I’m thrilled to introduce another amazing addition to our Communities We Love! The Baby Quest Foundation provides financial assistance to those who want to grow their families but can’t afford the costs of procedures such as IVF, gestational surrogacy, egg and sperm donation, egg freezing and embryo donation. I spoke with Baby Quest’s inspirational founder, Pamela Cohen Hirsch on what led her to create the Foundation and how rewarding it must be to change (and help create!) the lives of so many. Without further ado, here’s Baby Quest’s story, how their recipient selection process works, and how they’re helping so many intended parents grow their families.
Baby Quest Founder Pamela Cohen Hirsch with grant recipients on either side!
1. As your website states ‘The high cost of fertility treatments shouldn’t come in the way of becoming a parent’. Baby Quest is a wonderful organization that provides financial support – through grants – for fertility treatments for those who cannot afford the costs of the entire journey on their own. We’d love to hear your story – what inspired you to create Baby Quest?
Like most non-profit charities, Baby Quest was “born” because of a personal issue. I witnessed the struggles of our 28 year old daughter and her husband….Clomid, IUI’s, four IVF’s each initially successful then ending in miscarriage….years of disappointment. Our family was fortunate to be able to support the couple financially to pursue surrogacy. Discovering how costly it is to undergo IVF, surrogacy, and anything associated with assisted reproduction made me realize the necessity for a charity to address the condition… often ignored.
2. For the last decade, you’ve built an incredible community of grant recipients. How many intended parents have you helped so far and do they stay in touch over the years?
Since March 2012, Baby Quest has awarded 140 grants totaling over $2.2 million in cash and cash equivalents (negotiated doctor discounts, complimentary medications, waived legal fees.) The majority of the recipients communicate on a private Facebook group we have created. Many have formed strong, yet long distance friendships, because of their common experiences with infertility. I enjoy hearing from each of them and look forward to seeing how their babies grow up.
The adorable Baby Quest Foundation babies!
3. What are the key prerequisites an intended parent needs in order to successfully apply for a Baby Quest grant?
Baby Quest accepts applications from permanent residents of the U.S…. heterosexual and same sex couples and singles. We look for those who are hard working, yet lack the ability to pursue treatment because of the high costs involved. Many applicants have devastated their savings on failed procedures. Others have never been able to schedule treatment beyond a consultation. All applications are thoroughly reviewed as we look at the total profile… educational, professional, financial, medical. Selecting recipients is the most difficult aspect of Baby Quest. There are simply too many deserving applicants and not enough funds to go around.
4. What is it like to make that exciting phone call to a grant recipient informing them they’ve been selected?
I’ve been fortunate to have made so many of those calls, I sometimes forget what an important moment it is for the recipient. Over and over, I’ve heard them talk about how that call changed their lives. It is truly humbling to know what an impact Baby Quest has made. Often I’m so overcome when the couple cries and I, honestly, feel it’s contagious!
So much to be grateful for – including cute onesies!
5. Finally, what advice would you give to intended parents on GoStork – who are just beginning their family building journey?
Do your Research and Be Prepared! Having a “fund” put aside for a wedding or a house is “normal.” How many young couples think about a fund to have a child… to pay for assisted reproduction? Infertility does not discriminate and it certainly can be a surprise after trying naturally to become pregnant, only to find out that you are the one in eight women who need help to conceive (and it could be a male factor issue as well!). If you fall into the “I need help” category, it’s important to do your homework. Make sure you are seeing a reputable specialist. Use the word of mouth of friends. Check the many “rating” sites online. Ask questions…don’t be shy. Make a plan. Don’t let the diagnosis rule you.If that means researching financial help… go for it. Today, as opposed to years ago, infertility is not a stigma or an embarrassment. Share and be open. You will find out that you are not alone.
Exactly! Thank you, Pamela, for this great advice but also for all that you’re doing to help so many along their path to parenthood! Intended parents, find out more about the Baby Quest Foundation here, and learn more about options for financing your fertility journey, here.