SPECIAL REPORT: The Cost of Waiting - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

SPECIAL REPORT: The Cost of Waiting

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Women and couples are paying thousands of dollars just to start a family. 

The cost is not just in dollars and cents; it's physical and emotional. 

25 News reporter Monica Murphy dug deeper into the growing number of people seeking fertility treatment. 

Reports showed 1 in 6 couples face infertility issues and this number is only rising stated Dr. Molina Dayal of Sher Institute. She said as women wait to have children in their 30's, infertility increases. She also said 10 to 15 percent of couples have fertility problems. 

"But we are seeing over time that this number is increasing," stated Dr. Dayal.

Sarah and Brandon Fogler got married in their 20’s and waited to have children.  When they eventually tried to have kids, they had troubles.

"It's hard going around seeing everybody have children and you're being told that you can't have children and it's really upsetting,” stated Sarah.

A doctor eventually told the couple that Sarah had an ovary condition called PCOS. 

That is when Sarah and Brandon decided to try in vitro fertilization. 

"To inject your wife every night for five years with hormones and shots, it gets to where you can't even find a good place to put a shot anymore because you've given so many shots," stated Brandon. 

"And so you felt huge. You were swollen all through here," added Sarah, pointing to her stomach.

One cycle of in vitro fertilization treatment can cost between $9-12 thousand dollars and it's another $2-5 thousand dollars for medications. More and more women are turning to these treatments. 

"As women get older, the quantity of eggs declines but the quality does as well. There is a much higher chance of miscarriage as a woman gets older," stated Dr. Dayal. 

Beth and Nick Helmold were also told by a doctor that they were infertile. 

"You think you have a timeline for when you are going to start a family and have your first kid and have your second kid and all of the sudden it is out of your hands," stated Beth. 

They ended up going through multiple rounds of in vitro fertilization treatments. 

"There's a lot that goes into a treatment. Not just financially but emotionally and physically. These couples have been going through quite a bit leading up to the treatment but the treatment itself can be relatively intense," said Dr. Dayal. 

"I had to have some surgeries to try to increase the chances of success in our in vitro," said Beth. 

Beth also added, "When they took out all those eggs at once I was pretty sick. I was on bed rest for about a week. I was passing out every time I stood up." 

While both couples paid thousands of dollars out-of-pocket their insurance came through and did cover much of the cost. This is uncommon as many insurance plans will not pay for this type of treatment, although it is increasing.

"People definitely take out second mortgages and people definitely drain their savings," said Beth. 

Treatment can also impact the baby. 

"When you look at the regular population that does not require fertility treatment, the chances for these couples of having a baby with a birth defect is about three to four percent which is relatively high. And when couples go through IVF that risk is increased by 1 percent," said Dr. Dayal. 

Dr. Dayal says there is a greater than a 50 percent chance fertility treatment will work and one has about a 20 to 25 percent chance if they try to conceive a child naturally.

"I personally consider a successful treatment a live birth. It's wonderful to get someone pregnant but we really want them to go all the way to full term," stated Dr. Dayal. 

Beth and Nick had two successful cycles and today have two healthy daughters. As for the Foglers, they stopped their last cycle in 2012 without having a child and have felt devastated.

"And I remember laying in that bed crying, knowing that it was never going to be a nursery," said Sarah. 

She also added, "When you can't and try and try and it still doesn't work it's like maybe it's not in our cards to have children" 

"I absolutely understand some of the feelings. They feel not just devastated that it didn't work but they put so many resources into it," said Dr. Dayal.

Then the Foglers had a miracle!

Well, actually two miracles.

They conceived two sons naturally. The couple said they could not have even tried treatment without insurance coverage. 

No matter the outcome, both couples have some advice for other couples struggling to get pregnant—be strong together even when the journey seems hopeless. Luckily for Sarah and Brandon that nursery was put to good use after all. 

Beth currently runs a support group to help other women struggling with fertility problems. You can contact her at afloatinfertility@gmail.com 

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