Wanting to start a family and finding out that doing so may prove physically impossible devastates many couples with dreams of one day having a full house or at least one descendant. In-vitro fertilization (IVF) helps many men with low sperm counts, women with poor egg production or those in same-sex partnerships achieve their vision of having a baby of their own.

However, such procedures don’t come cheap, and it often takes many tries before the desired results are achieved. For many low-income couples, the costs of IVF put the procedure out of financial reach. At least one charity has taken measures to cover the costs of IVF for those who cannot pay for the treatment on their own.

Charity Helps Defray Costs for Future Parents

In Vietnam, the charitable organization Uom Mam Hanh Phuc has helped parents-to-be fulfill their dream of having a child of their own. Since 2014, 86 couples have undergone IVF at the My Duc Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.

Much of the funding for the charity comes from doctors and other health care professionals who work at the hospital. Additionally, the charity receives funding from outside donors, many of whom have undergone IVF successfully themselves.

Couples seeking IVF often go through several cycles of the procedure before successfully conceiving. Many people who can afford only one or two cycles face the disappointment that the money spent did not result in a child. The hospital boasts an IVF success rate of 50 percent.

Over 600 couples have applied for the program. While over 100 have received aid to date, the charity hopes to increase funding to help more struggling couples.

In the Vietnamese culture, women face heavy pressure to procreate. When a woman fails to conceive, often her husbands’ family will pressure him to divorce her in favor of someone more fertile. The stigma causes many women severe disappointment, which this charity hopes to alleviate.

How Does IVF Work?

The process of IVS begins with stimulating the ovaries. The woman receives a series of injections to prompt her ovaries to release more eggs. The physician uses ultrasound to determine when the ovarian follicles become mature enough, at which point, the woman receives injections of a different hormone to help the eggs mature more quickly.

The second step of the IVS process involves harvesting the mature eggs via a needle and ultrasound. Once the eggs are retrieved, the doctor inspects them for maturity. If she deems the eggs are mature enough, the doctor then fertilizes them using sperm from their partner or a donor.

When one of the eggs develops into an embryo after fertilization, the woman’s doctor then implants it into her uterus. During the early stages of the pregnancy, progesterone hormones help the embryo thrive. Like any other medical procedure, women undergoing IVF often experience side effects, sometimes severe. Common ones include sore, tender breasts, rapid weight gain and changes in mood.

IVF can help those suffering from low sperm counts, blocked fallopian tubes and endometriosis. It also offers a way for same-sex couples to become parents with the help of a sperm or egg donor.

Will Other Charities Follow Suit?

Uom Mam Hanh Phuc is not the only organization that couples struggling to conceive can contact. Other charitable foundations provide grants to those wanting children but who lack the required funds. As many health insurance plans offer little to no coverage for IVF, even couples who are financially sound still can find the procedure out of reach.

Couples with a strong credit rating and solid employment history can apply for loans to help cover the cost of the procedure. While the federal government offers no grants for IVF, places like the Baby Quest Foundation and the Tinina Q. Cade Foundation do, and some states do as well.

Hope for Those Wanting Children

Couples struggling to conceive can look to IVF to achieve their dream of having a family. However, the cost of the procedure puts it out of reach for many. Hopefully soon, more charities like Uom Mam Hanh Phuc will lend a helping hand to future mothers and fathers.

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About Author

Kate Harveston covers social justice and human rights issues. She graduated with a Bachelors in English and minored in Criminal Justice, so she enjoys writing about anything related to the intersections of law, politics and culture. For more of her writing, you can visit her blog, Only Slightly Biased.

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