For anyone struggling to grow their family through fertility treatments, there’s no question how expensive it can be. That’s why a Saskatchewan charity is working to alleviate that financial burden.
On Sunday in an outpour of support, more than 70 people in Regina participated in the first Moving for Miracles walk to raise money for the Family Fertility Fund of Saskatchewan.
“We fundraise to raise money for fertility treatments for couples who couldn’t otherwise afford them,” vice-president Kelsey Connell said. “An average IVF cycle is over $10,000 and that doesn’t include some of the medication. Sometimes you have to do egg donations, you have to do embryo adoption and you have to get sperm donors. That doesn’t include the cost of travelling.”
Established in 2017, the fund is one of the first in Canada and has so far given away four grants to help people cover the out-of-pocket expenses associated with fertility treatments.
“You don’t expect to be told if you want a baby you need $12,000, and most people don’t have that sitting around in an account, so it’s a hard burden on people and I think it really starts to weigh on them and I think your body responds to that,” Connell said.
“It can make treatment far more difficult, knowing that your body is under this intense stress for finances and the emotional toll that comes from being told you need to do fertility treatments.”
With the only comprehensive reproductive health care facility located in Saskatoon, it means additional challenges for couples trying to conceive like the McGeoughs.
“It’s difficult with the travel and the expectations of not being able to have a child,” Matt McGeough said. “It’s been a difficult journey, but it’s brought us closer together.”
Events like this one help connect people with similar journeys and break down the stigma often associated with infertility — something one in six Canadian couples face.
“It’s pretty cool to see people who have gone through this. It’s definitely good reassurance for us that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” Matt said.
“Inspiration and hope,” Brittany added. “Because there is a great support group in the city and there are some stories that make you realize how resilient humans are and how important the support is.”
For Sarah and Joel Vanthuyne, their process was successful. And with three children, they continue to be a light for others.
“We were told that our chances of ever conceiving spontaneously was less than one per cent,” Sarah Vanthuyne said. “Even though we have babies in our arms, I don’t think it’s something that ever leaves you, because it’s such a difficult journey.”
The goal of the walk is $30,000 with more than $13,000 raised in Saskatoon on Saturday.
WATCH: Infertility Awareness Week: common misconceptions about treatment (April 21)