, I mentioned a handful of organizations around the US that were offering infertility grants, including the Pay it Forward Fertility foundation.
I had no idea that a little over a year later, I would be working for Carolina Conceptions, one of the fertility programs that sponsor the Pay it Forward Fertility foundation. Life is funny sometimes. What makes the Pay it Forward Fertility Foundation unusual is that competing fertility programs in the Research Triangle area are working together to raise money for and administer infertility grants to patients that have financial needs.
Carolina Conceptions, Duke Fertility Center, North Carolina Center for Reproductive Medicine, the University of North Carolina Health Care and Wake Forest Center for Reproductive Medicine are clinical partners in the foundation, each contributing thousands of dollars to the foundation to support the mission of making fertility treatments (namely in vitro fertilization, IVF with donated eggs and embryo donation) more affordable.
Ferring Pharmaceuticals, a supplier of ovarian stimulation medications, REX Healthcare and other local businesses also contribute to the foundation. The seed money that started the foundation actually came from a couple, Lori and Rob Moscato, who were successful with infertility treatments after a long road.
Lori gave birth to a baby girl, Sophia, after multiple IUIs followed by IVF treatments. A few months after the birth of their daughter, they conceived a son, Ryan, without assistance. Lori’s employer Glaxo-Smith-Kline offered generous infertility insurance benefits which are still not common in the US, so they were lucky in that regard compared to many other US citizens. According to this interview, Lori turned to her husband in December of 2008 and said, “We are so lucky”.
This grateful couple decided to “pay it forward” by writing a $15,000 check which became the seed money to establish the Pay It Forward Fertility Foundation because they wanted to share their luck with other couples who were trying to start a family. Last night, I attended the 3rd annual fundraising gala and listened to the stories of families who have been helped by the program.
Some of the grantee families attended the gala, including a couple who are 20 weeks pregnant with their first child, a girl!, and another couple with their adorable son in their arms. Their stories brought home the importance of these types of granting foundations to families struggling to pay for high-tech infertility treatments.
You can read the stories of previous grant recipients here. The foundation accepts applications throughout the year. For 2011, application deadlines were in February, May and September. The last 2011 application deadline may have passed but look for next year’s application for a PIFFF grant which, when available, can be downloaded from the website.
To be eligible for the grant, applicants must demonstrate financial need and be uninsured for fertility treatments. Requirements for the grant (copied from the application) include:
• Female patients must be under the age of 40 when starting an IVF cycle.
• The foundation’s board of directors will consider female patients who are over 40 and are doing IVF with donor eggs or adopting an embryo through frozen embryo transfer.
• All monies received through the Pay it Forward Fertility Foundation must be used within 365 days of the award date.
• Patients with no children already will be given priority. • Patients who have already spent funds on fertility treatment will be given priority.
• All monies will be paid directly to participating clinic; no monies will be given directly to the patient.
• The grant may not be used to reimburse the patient, or the clinic, for the services already received.
• All grant recipients will be subject to a criminal background check and a credit check.
• You must meet the American Society for Reproductive Medicine definition of Infertility (i.e. blocked tubes, unexplained infertility, endometriosis, PCOS, male factor, female factor, etc.).
A fertility specialist must officially diagnose infertility. Other requirements, like North Carolina residency, are explained on the FAQs page.
While I am still hopeful that someday, universal medical insurance including fertility treatments will exist in the US, these private initiatives are providing hope to some individuals and couples that are barred from the most effective medical treatments for infertility by their financial situation. If your area doesn’t have similar non-profit organizations, take this story to your doctor.
It just might be the start of a provider-initiated foundation in your area. Best Wishes,