Two Louisiana couples given chance to build their families through Fertility Answers’ Gift of Hope IVF Grant
Margo and John Kitto of Baton Rouge, LA, and Jenean and Kirk Dugas of Lake Charles, LA, are the lucky winners of IVF grants to be used for in vitro fertilization from Louisiana fertility clinic Fertility Answers.
Both couples have been struggling with infertility for several years. For Margo and John, Margo’s ovarian cysts and stage IV endometriosis have produced so much scar tissue around her reproductive organs that pregnancy is nearly impossible. At a stage in their life when they should be raising a family, Margo has instead endured years of surgeries including the loss of one of her ovaries to the disease.
For Jenean and Kirk, their infertility is caused by combined medical issues. After learning that Jenean’s fallopian tubes were completely blocked, preventing pregnancy, they also learned that Kirk’s male factor infertility has compounded their issues with infertility. In about 40 percent of all infertility cases, the cause is a combination of problems with both partners.
Given their unique medical issues causing infertility, IVF is their best chance of pregnancy for both couples. But with an average price tag of around $15,000 per IVF cycle, the treatment cost is out of reach financially.
One in eight American couples experience the struggle of infertility. However, few insurance companies provide coverage for infertility, and, as a result, most infertility treatment costs are paid for out-of-pocket by the patient.
While Louisiana is one of only a small number of states that mandate insurance coverage for infertility, the mandate itself is full of loop-holes that work against a couple struggling with infertility. The state prohibits insurance companies from excluding coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions that result in infertility. Yet the law does not require insurers to cover fertility drugs, IVF or other assisted reproductive techniques which are often a couple’s only means of building a family.
Created to ease the high costs, both financially and emotionally of IVF, the Gift of Hope program awards infertility treatments each year to couples who demonstrate both financial and medical needs for the procedure. Since 2006, there have been 14 Louisiana couples awarded the Gift of Hope, eight of which have conceived and four babies have been born as a result, with another due in July 2016.
“We started the program as a way to help local couples undergo IVF who could not otherwise afford it,” said Dr. John Storment, founder of Fertility Answers, who, along with his wife, created the program. “Our clinic has always been community-minded, and this is another example of our commitment to furthering access to infertility healthcare in our state.”
Fertility Answers offers comprehensive treatment of infertility, including assisted reproductive technologies and in vitro fertilization, treatment of multiple pregnancy loss, endometriosis, and all other reproductive endocrine disorders.
Fertility Answers is a regional infertility health system with statewide reach, serving more than two-thirds of Louisiana in over 40 parishes. It includes two main clinical offices and state-of-the-art laboratories in Lafayette and Baton Rouge, plus satellite offices in Alexandria and Lake Charles. Fertility Answers has helped thousands of couples become parents since its inception in 2002.