In vitro fertilization (I.V.F.) and adopting a child are expensive ventures. They’re also dreams that many people can sympathize with — when someone tells a friend, or even a stranger, “we’re trying to have a baby” or “we’re trying to adopt,” people often just want to help. Crowdfunding — putting your hopes on a Web site that allows others to donate money to their realization — is the latest way to make that possible.I've posted before about fundraising for adoption, a topic that tends to produce strong opinions pro and con. It seems to me, though, that they're asking the wrong question at the NYT blog -- how about asking what effect fundraising for adoption has on adopted children who were the objects of those charity campaigns?
“After two long hard years of trying on our own to conceive,” Kimberly Sparkman writes at her campaign on Indiegogo.com, “we were diagnosed with infertility.” Insurance, she says, doesn’t cover the procedure, and she tells a story that will be familiar to anyone who’s been through it: tests, procedures, hope, loss and none of it free.
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For years, crowdfunding, in some form or another, has been common in the adoption world. As an adoptive parent, I’ve seen online auctions and other fund-raisers, and many Web sites have a “ChipIn” button that allows friends, family and readers to contribute. With I.V.F., too, it’s mostly friends and family — Adam, who with his wife Arielle created a campaign to pay for an adoption (they asked that I not use their last names, as the domestic adoption process is fragile), says that of the 100 donations they received in raising $6,935, only nine came from strangers. They did receive many donations from “Facebook friends” they hadn’t seen in years, “people we would not initially have thought to reach out to.”
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Would you finance your infertility procedures, or an adoption, this way? Donate to a friend’s campaign, or to a stranger’s? (There’s a kind of seductive quality to the idea of anonymously helping someone else’s dreams come true, isn’t there — like being the genie in the lamp?) Or do you find something off-putting in raising money for so personal a cause?
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