My husband and I started trying to conceive right away after our July 2009 wedding due to my severe case of uterine fibroids. We jumped right into fertility treatments after an initial surgery to remove the fibroids. It has now been almost two years. I have undergone two more surgeries and we have had 4 failed IVF cycles. Upon the recommendation of our Reproductive Endocrinologist, Dr. Angie Beltsos, of Fertility Centers of Illinois(FCI), we decided to pursue gestational surrogacy as a way to bring our biological child into our family.
This was not a decision that we took lightly. I still remember the time period between our third and fourth IVF cycle when we started to look into surrogacy in case it became our "plan B". We met with an Infertility Consultant named Mindy Berkson, of Lotus Blossom Consulting. I will never forget that day. As we rode down the elevator from her office, my husband said that there was no way we could ever afford this. I remember crying the entire drive home. I knew it would be an expensive process. It can range between $60,000-$100,000, but I wanted and needed to find a way to make it work. Throughout the course of our fourth and final IVF cycle, my husband and I grew closer than ever and talked a lot about "plan B" We came to the agreement that we would figure out a way to pay for the surrogacy process.
When our final IVF cycle was not successful, I immediately began researching financial assistance for family building. In all of my Internet searching, I found that there are some varying options for couples without insurance or those that choose adoption, but nothing for couples that choose to build their family through surrogacy. I did, however; come across an event called Birdies for Babies that FCI had sponsored the previous year. Birdies for Babies is an annual golf outing that was started by Todd and Melissa Trader to raise money for a couple that has to pay out-of-pocket for fertility treatments. I immediately contacted the Traders to find out if this event might be able to help us raise money for the surrogacy process.
One thing that I have come to learn throughout this journey is that the infertility community is very inclusive and supportive to all. The Traders were no exception. After several emails back and forth sharing our fertility journeys, we realized that we did not qualify for the annual outing. However, the Traders said that they would be happy to help us plan our own golf outing. Since both of them are in the golf business, they would be able to guide us and give us the tools necessary to plan a successful event. And so the July Charity Birdies for Babies Golf Outing was born.
The past two months have been occupied by sending out fliers, sponsorship letters and donation requests. My husband and I have been truly overwhelmed by the amount of support and positive feedback we have received thus far. So many people (family, friends and complete strangers) have stepped up to the plate to help us gain support and spread the word. Throughout the course of our fundraising efforts, I have made some wonderful new connections with the doctors at FCI. Dr. Beltsos has been supportive from the moment she found out that we were going to have our own golf outing. She is helping us with the planning and promoting of our event. Another doctor at FCI, Eve Feinberg, who I have recently gotten to know is running a half marathon in June and has offered to dedicate her run to us and use her race to fundraise for our cause. You can visit her fundraising site at http://evefeinberg.chipin.com/katie-and-greg-obrien.
It is amazing to see the support that those around you are able to give when they are called upon. It truly will take a village to bring our child into the world.