Adoption and Family,  infertility

Rachel and Brandon: Infertility to Family #abhc4ivf #abpoli

There are no words powerful enough to describe what it is, what it feels like, to wonder if you will ever get to be a family. When I think about all the years we waited, then tried to conceive, all the health care ups and downs, and misery we endured before we formed our family, I am humble, grateful, and a wee bit in awe that we eventually were chosen to be our girl’s parents. When I watch this video of Rachel and Brandon, I am reminded of that again. Whether your path to becoming a family is adoption or IVF, families sometimes need help.

I recently had an opportunity to speak to some politicians about infertility and the need to fund in vitro fertilization. The politicians asked a few questions after my speech. One said to me: “Some might ask well if you can’t afford the money to become a family, then how can you afford to RAISE a family?” I have been working as community manager for Generations of Hope, Conceivable Dreams and IVF4BC for many months now. I have been supporting families formed through adoption for 12 years. Every week I meet a new couple like Rachel and Brandon, or Danielle Xavier in Toronto, or Joanne Horibe, founder of Conceivable Dreams, or Brooke Berry, one of the brightest storytellers on the Alberta Generations of Hope Team. Every week I hear a new heart-wrenching story of families struggling to become family by IVF, who cannot afford the costs. Many work three jobs and liquidate all assets, remortgage homes to try and have a baby. Every week I hear a new story of families struggling to stay family by adoption because of the costs of raising a child with special needs. Our paths are slightly different, but each is worthy of support.

I told the politicians something to the effect of this: “I have met families that are willing to go to the ends of the earth just to become a family.” Do they make good families? They, in my opinion, often make better families because of the hardship and struggle they have endured. They will often go into debt, or remortgage houses just for the chance to have a child. The issue isn’t whether families can afford to raise a child, it’s that no family should have to start their journey with $15,000 to $50,000 debt.

In Alberta, Generations of Hope gives the gift of family. They give the gift of miracles and future and hope. Government policy makers are very often fond of stating they need partnerships and in tight fiscal times I absolutely believe that is true. In Alberta, Generations of Hope is the best example of a partner already created, ready and willing to do what it takes to support families. Now, a little help from the government would go the distance to build a healthier future for the province.

What do you think? Who bears responsibility for the price of IVF? Aren’t healthy families in everyone’s best interest for a stronger province?

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • S.K. Anthony

    I have tears in my eyes from reading this.

    I will be FOREVER GRATEFUL for IVF.

    I struggled for years with infertility. Heck, I still see pregnant women with their adorable little bumps and feel the little mosnter of envy jump inside of me. I did many rounds of Clomid and IUI’s before moving on to IVF… my very last chance AND try of becoming a mother, after 2 miscarriages this one IVF finally stuck and made my biggest dreams come true. I am now a mother of boy/girl twins and I LOVE science to the end of Universe and back. Assisted or not, they are my little miracle people. They are amazing and they are absolutely worth every single tear and $$ I ever had to drop. I am 200% a better more loving mother than I would have been if I didn’t have to go through my journey, so yes, I have to pay my debt in NY… and while it’s worth it… I pray and hope that others will have better assistance. Hugs to you and everyone else. I am a mother that is forever infertile, and I’m proud of it. I belong to a club of women who more than anything ese want to love their own little ones, what’s so wrong about that?

    • Paula Schuck

      Thank you for telling me all of that. I absolutely share your view families who start from adversity are incredibly strong and resourceful and beautiful! Congratulations on your gorgeous and very precious gifts!

  • Mom vs. the boys

    That is such a sweet story, and I think you are right. people who had to fight to start a family make really great parents. They never take it for granted.
    It just doesn’t seem fair that a couple could live their whole lives without ever becoming a family because money stood it their way. A few lucky people could uncover a couple thousand dollars in their savings, but 15 -50 thousand?? That seems pretty impossible!

  • Margarita Ibbott

    You are one of the greatest moms that I have ever met Paula. Why? Because you knew you wanted to be a mom and you have dedicated your life to helping other have the same joy that is parenthood. I congratulate you and all the organizations that you work with to make this a reality for others. Get on board Governments… wouldn’t you rather support couples like these?

    • Paula

      Thanks for saying so Margarita. When parenting day to day it’s easy to forget that these kids are a blessing even still, even as they hit teenage years and are a little harder to deal with some days. They are still a gift.

  • Brandi Yee

    Oh Paula, you always make me tear up with your posts!! Like you, people who fight to have a family that hard make the BEST parents in my opinion. They go through the struggles, the debts, and the emotions that makes them truly appreciate what they have once they obtain their family. My mom has always said, and this is true for anybody who has the passion and love to be parents, you will ALWAYS find a way, but the thing is, like you mentioned, you shouldn’t have to start that journey with so much debt. Everyone should have the chance at a family of their own! Beautiful post Paula! I still can’t believe how much money it costs and how it is expected of people to pay that much for IVF. So sad!

  • Ashley

    Infertility is something we never faced in our home and up until reading some of the posts that have been live, I’ve really never thought much about it. I think in general our health care system needs to evaluate the things we do cover/pay for and the things we don’t. It’s a great system and I’m thankful we live in a country that has good health care, but everything good has room to improve to great!

  • Jennifer Van Huss

    that politicians comment is disgusting. It’s wrong to tell a person whether or not they’re able to have a family. Finding money to support your family verses putting a huge chunk down at the beginning is a big difference. Thank you for all your hard work Paula

  • Manager to Mom

    Thank you for sharing this, and good for you speaking out to politicians on this important topic. I think the question about how one can afford to raise a family if one can’t afford IVF treatments is ignorant, as 1) IVF costs are unavoidably steep whereas there are many ways to raise a family very frugally and 2) in a lot of cases the issue is affording IVF + raising family costs, not raising family costs alone. All in all, I definitely support government assistance here and hope to see things moving in this direction.

  • Angela

    I am so touched by this story. It’s so hard to believe the expense involved with IVF and that insurance companies can get away with not covering it. But then again there are even life saving drugs that aren’t covered. It’s truly shameful.

  • Emily

    I am thankful I haven’t had to go through this, but I have friends that have… one couple that found out on Christmas Day they were finally pregnant! Generations of Hope sounds wonderful <3

  • Savvy Suburban Mama

    I heartily agree. I’m not sure what should be covered – all, part, but something should be. We were lucky enough that surgery helped us get pregnant – but I was 39 before we had our first child. Thinking it would happen if it was meant to be, then realizing it wouldn’t without intervention. I couldn’t imagine not having a family(despite what I said to others). We looked at adoption, talked about IVF and other things but man, that’s a lot of money. And money that a ‘regular’ couple wouldn’t have to pay since they didn’t need the help. it seems so unfair.
    the comment made to you – so off base. That kind of money could help care for a child for a long time covering all the basic needs. It’s not like a dog where if you can’t afford $150 for adoption and fixing it, how will you pay the food/vet bills… it’s a child and it’s a huge chunk of money that should be FOR the child’s care, not conception. So yeah, help would be good – and really, at the end of the day when technology is there, it’s proven, is it so expensive anyway. It seems wrong for someone to profit so much from helping to create life as well. if it was less expensive, more could do it, you know? same end of day profit. hmm didn’t know i could rant so much about it. Apparently I’ve stronger feelings here than I thought. 🙂

  • Brooklyn Berry

    What a great post. I feel like there is a strong working poor status in our country. We can afford our homes, bills, etc. but anything else is a huge burden. We don’t drive nice cars, or go on vacations other than a road trip to the in-laws (that is a trip, not a vacation). So, yes, you can afford to raise a child. They might not be in private schools, but they will get a great education. But the price on a child? Who could determine a value on that? Nobody asks a pregnant teen if she could afford to get pregnant, or whose responsibility it is to pay for that child.

    • Paula Schuck

      Brooke berry you are proof that our parents make some of the best examples of family, as it is intended to be – beautiful, supportive, tolerant, kind and caring building blocks of provinces and countries. Family is so important and there is no better gift than a healthy family.