Contending with infertility tends to be something couples keep under wraps. But a couple from New York, who have been struggling to conceive for two years, have decided to handle it in a very public way and are now making international headlines as a result. Marketing director 40-year-old Deirdre Alby and her 34-year-old husband Harold have turned to the crowd-sourcing site GoFundMe to raise $32K for their "last hope" IVF session.
The couple has raised a little more than $4K in two months, which puts Deirdre and Harold even closer to being able to afford another shot at expanding their family. Hurrah! But by asking for assistance so publicly, they've also attracted very vocal critics -- like activist Jessica Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, who stands against certain fertility interventions.
Of the Albys' venture, she told the New York Post:
It’s pretty cynical and presumptuous to ask friends, family and strangers for money for crazy expensive IVF. It’s tacky and tasteless. What are they going to ask for next? The child’s private school or college fund? The whole thing operates at the Hallmark sentiment. It’s a case of, 'We want it, so give it to us now.'
How hurtful it must've been for the Albys to read that, because Lahl's take is not the case AT ALL. Harold was reportedly very resistant to the idea of using GoFundMe in the first place, Deirdre says, as he didn't want to "air their laundry publicly," but now, he's been "amazed at the kindness and generosity that people have shown." Furthermore, what Lahl or any critic of this couple's plea doesn't seem to be thinking about is how people ask friends and family -- maybe even strangers -- to help them move forward and prosper in these life milestones all the time.
How is this all that different from a wedding or baby registry? Or asking people to donate toward cord blood banking? Sure, those aren't typically set up in such a public way, but they are available for ANYONE to view online. And the general idea is that the couple is asking those who care about them to gift them. Why should asking for help, support, generosity from your loved ones only be reserved for those who are already expecting? One might even argue that by the time you're actually expecting, the parents themselves should be able to afford everything on that baby registry, because at that point, they should be fully prepared and capable of providing for that child on the way! But no, come on, who thinks that way? We "shower" the expectant parents, because we want to celebrate and support them. Same goes for those who have supported the Albys.
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No matter where you stand with finances and health insurance, the medical interventions associated with struggling to conceive can balloon to insanely costly proportions. Couples have gone bankrupt as a result. But no one PLANS to find themselves having to deal with any of this. Thus, the Albys or anyone who finds themselves in a similar position has every right to ask for help.
Best of luck and love to the Albys! With hope, all of their supporters will be able to say that not only did they give to an incredible cause, but their donations actually led to a new, precious life.
How do you feel about raising money to pay for IVF?
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