Lake Charles couple wins Gift of Hope - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Lake Charles couple wins Gift of Hope

Jenean and Kirk Dugas of Lake Charles have been named this year's winner's in the Gift of Hope contest, winning a grant for in vitro fertilization.  (Source: KPLC) Jenean and Kirk Dugas of Lake Charles have been named this year's winner's in the Gift of Hope contest, winning a grant for in vitro fertilization. (Source: KPLC)

It is contest with a prize greater than anything money can buy: the chance to start a family.  A Lake Charles couple that has struggled with infertility for years now has the Gift of Hope that could finally make their dream to become parents come true.

As soon as you walk in the door of Kirk and Jenean Dugas' Lake Charles apartment, you are bound to hear laughter.  This couple loves the life they have together and they long to share it with children.

"I've always loved kids, I love interacting with kids, I've always been a kid person," said Kirk, a Lake Charles Police patrol officer.

"To have a child of my own just makes my whole family complete," said Jenean, an employee at Golden Nugget Casino-Resort.

But that road has been rocky for Jenean and Kirk, nearly three years of trying to get pregnant with no success.

"It was heartbreaking," said Kirk.  "I couldn't let her see that.  I had to be the tough guy in the situation, just like 'It will be alright, keep your head up.'"

This couple went to infertility specialist, Dr. John Storment, at Fertility Answers in Lafayette, where Jenean's medical problem was obvious.

"Both of my fallopian tubes were blocked and IVF would be the best treatment for me," she said.

IVF or in vitro fertilization would be the only way Jenean could get pregnant.  The $15,000 price tag forced them to stop saving for their first home and push that money into a baby fund.

"It was just the expense," said Jenean, "how much it cost."

Then, they learned about the "Gift of Hope" contest through Fertility Answers, a grant to be used for an IVF procedure.  

"Actually I was thinking, yeah this is a long shot, kind of like winning the lottery," said Kirk.

Still, the couple entered the contest and out of 59 entries, they, along with Margo and John Kitto of Baton Rouge, were named this year's winners.

"I started screaming and my husband was sleeping, he was like, 'What are you screaming for?' And I was like, 'We got it!'"

Amelie Storment with Fertility Answers says each couple's story pulls at your heart.  For the Dugas family, she says it was their hard-working nature and stage in life that made them stand out.

"They are your typical middle class young couple trying to get ahead in life and then they're faced with this daunting medical condition that's preventing them from having a biological child," said Storment.

Kirk and Jenean are excited the money they have saved could again go toward a first home, one that they might bring a baby to one day.

"Hopefully I'll be pregnant by the end of the year," said Jenean.

"We can continue on with our journey and look for a house somewhere and raise the child from that house," said Kirk.

This is the 11th year for the Gift of Hope.  Factors like age, medical condition, finances, and likelihood of IVF being successful are all weighed in the selection.

Kirk and Jenean Dugas hope to start the IVF process after the summer. Jenean must first undergo a medical procedure to make IVF success more likely.

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