When David and Jennifer Bross married in June of 2013, they were excited and eager to begin their next chapter: A family. A month later they sat at the Institute for Reproductive Health for a consultation. However, they learned that both David and Jennifer were diagnosed with male and female factor infertility. It meant that the possibility of conceiving a child naturally was practically zero.
The Brosses did not let that stop them, and began their journey with in vitro fertilization (IVF). Fortunately, Jennifer’s employer was based in Illinois where it is mandated by state law to provide infertility coverage and that included IVF. After multiple failed rounds, they were successfully able to conceive their twins, Violet and Logan.
Throughout their journey, the Brosses met other couples who not only were experiencing the emotional turmoil, but the financial as well. David and Jennifer knew they wanted to find a way to give back, so they began by donating their last two remaining embryos to another family in need. After doing this, David and Jennifer realized that Cincinnati needed a nonprofit designed to advocate, support, and be a resource for families battling infertility. So, on January 29th, 2016 they began Parental Hope, and will celebrate their fifth anniversary this month by awarding five Family Building Grants.
The Brosses set out with their mission “To help alleviate the gap in financial support for couples who lack infertility coverage through insurance. To provide HOPE to the 1 in 8 this disease affects. The burdens imposed on a couple battling infertility are enormous. Because infertility is a little-known and often misunderstood disease, those diagnosed with infertility can feel isolated and alone. Our organization was formed to break the stigma often associated with infertility all while creating families.”
They succeed by offering the Parental Hope Family Grant to families in need, as well as support groups to help guide them through this emotional journey. Parental Hope keeps it simple to qualify, too. You just have to be a U.S. citizen, have an infertility diagnosis, and demonstrate a financial need for assistance. So far, they have awarded 49 grants that have resulted in 20 babies, with 7 more on the way.
“I am incredibly proud of what our small, but mighty organization has accomplished,” Jennifer says. “We truly are changing lives one grant at a time.”
One couple, Nicole and Christian, stands out to her. They met in middle school, but as life does, it took them until after high school and a deployment for Christian before they could be together. Once they were, they got married and eleven years later began to seriously talk about starting a family. Yet, after a routine mammogram, Nicole was diagnosed with breast cancer. Devastated at the news and having to put their plans for a family on hold, Nicole bravely went into her battle.
And she won it. With a clean bill of health, Nicole and Christian tried to start their family again, but were told that they had a very slim chance of conceiving without the help of IVF.
That’s when Parental Hope came to the rescue. Nicole and Christian were the very first grant recipients and it resulted in a son who will be three in February.
When Nicole and Christian found out they had won the grant they were beside themselves, sharing: “Words cannot express how truly grateful we are for the Parental Hope Family Grant. Our journey with cancer has given us an awareness to not take anything for granted; particularly something as precious as life. Parental Hope has filled us with a hope and optimism for our future.”
Parental Hope wants to award 15 more grants in 2021, and is hosting a virtual benefit on April 22nd. They could use both silent and live auction items, as well as monetary donations.