-- After four years of disappointment, Ben and Kate Lundquist's best chance of growing their family was in vitro fertilization.
But the treatment is expensive. “We were looking at about $17,000 total. That is all out of pocket,” Kate told ABC News.
Required to pay the full amount upfront, Ben, a full-time student, and Kate, an executive assistant, were going to be stretched thin. So they turned to a growing option for many looking for help paying medical costs: crowdfunding.
According to the CDC, one in eight couples faces infertility. According to RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, a single cycle of IVF can cost between $12,000 to $20,000. While some insurance companies do cover a portion, many do not, so people are getting creative.
The Lundquists, of Salt Lake City, Utah, posted a fundraising campaign on YouCaring to spread the word to friends and family who wanted to contribute to their pregnancy efforts.
“I really felt that if we didn’t ask others for help, that we would not have the opportunity to have kids,” said Ben.
YouCaring, which says 50 percent of its fundraising campaigns are dedicated to medical needs, has seen the number of fertility-related campaigns grow steadily.
GoFundMe, another crowdfunding website, says at least 1,700 IVF campaigns have raised more than $3 million so far.
But no matter how you’re planning to pay, experts say advancements in science have helped the bottom line.
“Far less spending is done today in certain cases than years ago because we can achieve pregnancies with fewer cycles,” Dr. Daniel E. Stein, the director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York, explained.
In just three months, Kate and Ben raised $4,100 from 33 people who are mostly friends and family. At age 38, Kate says it allowed them to put “operation baby” into action quickly and kept them from maxing out their credit cards.
In March, Ben and Kate found out they are having twins. They're thankful to the fundraising campaign for helping them to raise the money they needed. “It motivated us to keep going and to realize people supported us and trusted us to have these children,” said Kate.