One in eight Americans struggles with infertility each year, but only 1/4 to 1/3 of health care insurers offers coverage for infertility treatment.
Heather Quirk and her husband tried for almost five years to expand their family.
"I guess you start it and you think, 'surely I'll be pregnant in a month or two," says Quirk. "A few months go by, I got pregnant in July of 2016, a year after we got married and I miscarried. After that it was like, we know you can get pregnant so we're not worried about it. A year goes by, two years go by and now we're like are we not timing it right is there something wrong."
She didn't want to go the in vitro fertilization route just yet. Not only would that be expensive, but it would also mean admitting she was infertile
"That's so official to me, you're infertile basically," says Quirk.
That was before Heather heard about "The Gift of Hope," which provides free IVF treatments for Louisiana couples struggling with fertility. While Heather didn't think she had a chance, she also knew she had nothing to lose.
"IVF is very expensive and we knew that there may not have been a way that we could have afforded to do such an extensive treatment," explains Quirk, saying she was shocked when the phone call came. "I swear I think I hit the floor. My coworker was in this room with me and she picked me up off the floor and hugged me. It was such a surreal moment. I called my husband and he was crying and then I had to call my mom--it was a crazy moment."
Today, Heather and her husband are the parents to a 10-month old Ann Riley.
"She is a godsend. We love that baby girl. She is loved by our whole family. She's sweet and she's chunky and just so lovable and a happy baby," says Quirk.
Dr. John Storment, Medical Director of fertility answers, and creator of the gift of hope, says he's seen the pain that so many couples go through trying to conceive.
"Before they got to me they experienced a whole lot of crying, heartache, a lot of people saying when are you having kids why haven't you have kids? They hear this everyday because their friends are having children and they're not able to. It's hard to say we are trying but we're not able to," says Storment.
For so many couples fertility is not an option. Storment says it's expensive and often times not covered by insurance.
"The success rate is not 100 percent, so despite paying all of this money... with the Gift of Hope our success rate is just about 60 percent. It's not a given in....we're just trying to give them a chance to build their family,"
Once couples decide to take that step, it's a months long process filled with appointments, injections, time away from work.
"There is a lot of commitment on the part of the patient. She is giving herself injections on a daily basis for ten to twelve days, she is coming here to have ultrasounds every third or fourth day. That's not easy. You have to take time away from work, family, and at the same time you're focusing on having a baby."
While this can seem like a gamble for so many it has been a risk they're willing to take to complete their family.
Visit this website to learn more about The Gift of Hope IVF Grant Program. The deadline to register is April 29th.