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US couples take novel approach to IVF fundraising

15 March 2010
Appeared in BioNews 549

A couple in the US has taken a novel approach to meeting the cost of IVF treatment. Rather than approaching the bank or re-mortgaging the family home, as some couples are reported to have done, Brandi and Shelton Koskie decided to try to raise the money required - estimated to be around $12,000 - through private fundraising.

The couple launched a blog site called 'Babyorbust.com' where they published details of their personal plight and the difficulties of living with infertility. Family and friends, including visitors to the site unknown to the couple, donated thousands of dollars towards the cost of their treatment. After contributing their own savings to the fund, the Koskie's finally underwent treatment and Brandi gave birth to a healthy child last year.

'It has been really overwhelming,' Brandi told reporters. 'We expected some friends and family might help, but people from all over the country and the world have donated. We've been so touched.' Other couples in the US have taken equally unique approaches to meeting the cost of IVF. One couple from San Francisco used social networking sites to send invites to a wine-tasting evening, from which the proceeds taken from ticket sales went towards their treatment. Another couple launched a blog called 'Just one more' and generated funds through a raffle.

This apparent trend is seen by some as revealing the inadequate provision of affordable IVF treatment in the United States. Barbara Collura, executive director of Resolve, has told news agencies that although some states provide for infertility treatment as part of their health insurance packages, the coverage is often wholly inadequate. It has been reported that the Koskie's insurance plan only contributed $500 towards their treatment.

Some commentators have highlighted that unscrupulous individuals could defraud potential good wishers through posing as infertile couples. In response, those who have embarked on fund-raising projects such as 'Babyorbust.com' have said that they seek to instill confidence in donors by posting personal and intimate details about themselves. 'We did our best to be as transparent as possible,' said Brandi Koskie. However, Hank Greely, a bioethicist from Stanford University, warned couples of such approaches saying that financial donors may feel a special relationship to the coming child and could consider themselves entitled to information that he would advise be kept private.

The difficulties of meeting the cost of IVF in the US was also recently highlighted by news reports of a volunteer fireman who set the family home ablaze allegedly to pay for fertility treatment from the insurance money. Ralph Brown denies charges of arson and the case continues.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Area fire scene officer facing arson charges
Times Argus |  4 March 2010
Baby or Bust: Infertile Couples Turn to the Web to Raise Funds for IVF
AOL DailyFinance |  9 March 2010
Cops say Bennington man set fire to wife's home for insurance money
The Burlington Free Press |  4 March 2010
Police: Two others involved in plot
Bennington Banner |  3 March 2010
Suspended fire captain pleads not guilty to arson
Bennington Banner |  3 March 2010
Two more arraigned in Bennington arson case
Times Argus online |  5 March 2010
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