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Baby Or Bust: Infertile Couples Turn To The Web To Raise Funds For IVF

Publication Date: 
March 09, 2010
Daily Finance
Eric Wahlgren

Professor Hank Greely, a leading expert in health law and the biosciences, is quoted on possible consequences for couples who hold fundraisers for IVF treatments:

When Shelton and Brandi Koskie learned five years ago that they would need fertility treatments to have a baby, they were stunned. After all, the Koskies, who met while working at Old Navy in college, were in their early twenties, not typically an age when couples have to worry about the biological clock. Perhaps equally shocking was how much the procedures would cost: Some $20,000 out of pocket. Even though they were young professionals with good jobs, they had nowhere near that kind of cash lying around.

"There were a lot of nights that we would come home from work and sit quietly in the dark together and just cry," says Brandi, now a 28-year-old senior editor at health and weight loss company "That lasted a few days and then we said 'That's it, we're done crying.'"


Hank Greely, a biomedical ethicist at Stanford University, says couples should be aware of the consequences of fundraising for IVF. People who donate money might take an unwanted interest in the pregnancy and the child. "They might feel entitled to information that I'd rather keep private or to a relationship with a child I wouldn't like," says Greely, who is also a law professor and director of Stanford's Center for Law and Biosciences.

There is also the potential that fraudsters could pose as infertile couples. Couples sometimes go through several rounds of IVF before conceiving or giving up. "It would be a pretty easy scam to claim that 'Oops, it didn't work. We're heartbroken. Will you help us try again?" he says.