- When Anthony Rivera was diagnosed with testicular cancer, he and his wife learned that they could only have children through in vitro fertilisation, an expensive procedure the Florida couple couldn’t afford.
- On a whim, in 2017, they entered a “Win a Baby” contest hosted by a radio station, the prize being one round of IVF treatments – and the couple won.
- The Riveras gave birth to a baby boy in August.
- The cost of one round of IVF can exceed $US8,000, putting it financially out of reach for many people.
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When a radio station hosts a contest, entrants can usually expect to win a pair of tickets to a concert or a free cruise, perhaps. For one lucky couple, it meant fulfilling their dream of having a baby.
When Anthony Rivera was diagnosed with testicular cancer, he and his wife, Krista, also got another piece of devastating news: The Cape Coral, Florida couple would only be able to have children through in vitro fertilisation, an expensive procedure they couldn’t afford, FOX 4 reported. On a whim, in 2017, the husband and wife entered a contest – aptly called the “Win a Baby” contest – through radio station B103.9.
A couple won free IVF treatments through a radio station contest
The winner would walk away with funds to pay for one round of IVF treatments and related medication. It’s a testiment to how resourceful many couples desperate to have a baby have to be to cover the exorbitant fees.
The couple won the contest and welcomed their baby boy, Garrett, in August. A second couple won IVF treatments from the radio station in June.
The Riveras are now sharing their story in hopes of inspiring other couples who are struggling with infertility.
“Without the contest,” Krista told FOX 4, “we definitely would not have been able to have our dream of having a baby.”
For many families, IVF comes with crushing expenses.
The winning couple had a baby boy in August
One round of IVF treatments can cost anywhere from $US8,000 to $US30,000, said Arielle Spiegel, founder and CEO of CoFertility, an organisation that aims to educate about fertility issues. On average, patients will go through two cycles of treatments, according to FertilityIQ, another group that informs patients about IVF.
Just 10 states have an IVF mandate, which means that employers are required to offer a health insurance option that covers IVF procedures, according to CNBC. In 2017, 63% of patients said they had no insurance coverage for IVF.
“The fact that treatment is so cost prohibitive is just another roadblock on what’s an already super challenging journey,” Spiegel said.
The Riveras entered the radio contest by submitting a moving video, which detailed how they met, what Rivera went through when he was treated for testicular cancer and how eager they were to have a baby.
One round of IVF can cost as much as $US30,000
When Rivera was diagnosed, he learned that he would need to undergo chemotherapy, and as a result, would only be able to have children with assisted reproductive technologies. At the time, the couple froze Rivera’s sperm, even while knowing that they might not be able to afford IVF.
The Riveras are the anomaly though. Many families undergoing IVF often have no choice but to take on considerable debt in order to have children.
Nina McCollum spent about $US15,000 on fertility treatments, $US11,000 of which she put on a credit card. The Cleveland, Ohio mother was fortunate in that she got pregnant with her now 10-year-old son after just one cycle of treatments. But, she also noted that she may “never” be able to pay off her remaining balance.
In 2017, 63% of couples said they had no insurance coverage for IVF
“My son is the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my whole life,” McCollum said. “I’m so, so fortunate that IVF exists, and that I found a way to make that one cycle work.”
McCollum told Insider that she wishes she could have afforded to have more children through IVF.
There are now more options that help to make IVF more affordable, Spiegel said. Some prospective parents get involved trial programs, and “shared risk” programs, which will refund a patient’s money if she doesn’t have a baby. Many clinics also offer financing programs, and some grants help to cover costs too, she added.
Despite it all, Spiegel said most of her patients don’t get deterred.
“The most common feedback [we receive is] that they’d do it all over again,” Spiegel said. “The costs, the gruelling treatment, all of it-to improve their chances at having children.”
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