By Kevin Sabo For the Advance
One of the greatest joys in life can be having a child, but for one in six Canadian couples dealing with fertility issues kids may never enter the picture.
There are treatments available for fertility issues, however, they can be costly. A single cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF) can cost well in excess of $11,000, and fertility issues are not generally covered by health insurance or government funds.
A group based in Calgary was created in 2005 by the Regional Fertility Program (RFP) to address the high cost of fertility treatments. The group, known as Generations of Hope, has helped bring 213 babies into the world to parents with fertility issues that could not otherwise afford the high cost of treatments.
Scott and Trish Newman of Fleet, Alberta, are parents to two children that are here because of Generations of Hope. Due to fertility issues they were referred to the RFP after almost 17 years of being unable to conceive naturally.
Trish became pregnant with twins after only one cycle of IVF. Sadly, one of the twins miscarried after seven weeks. The baby that remained stayed strong throughout the rest of the pregnancy, and the miracle baby Sierra was born in August of 2008. Their family was complete, or so they thought.
While in Grade 1, Sierra came home upset that she was the only “only child” in her class. After a long discussion that evening, Scott and Trish decided it was time to try IVF again. They approached Generations of Hope again and were accepted into the program for another cycle of IVF.
Their luck didn’t hold, however, and this time they required two cycles of a frozen embryo transfer. A frozen embryo transfer is done when there are “spare” eggs after a conventional IVF cycle, such as after the first IVF cycle in the first pregnancy. The unused eggs from the first cycle are cryogenically preserved for potential future use, as is the case with Scott and Trish.
The second cycle did yield a pregnancy though, and again they were pregnant with twins. Again, there was a miscarriage at 12 weeks where one of the twins miscarried, but the remaining twin remained strong and healthy. During the process of the IVF treatments the Newman’s had made the decision to keep Sierra as involved as possible, and in September 2016 Cruz was born, much to the joy of the family of three.
While remaining quiet about needing IVF after their first pregnancy, they decided to open up about their IVF Journey to give others hope. Generations of Hope chose to honour Scott and Trish at their annual Images of Hope fundraiser in May, a gala hosted every year in Calgary. Several of the families that the group helps are so honoured every year, and this year $128,000 was raised to help those struggling financially have children.
“We are blessed with two beautiful children,” Trish said, thankful for the Generations of Hope group who helped them become parents.