Today we’d like to introduce you to Pamela Hirsch.
Pamela, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
In a previous career, I was the owner of a portion of a national test prep company and had nothing to do with the world of infertility. When our 28-year-old daughter and her husband tried to start a family, they encountered years of failed procedures (IVF’s that resulted in miscarriage each time.) Finally, with financial help from family, they turned to gestational surrogacy (twice) and are now parents to two daughters, ages 5 and 8.
Seeing the anguish created by infertility and understanding how expensive the treatment can be opened my eyes to the inequity in our system since most procedures are not covered by insurance. So many hardworking people are prevented from having a family because they do not have the funds to pursue fertility treatment.
Baby Quest awarded its first 2 grants in March 2012. Our awards are now up to 89 with 59 babies produced and many more on the way. We have given out over $1 million in cash and cash equivalents (negotiated doctor discounts, waived legal fees, medications.).
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
One of the most difficult tasks is to spread awareness of both infertility and of Baby Quest. Being a non-profit charity, we do not have a huge budget for advertising and public relations. We depend upon social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to reach those who are seeking financial help for fertility procedures.
Infertility has often been a subject of embarrassment, carrying a stigma for both females and males whose physical issues prevent something that should happen so naturally. It is difficult, yet important, to open up the conversation and encourage those battling infertility to speak up. Only this way, can this “condition” be recognized as a “disease” that calls for attention.
Raising funds is not easy. It is important to broaden our base and reach more who have been touched by infertility…. something that can affect the entire family.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Baby Quest – what should we know?
Baby Quest is a 501 c(3) charity that grants financial help for procedures such as egg freezing, egg and sperm donation, embryo donation, in vitro fertilization, and gestational surrogacy.
I am proud that in six years, we have awarded 89 grants and have given these recipients the chance to pursue parenthood… something that they could not achieve on their own without financial help. While we cannot guarantee the end result will be a baby, we are giving hope. There are now 59 Baby Quest babies throughout the country.
One element that differentiates Baby Quest from the very few other similar charities is our policy of inclusion. We accept applications from singles and same-sex couples as well as heterosexual couples. Several females and one male couple now have children because of Baby Quest. Another way in which we are different is that applicants do not have to fundraise for Baby Quest. We receive our “payback” in gratitude.
Some additional recognition we have achieved:
-Profiled by the Today Show (video on our website)
-Featured on The View (video on website)
-Rang opening bell at Nasdaq (photo included on photo page)
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
After witnessing our daughter’s fertility struggles, I realized how brave and determined she and her husband were.. Our family was fortunate to be able to help financially, but she became the “catalyst” and my inspiration to start the charity. I simply couldn’t imagine being a parent and not being able to help my child. To me, that would have been devastating.
Baby Quest has a Board of Directors comprised of fertility specialists, family formation attorneys, women’s health advocates, and financial advisers who actively support the organization. We have an auxiliary board in New York where we are planning an October fundraising event.
Our biggest cheerleaders are those who donate…whether it be $10 or thousands. Without donations, the grants would not exist.
Last, but certainly vital, are our tremendous group of recipients. Although they are spread across the country, I have been fortunate to meet a lot of them at “reunions.”
Ohio, Philadelphia, and southern California. These events have been opportunities for recipients, all who have struggled, to meet one another in person. There were many hugs and tears!
- Baby Quest application fee is $50. This is non-refundable.
- Address: 149 S. Barrington Ave. #112 Los Angeles, CA 90049
- Website: www.babyquestfoundation.org
- Phone: 323 206 6088
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @babyquestgrants
- Facebook: Baby Quest Foundation
- Twitter: @BabyQuestGrants