Infertility is a common issue that many couples face, regardless of age. Even a young, healthy couple with normal functioning reproductive systems has only a relatively slim -- 20% to 25% -- chance of conceiving during any given month.
Even young women, who are most fertile before the ages of 20 and 24, can experience some difficulty when trying to conceive. By the age of 40, only two in five women who wish to conceive are able to do so naturally.
However, while many couples enjoy high IVF success rates, IVF treatments can also be expensive and easily run into the thousands. Average IVF costs are typically between $10,000 and $12,000 in the United States; however, costs can run upwards of $25,000 depending on the nature of the treatment.
Therefore, some couples are turning to strangers to help cover some or all of the cost.
"It was just kind of out of necessity," said Eric Heilman. He and his wife Jillian created a GoFundMe page in hopes of raising nearly $20,000 in order to cover the cost of egg extraction as well as the medications necessary for their IVF treatment.
After several tests, doctors informed the Heilmans their chances of being able to conceive naturally were slim to nil, leaving infertility treatments as their only option. After looking into adoption, they realized that can be just as -- if not more -- costly than IVF treatments. After hearing about other couples who used crowdfunding to raise money, they decided to try it for themselves.
One in 10 couples face issues related to infertility for various reasons. In many instances, infertility procedures are their only option if they want biological children. So far, the Heilmans have raised close to $4,300 through their GoFundMe page, in addition to a charity poker tournament they organized for support.
While several states require healthy insurance policies to cover at least a portion of IVF treatments, the state the Heilmans reside in -- Washington -- is not one of them. However, legislation has been introduced to change this.