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More Couples Turning To Crowdfunding To Help Start Families

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Crowdfunding is trending. There's no denying that, but more and more couples are now using crowdfunding to help pay for in vitro fertilization, or IVF.

Steven and Bridgette Barchanowicz of West Mifflin, are one of those couples. Their road to get them to this point has been a devastating and heartbreaking one.

Four years ago, they decided to start their family.

Bridget was elated when she found out she was pregnant, but two months into the pregnancy was doubled over in pain.

"She got rushed to the hospital from work and found out, we then found out what an ectopic pregnancy was," Steven told KDKA's Heather Abraham.

The embryo had attached to her fallopian tube. Bridgette turned to a specialist to learn more about her options and chances of another ectopic pregnancy.

"Through the test, they could see the left tube was blocked, so of course get rid of that one," Bridgette said. "And being that the right side was clubbed at the end, she gave me a 20 percent chance of having another ectopic in that tube."

Bridgette was left with just her right tube and a 20 percent chance of another ectopic pregnancy. In September 2014, Bridgette found out she was pregnant again but she could only celebrate for a matter of hours.

"The pain started again and I started my whole denial process, like it can't happen again," she said.

This time, her remaining tube ruptured and she was rushed into emergency surgery.

"She's been through the ringer. Two ectopic pregnancies, lost both tubes, the ability to have her kids," said Steven.

Infertility specialist, Dr. Joseph Sanfilippo, at UPMC Magee says overall regarding all pregnancies, the chance of an ectopic pregnancy is 20 per 1,000 pregnancies, according to the CDC.

He also says the chance of a repeat ectopic varies based on patient history, but overall is 11 percent.

With the inability to now have children on her own, Bridgette and Steven are looking at IVF. It comes with a hefty price tag - anywhere between $15,000 to $30,000. Some states, like our neighbors in West Virginia and Ohio, have some sort of insurance coverage for infertility treatments, but Pennsylvania does not.

"It would have been easy to give up. It's hard to ask for help," Steven said. "We're asking for help, so that we can have a chance at something that a lot of people take for granted."

They now have a GoFundMe page set up, in hopes of raising $17,000.

GoFundMe reports that from 2011-14 there was a major increase in donations to people seeking funding for IVF, with almost $1.5 million donated between that timeframe.

For more information on how you can help, you can find Steven and Bridgette's page here:

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