Nest Egg Foundation Helps Infertile Families Grow

About 1/8 of all couples have infertility issues.

Only half of those have insurance coverage to try to become pregnant.

And of those who do, many face strict financial limits. Becoming pregnant can cost up to $20,000.

Dr. Mark Leondires

Dr. Mark Leondires knows those issues well. As medical director and partner in reproductive endocrinology at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut, he sees them every day.

Now he’s doing something about it.

With a group of local residents — some medical professionals, others in finance and law; 4 from Westport, 1 from Weston — he’s formed the Nest Egg Foundation.

It’s a brilliant name — and a wonderful concept.

Each year, the non-profit provides $10,000 grants for in vitro fertilization treatment to people who have been unable to start their families due to financial needs.

There’s no guarantee of success in the infertility field. But the Nest Egg Foundation’s success is clear. Last year, they gave 4 grants. Three of those women are already pregnant. The 4th is getting ready to try.

It’s a rigorous process — and that refers to the selection, as well as the treatment. Applicants are vetted by a retired OB/GYN, a psychologist and a CPA.

“This is not about giving money,” Leondires notes. “It’s about giving the opportunity to try to get pregnant. My heart breaks for these people. If people want to have a child, money should not be a barrier to try.”

“Everyone thinks everybody around here can afford everything. That’s not true. A lot of our neighbors can’t.”

He adds, “In some ways, I have the best job in the world. People always send me pictures of their babies. But in some ways, this is the most challenging, because of all the people who can’t.”

The Nest Egg Foundation began when Leondires realized that although RMACT provided financial assistance to clients, it had no clear process for deciding who to help.

Now the aid is more consistent, more clearly defined — and out of the hand of the physicians themselves.

Though it’s professionally run, the Nest Egg Foundation relies entirely on volunteers. Miggs Burroughs donated the logo; others — including many from Westport — offer free legal and PR help.

Many people find the organization through RMACT’s website. “If you’re dealing with infertility, you spend a lot of time on the internet looking for information,” Leondires says.

Others hear of it through social media, or word of mouth.

Of course, the Nest Egg Foundation needs its own nest egg. Money comes from donations, board members and fundraising events like last month’s “Birdies for Charity” golf tournament.

Many worthy causes ask for money. Leondires is proud to be one of them.

“Becoming pregnant can change people’s lives,” he says. “The chance to try gives us the chutzpah to keep asking.”

(For more information on the Nest Egg Foundation, click here. To donate, click here.)

5 responses to “Nest Egg Foundation Helps Infertile Families Grow

  1. “Becoming pregnant can cost up to $20,000.” You have got to be kidding with that false statement. IVF and DEIVF is a) not a guarantee (it only works 30% of the time worldwide) and couples can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars trying. We spent 60K on 6 tries at DEIVF with a proven donor only to see failure and Miscarriage. So please don’t make false and misleading statements about treatments, their costs, or success rates.

  2. Elizabeth Thibault

    Infertility is an equal opportunity problem, but this will help those who have trouble getting over that initial hurdle. We were lucky to have insurance coverage that would help us, and even with that, we would have looked at a $15k out-of-pocket bill for an initial round of IVF. This may not be the fairy godmother that will wave a magic wand and cover every little thing for several cycles, but it’s a good start to helping potential-parents get over that initial hurdle. Thank you to these individuals on behalf of anyone who might have a need for assistance.

  3. Nest Egg Foundation

    You are right, there is no guarantee of success following IVF and fertility treatment and we agree with you that fertility treatment is really expensive. Your comment about your experience is precisely the reason why we created Nest Egg Foundation, Inc. in the first place. We really do understand how difficult and exhausting going through infertility treatment can be. Some of us have been through it ourselves. We have worked very hard to establish a medical criteria and a network of IVF Centers to help give grant recipients the best opportunity to start their families. For those interested in looking at pregnancy rates more carefully, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART) maintains data for over 90% of the nation’s fertility centers. These rates are published nationally at http://www.sart.org. Again, we are trying to help those who need financial assistance to help start their family.

  4. I believe the intended statement may have been that a round of IVF can cost $20,000. Despite 4% odds due to producing few eggs, we got pregnant (at RMA of NY) with our first cycle. But really, the squabbling over cost misses the point of this article. Nest Egg is giving people a chance to have miracle babies through treatment they otherwise could not afford. The founders of Nest Egg are donating huge amounts of time to help bless families with the biggest gift anyone can give. Kudos to them! They are changing lives in the best possible way. As someone who has felt the helplessness and panic of wondering if I would ever have a family, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone at Nest Egg for their worthy mission. And thanks to Dan for giving them much deserved press.

  5. Valerie DiPrato

    Dan, Thanks for highlighting this worthy cause.
    Dr. Leondires creates miracles from science every single day. Yes, it is expensive and yes, more families should have access to fertility procedures. Congratulations to Dr. Leondires and RMACT – to not only recognize the need but to put their own muscle behind it by providing $10,000 grants to qualifying families. In addition to the meaningful amount of financial assistance, these deserving families have an opportunity to be cared for by RMACT. Three out of three grant pregnancies so far is an amazing success ratio – that is the real prize!