(This post about crowdfunding a baby was originally published in 2013. It has been UPDATED with 2016 information) You’ve heard of crowdfunding a new product. And crowdfunding to launch a concept like a new app, or the perfect Canadian winter coat. How about crowdfunding a baby? When expensive fertility treatments are necessary and they aren’t covered sometimes you have to get extremely resourceful.
Remember Nick? You might have read of his creative approach to fertility funding earlier this year when he spoke to the Vancouver Sun about crowd funding health care treatment
. Nick Beaulieu and his wife were running out of options when he decided to ask friends, family and strangers to help contribute to the costs of in vitro fertilization. Beaulieu set up a Go Fund Me
campaign and their campaign of crowdfunding a baby gained steam fast. Together, Nick and wife Deb, raised over $8,000.
They went for their first round of IVF just a few months ago. One round of IVF, an extremely resourceful couple and financial help and support from many, have all added up to one lucky outcome. In 2013, the couple announced to friends and family that the IVF treatment was a success. Their baby is due in 2014. (They have since had a baby, but are still vocal advocates who say nobody should need to go to such lengths to have a family, especially in BC.)
The Beaulieus had been trying to conceive for about 7 years. The couple lives in British Columbia and they are both in their early 30s. They have decent jobs and a healthy lifestyle. But having a baby proved difficult. Tests eventually revealed that Nick had prolactinoma, a tumour on his pituitary gland.
“It’s been rough. A lot of stress and worry for sure,” said Nick.
IVF with ICSI was their only option to conceive. The cost of IVF can range, but because it is not funded in the province of BC, treatment often carries a price tag of $8,000 to $10,000. Many argue that is an extraordinary sum of money for couples to come up with for health care. In fact, infertility has been recognized as a health condition by the World Health Organization. IVF is a process by which the egg is fertilized outside the body and then transferred to the uterus, bypassing the Fallopian Tubes. ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) is often required with male factor infertility and consists of a single sperm being injected into the egg. ICSI carries added costs financially.
Over the course of treatment Nick has become an outspoken champion of public funding for IVF. BC does not fund in vitro fertilization. Currently, in 2016, four Canadian provinces fund IVF. BC is not one of those provinces. That leaves couples like these still facing impossible choices, like crowdfunding a baby, taking out a second mortgage, or taking on 2-3 jobs.
In provinces where there is an IVF funding program the rate of multiples has been reduced and that meant health care savings. As well, moms and babies have had better access to the fertility health care treatment they require in provinces where funding programs are in place.
“Even though we’re both fully employed with good jobs and decent pay, we’re still struggling to get by like the average Vancouverite. We don’t have wealthy families that could lend us the money, and, as many Canadians do these days, we have our fair share of debt. We feel that the MSP should cover IVF treatments because infertility is designated as a recognized illness.”
Nick has also become an advocate for better awareness of male factor infertility. One in six people struggle with infertility. In BC, a survey revealed that 73 % of people there support public funding for IVF. Infertility is 40 % of the time female factor, and 40 % of the time due to male factors. A further 20% of people struggling to conceive will have unexplained infertility.
“When we first learned of my infertility due to the prolactinoma, we were upset, but we thought it would be resolved once treatment of the tumour was underway. Unfortunately my sperm counts went in the opposite direction we expected and by last fall it was so low that we were told to freeze some ASAP.”
“We both knew IVF would be an expensive endeavour. I decided to go the crowd funding route because I realized that in order to save the amount required I would need a few years. We’re still young, but we knew that if we did save for a few years and then went through with it and it didn’t work, we’d be in our late 30s by the time we’d be able to do it again.”
Crowdfunding a Baby Update:
UPDATE – Nick Beaulieu and his wife Deb are aware they are fortunate. Crowdfunding a baby worked for them. They are now parents.
For a long time their dream of family looked unattainable Both say it’s very sad that anyone needs to resort to crowdfunding a baby, for a chance at building a healthy family in any province.
To join the conversation on social media about infertility and funding for treatments in BC. please follow along on twitter: IVF4BC and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ivf4bc/. To share your story: please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and don’t forget to visit http://www.ivf4bc.ca/