By Toni Husbands
1 in 8 couples or 7.3 million women experience primary or secondary infertility in this country. My husband and I tried for 9 years before successfully expanding our family. As a 29-year old member of a very large extended family and a small, yet “fruitful”, church – infertility was unexpected and hit like a ton of bricks.
I struggled constantly to remain hopeful. The guilt and shame at times was overwhelming. Each month brought another reminder of dreams unfulfilled. Although surrounded by loving friends and family, infertility left me feeling alone and frustrated. Statements like “just relax”, “maybe you should adopt”, or “you’re too busy to have kids” were well intentioned, but extremely hurtful. To avoid the insensitivity, I withdrew further into isolation.
National Infertility Awareness Week, April 19-25, calls attention to this silent struggle that 25% of women and couples of child bearing age experience. Organized by RESOLVE, an organization created to promote reproductive health, this week offers events to share information about options and resources available.
African American women are nearly twice as likely to suffer with infertility issues as their Caucasian counterparts (11.5% vs 7%), but much less likely to seek timely medical attention. Those who do may find infertility treatments cost prohibitive. Currently, only 15 states offer health insurance that covers fertility treatments. Without insurance, couples face the following average costs per cycle:
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – $865 (Prices including medication reach $2750.)
- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ISCI) – $1500
- In Vitro Fertilization (IVI) – $8,158 (Medication can range from $3,000-$5,000 per cycle.)
- IVF Vacations (travel packages to foreign fertility clinics) – Prices vary, but can start at $12,500 per person.
Additional family building options not covered by insurance include adoption ($20,000-$30,000), egg donation ($10,000 – $15,000) and surrogacy ($50,000-$100,000).
Women and couples facing infertility have access to resources that would have been tremendously helpful during my journey.
Founded in Chicago by Rev. Dr. Stacey Edwards-Dunn, Fertility For Colored Girls seeks to provide support and be an information resource for women of color. They have expanded to Washington DC, Richmond, and are launching the latest chapter in Atlanta. FFCG offers:
- Weekly prayer calls
- Invitation only support groups
- Informational workshops; both in person and online
- Annual Hats, Heels, and Hankies Tea and fundraiser
The Cade Foundation was founded by Drs. Jason and Camille Hammond after their mother, Dr. Trinina Cade, served as the surrogate for the couple’s triplets. The foundation provides financial grants for couples seeking fertility treatments. Visit their website for more information on the 5K races sponsored to promote fertility and support couples in financial need. To date, the Cade Foundation has financially supported 46 families and counting.
Couples facing infertility would do well to contact either of the organizations listed above. Surround yourself with supportive individuals who will keep you encouraged and hopeful with accurate information, success stories, and productive activities. Infertility can be a challenging journey, but you don’t have to face it alone.
BMWK, Have you or your family experienced infertility?
Toni Husbands is a financial coach with the Debt Free Divas on a mission to help 1 million families dump consumer debt. My family dumped over $100K in debt and you can too. Connect with the Debt Free Divas on Facebook, Twitter, or http://debtfreedivas.org.