MADISON, Wis. - Nearly one out of 10 people struggles with infertility. With the numbers so high, a growing number of states are making insurance companies cover infertility. Viagra, birth control and abortions are often already covered.
If you ask Mel Boyd what it would feel like to be a mother, she would instantly tell you she'd be a good parent. She and her husband, T.C., have been trying to conceive since they got married in 2011.
"When you're standing at the altar saying ‘I do', you never think you're going to go through this," Mel said.
Mel got pregnant shortly after she got married, but before the end of her first trimester, doctors couldn't find a heartbeat. She and T.C. kept trying but never got pregnant again.
"We would do ovulation tests and track and everything you want to do when you're trying to have a baby," Mel said. "Deep down, I knew something was wrong."
The Boyds started going to the Wisconsin Fertility Institute in Middleton. There, they went through a number of insemination cycles and two IVF cycles with a donor egg. Before they were set to do their last round of IVF, Dr. Elizabeth Pritts recommended they use a surrogate.
Without hesitation, Mel's youngest sister, Amy Fields, volunteered. Fields also works as a labor and delivery nurse.
"I've just seen how long they've struggled," Fields said. "And it's just my body that can give them what they want. I think it's pretty easy in my eyes."
In the end, the IVF cycle was not successful. It was heartbreaking for everyone involved, including Pritts, who also dealt with infertility.
"I did get pregnant but I was almost 42 at the time and the fetus inside of me was absolutely not normal. One of my patients said, ‘Do you want to win the game of infertility or do you want to be a mom? And at that point, I said, ‘I want to be a mom.' We got our daughters seven years ago when they were 5 and 8.
In the meantime, Pritts continues to fight for insurance coverage for her patients. She and her husband and clinic partner, David Olive, have tried to work with the Wisconsin Medical Society and the Dane County Medical Society to lobby for infertility coverage, which is something at least eight states in the country mandate.
In fact, Pritts often sends people to Illinois, where people can pay as little as $1,000 for an IVF cycle that could cost $10,000.
When it came to finances for the Boyds, they borrowed and saved money. Eventually, they got a scholarship from BabyQuest, a foundation that awards grants for fertility treatments. BabyQuest paid for many of the fees related to surrogacy, though the transfer failed.
[READ ‘Inconceivable' a book that gives 50 percent of profits to BabyQuest]
The Boyds are still trying to move past their last attempt to conceive.
"For me really, I had to go through all of these steps to know that the next step is the right step," Mel said. "I had to try to give him [TC] a biological child."
One might think the news would lead to uncertainty, but for the Boyds it's made them very clear on their future.
"We should be parents, like, we'd be great parents," Mel said. "God really tested us, like maybe we're not supposed to be but we will be."
After exhausting many of their resources, the Boyds have now set up a GoFundMe account to help with the adoption process.
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