LOUISIANA (KPLC) - One couple facing medical and financial roadblocks to having a baby will receive a grant for a free cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF) through a program called the Gift of Hope.
Eligibility requires that couples earn less than $100,000 per year, have no insurance coverage for infertility, and that IVF is medically necessary to conceive.
Applications are open to couples in Louisiana and are available to download from FertilityAnswers.com. The deadline to apply is June 21, 2018.
One in eight American couples struggle with infertility each year, yet only a quarter of healthcare insurers offer coverage for infertility treatment. While Louisiana law prohibits the exclusion of insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of infertility, it does not require insurers to cover fertility drugs, IVF or other assisted reproductive techniques. This leaves the vast majority of couples struggling with infertility not covered by insurance.
"We started the program as a way to help Louisiana couples undergo IVF who could not otherwise afford it," said Dr. John Storment, medical director at Fertility Answers.
"So many couples we see with difficulties conceiving need this procedure to build their families. But because the cost is so high and very few insurance policies cover it, low-income earning couples often have to put off building their families. We feel strongly that all couples should have the chance to build their families, no matter their financial situation or insurance coverage."
Gift of Hope donors include Dr. John Storment and Dr. Susan Conway, infertility specialists at Fertility Answers, Women's & Children's Hospital, Sheridan Healthcare, and Louisiana Anesthesiology.
Since 2006, there have been 16 Louisiana couples chosen for the Gift of Hope, eight of which conceived and five babies have been born as a result.
The combined value of donated services for a Gift of Hope IVF treatment cycle is estimated at $15,000.
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, routine gynecologic care and menopause management.