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‘I have no shame at this point.’ Woman panhandles to pay for in vitro fertilization

Jessica Gale of Springville, Utah, has taken up panhandling to try to raise money for in vitro fertilization treatments.
Jessica Gale of Springville, Utah, has taken up panhandling to try to raise money for in vitro fertilization treatments. KSL

Jessica Gale works two jobs and has a YouCaring online fundraising account, but she can’t raise enough money for in vitro fertilization in her quest to have a baby.

So the Springville, Utah, woman has taken up panhandling on street corners, holding a sign that reads, “NEED HELP 4 INVITRO,” reports KTRK. Gale told the station that she and her husband have been trying to conceive for 13 years, but he has a genetic condition that makes natural conception difficult.

Gale works at a hair salon and as a school custodian but says in vitro fertilization will cost from $800 to $1,000 a month, KSL reports. She says most of her income goes to pay for medication for her husband, leaving little for fertilization efforts.

“I actually never thought I’d be standing on a corner asking for money,” Gale told KSL. “I have no shame at this point. I’m not embarrassed.”

Gale told the station that she’s done yard sales and fundraisers and will do “just about anything” to have a baby.

“You know, you do what you have to do to make it happen,” Gale told KSL. “Rain, snow and tornado: We’re just going to do it.”

A YouCaring online fundraising page has collected $6,900 of the couple’s $19,000 goal toward in vitro fertilization. “We long to be parents more than anything in the world and have worked hard to get to where we are at now,” Gale wrote on the page.

Gale pledges on the page to shave her head and donate the money to wigs4kids.org if she raises enough money for the in vitro fertilization treatments. “If you have even have one extra dollar, please consider donating to make Baby Gale a reality, little by little makes a little a lot,” she wrote.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that about 6 percent of married women between ages 15 and 44 in the U.S. are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying. And 12 percent have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term regardless of marital status. About 35 percent of couples with infertility involve issues with both the man and the woman, and in 8 percent a male factor is the only identifiable cause, the CDC reports.

About 85,000 women in the U.S. undergo in vitro fertilization each year, according to Forbes. Treatments can cost up to $20,000 per round, including medications. In vitro fertilization treatments have a 40 percent success rate, the publication reported.

Dr. Cynthia Austin, MD, a Fertility Expert at Cleveland Clinic, separates the fact from fiction about IVF, starting with eggs.

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