Disabled vet needs IVF for wife


This is so very hard for us to do. Since Geoff became paralyzed and started using a wheelchair over 25 years ago, he has had to become used to asking for assistance with some physical tasks from time to time. But it's never easy for him or us to rely on others. We also feel a little strange to be so publicly candid about our fertility journey, but hey, perhaps this will raise awareness and help others struggling like us. A friend recommended this site and while it feels almost embarrassing, the longing to complete our family has overcome our pride and we feel desperate to reach out for any assistance. This is our last chance to make our family whole so, here we go:

When we got married in 2002 we knew we would have at least two children, if not more. We always were aware we would need some type of fertility assistance due to Geoff's spinal cord injury but as many know the process can take a long time to even get set up. Plus, life happens and as our careers blossomed we tried to figure it all out during two costly national moves. Finally, we discovered a great fertility clinic, Shady Grove, and started the process in 2007. Our hopes were crushed many times after three failed IUIs, including one devastating miscarriage. After reviewing our chances with our fertility doctor, the realization that we just couldn't afford to spend years trying to conceive hit us hard. Our doctor mentioned a promising procedure they have much success with "“ IVF Shared Risk program. In 2008 we were blessed with a pregnancy after the first try with this procedure. Our hearts have been filled with laughter, love and so much joy watching Ethan grow and learn. He is the center of our world and is such a happy, intelligent child. We both have grown for the best through parenting and we know we have so much more love to give.

But watching our finances shrink and die has not been pleasant. In 2010 we tried IVF with our last frozen embryo without success. We now have to start over from the beginning with a new program. We had paid for all our treatments, over $37,000, via a loan and personal money here and there, and the state-to-state moves, two mortgages, job changes, etc:.it has all maxed us out. And yes, insurance does not cover any part of IVF for us.

Dealing with infertility is already a huge struggle in itself. Realizing you can't afford to overcome it leaves such a powerless, empty shadow in your heart. Bringing a sibling for Ethan into our lives feels so right but seems so far out of reach and the hopelessness is a daily struggle. We delayed our decision as we contemplated whether to move forward financially. But how do you just walk away from yearning for more love and laughter in your life? We've finally come to terms with the fact that this is not like buying a material item:it's a child we want to cuddle and love and a family we want to build and nurture for the rest of our lives. We don't have time to save up and we know with our ages this is the last time we will do this. While we both feel young and totally capable of keeping up with many little pitter pattering feet in our home, Heather is 45, Geoff is 47, and we don't plan on doing this anymore in the next couple years. This is it:

Some of you probably are thinking, why not adoption: The truth is, adoption takes longer than fertility treatments and can be MORE expensive. Plus, there is no guarantee you get a child and when. Yes, with pregnancy there really isn't a guarantee. But the program we do "“ Shared Risk "“ has a reimbursement guarantee. The In Vitro procedure will be $19,500, the donor treatments $5,000, other procedures and medications will be around $4,000. (Unfortunately, we will need to replenish the $5,000 and $4,000 with every new fresh donor egg cycle.) Of that, Shady Grove reimburses the $19,500 if we do not go home with a baby after 6 cycles of IVF. And we can cancel the program anytime and get the money back. With our past success in this program, we are pretty confident it will happen for us. If, by chance, we do not end up pregnant and are reimbursed, we will most likely consider putting the money towards fostering or adoption, depending on our financial situation at the time.

We do not necessarily expect to reach our total goal as we know it is tremendous. Of course, we completely understand not everyone can afford to give so please know this is not a plea filled with expectations. Another way to help us is spread the word "“ send a link to this page to any and all you know. We cannot say enough how much we appreciate your consideration. Giving is something we would rather be able to do for others. But if we have the chance, we will be able to do just that - give an abundance of love to another little one for the rest of our lives.
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Heather Hopkins 
Fredericksburg, VA
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