When a Kansas couple’s baby arrives in late April, people around the world will be able to say they played a role in making the birth a reality.
The baby’s parents, Brandi and Shelton Koskie, were floored when they learned the costs of fertility treatments they needed to have a baby. In the U.S., a single cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment costs from $10,00 to $12,000.
The Koskies learned their out of pocket costs would be about $20,000. While both were employed and had some savings, they simply didn’t have that much money. After a lot of tears and brainstorming, they decided to develop the first IVF fundraiser blog to ask friends, family and strangers for help.
In 2006 the Wichita couple launched BabyorBust.com and started chronicling their struggles with infertility and asking people for donations to pay for the fertility treatments.
"We're still young, getting started off to some extent," Shelton said in a TV interview. "And so, that is way out of our ballpark." Brandi got the idea to try cyberspace."We figured," she said, "this would be a really easy way to use the Internet as a way to reach everybody and tell our story. And by accepting donations on the site, we also thought we could blog our story, tell every detail (along the way), and hopefully educate others about infertility."
The effort was successful, and they raised almost $6,500 through the blog, along with saving up $13,000 on their own. The donation section was closed down in Feb.2010. It’s been six years since they first started trying to have a child, and now they expect to have a baby girl on April 26.
The most common question they’re asked is what advice they would offer to someone else wanting to do a similar blog. The answer is always as follows: “Don’t expect it to be the end-all, fix-all. Have a plan b. Be patient. Grow a thick skin, because not everyone will be fond of your idea. Be transparent and remember to take it one day at a time."
Brandi continues to blog their story of going from infertility to pregnancy and has every intention of recording the future chapters of parenthood.