Patient Resources

NCCRM in Wake Living

Lori Moscato counts her blessings. After having two healthy children within a 13-month span, she and her husband, Rob, realized their good fortune. Yet they couldn’t help but think of others struggling to conceive.

“There are people out there suffering more than we had to,” says Moscato, who underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF) before conceiving the couple’s daughter, Sophia, more than three years ago.  “I really wanted to help these people, and we were in a financial position to do so.”

The couple — who conceived son Ryan on their own shortly after Sophia was born — sent a donation to fertility expert Dr. Sameh K. Toma and the North Carolina Center for Reproductive Medicine (NCCRM) in Cary, which helped the couple conceive Sophia.  “Dr. Toma said it was enough to start a foundation to help a lot of couples, and it just started rolling from there,” Moscato says.

Since it was created in December 2008, the Pay It Forward Fertility Foundation has given grants to four area couples for fertility treatments, which typically aren’t covered by insurance. Moscato serves as co-founder and chair of the nonprofit.  “It’s very stressful to go through infertility, and finances are a huge part of that. Anything you can do to relieve stress can increase your chances of success,” she says.  “It’s heartbreaking to see people who have to delve into their retirement funds to pay for treatments,” Moscato adds. “If we can take the stress off of them so that they can enhance their well-being, then we’ve done our job.”

Strong support

After a careful review process, the organization’s nine-person board of directors selects recipients based on financial situation, medical viability and a personal essay. The board is made up of staff from area fertility clinics, as well as former patients, an attorney and an accountant, all with experience in the field of fertility.  All four of the Triangle’s fertility clinics have a presence on the board, with Toma serving as executive director. Clinics include NCCRM, Carolina Conceptions in Raleigh, Duke Fertility Center in Durham, and UNC Fertility Clinic in Chapel Hill.   “This is the first time they’ve all come together to support one cause,” Moscato says.

Clinics also donate some of their services to further offset the cost of procedures for grant recipients. Specialty pharmacies and drug companies have been cooperative as well, donating or discounting some of the ancillary medications needed for treatment. Moscato currently is working with LabCorp. to donate laboratory costs.   “It’s the last piece of the puzzle,” she says.

A helping hand

Kelly and Dave Hensor of Fuquay-Varina had undergone several treatments at NCCRM when they learned about Pay It Forward. The couple — who have been trying to conceive for the past three years — applied for a grant last fall and received the good news in late December.   “It was a great Christmas gift,” Kelly says. “It gave us hope when we had sort of run out of it.”   The couple, who had tapped into most of their financial resources by the time they applied, credits NCCRM and the organization for giving them another chance at something they’ve wanted to do for a long time.   “Dave and I have been together 10 years,” Kelly says. “It was never a question of if we’d have kids, but when.”  

A grand affair

To be able to help couples like the Hensors, the foundation hosts the Pay It Forward Fertility Gala, an annual fundraiser held at The Angus Barn in Raleigh. Last year, the gala helped bring in more than $20,000; the second annual event will be held Sept. 24. Moscato hopes to double the amount of fundraising — and consequently, the number of couples — in 2010.  Pay It Forward Fertility Foundation also hosts an educational forum in May, which Moscato calls a one-stop shop for patients like the Hensors to learn about their options for building a family.   “Dave and I were oblivious to our current situation before it happened,” Kelly says.   “We had never been through this, so we were just going through the motions, not understanding the next step,” she adds. “In that way, the organization has opened up doors for a lot of couples.”

Article couresy of: Danielle Jackson is editor of Wake Living, Fifteen501 and Triad Living magazines.

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