In honor of this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week (4/19 – 4/25), we’re doing a five-part series that highlights Resolve’s theme of ‘Changing the Conversation’. Over the past two years we’ve had conversations with people still experiencing infertility, people who have reached their end goals, people who’ve dedicated their lives to helping others, and people who are just entering this ever-expanding world of infertility.
We’re focusing these episodes on change, how our guests have changed since we last visited them, how their priorities have changed, and how their situation has changed. We hope by doing so we can do our small part to help change the conversation and enhance public understanding that infertility needs attention and to ensure others they aren’t alone in this journey.
In today’s episode, we hear from Jessica Bell — you may remember her and her husband, Robbie, as the grant recipients from Samantha and Kyle Busch Bundle of Joy Fund that were surprised on The TODAY show! Faced with an infertility diagnosis and multiple failed rounds of IUI, Jessica and Robbie applied for the financial assistance needed to pursue IVF. After being surprised by Samantha and Kyle Busch, the grant money, and a Progyny Patient Care Advocate – all on live television – Jessica began her IVF journey and is here to update us on where they are today.
Guest: Jessica Bell, Bundle of Joy Recipient
Host: Lissa Kline, LCSW, Vice President, Provider and Member Services, Progyny
To watch the surprise on the TODAY show, see here.
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Here are some highlights from this episode:
Early Challenges Conceiving
6:16 – 9:21
Jessica Bell: Honestly, like most people, when you want to start your family, you think it’s going to magically happen. It’s going to happen, you know, within at least six months, and it’s going to be easy and fantastic and romantic. And it was not.
They did an ultrasound and realize that I had cysts around my ovaries. I was diagnosed that day with PCOS.
After we had seen a specialist, I had gotten pregnant, but my numbers started dropping and they suspected it had been a chemical pregnancy. I was devastated, it really tested my strength and mental abilities so early on.
IVF, The Financial Burden, and the TODAY Show
12:36 – 24:04
Lissa Kline: At this point for the Bells, the next step was going to be IVF. Of course, getting to and through IVF isn’t only about being mentally physically and emotionally prepared. There’s a significant financial challenge for many, especially for those without fertility coverage.
But Jessica’s clinic is affiliated with an organization called the Samantha and Kyle Busch Bundle of Joy Fund. Bundle of Joy Fund is dedicated to advocating for fertility education and awareness and removing financial barriers by granting monetary awards to couples who require fertility treatments to have their own bundle of joy. Jessica and Robbie found out about the organization and decided to apply for a grant. Then, a few weeks later, they got a call from their fertility clinic.
Jessica Bell: They said, hey, National Infertility Awareness Week is coming up and we were calling to see if a few couples were interested in sharing their story on TV. They said, well, this sounds crazy, but it’s the TODAY show. I thought someone was pranking us, this can’t be real!
Lissa Kline: Fortunately, Jessica wasn’t being scammed. The TODAY show opportunity was very real. It was to happen on the Monday of National Infertility Awareness Week in April 2019. The Bells received an all-expense paid trip to New York City for the show.
Thanks to the Bundle of Joy Fund and a generous donation from Progyny, the couple received $20,000 that they could use towards an IVF cycle at Reach Fertility Clinic. They also received the services of a Progyny Patient Care Advocate who could help them through their journey.
Lissa oversees the Patient Care Advocates and the Provider Relations Team. She worked at Columbia University Medical Center for several years in the division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Involved in Patient Services and the Donor Egg Program, she loved working with patients while they underwent fertility treatment. Lissa graduated with a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University
After becoming a wife, the only title Jessica has wanted to hold is mother. A diagnosis of PCOS meant it wouldn’t be an easy road to pregnancy, but Jessica was determined. After other failed treatments, IVF was the only option but would be a financial struggle. Thanks to the Kyle and Samantha Busch Bundle of Joy Fund, Baby Bell is on his way in 2020. Jessica’s goal is now to help others struggling know they aren’t alone.
Music From This Episode:
Artist: Lee Rosevere
Track: All the Answers
Track: Easy Life
Track: Completely Lost
Track: Land of comestible people
Artist: Yakov Golman
Track: Stage 1 Level 24
Track: Talk to me