The Family Fertility Fund of Saskatchewan held a five-kilometre walk in Saskatoon on Sunday to raise awareness about infertility.
“We’re going to bring everybody together today to support the community, spread awareness about what we’re doing and what people are going through,” said Vice President and co-founder Kelsey Connell.
According to Connell, infertility affects one in six people while one in four is affected by miscarriages.
Connell herself experienced four years of infertility before having three babies.
“The biggest thing is that you’re not alone. A lot of people are struggling right now, a lot of people feel like it’s a dirty little secret. A lot of people are not aware of the struggles other people are going through.”
The organization provides $5,000 grants for infertility treatments. Connell says treatments can cost up to $15,000-20,000.
Since the group was started in 2017, it’s given out 28 grants, helping see 14 babies delivered with four more on the way.
“It doesn’t go a long way but it certainly helps,” said Connell. “It’s also giving them the belief that we have in them, that they can have their baby.”
One of those couples the group helped was Iris Akbar and her wife Andrea Koh, who started the infertility journey in 2018.
“We had a lot of ups and downs,” said Akbar. “We had a few frozen transfers that failed.”
The couple says they depleted their savings account trying to solve their infertility. They applied for the grant in 2020.
“We became a successful recipient, and it gave us an opportunity for more fertility treatments,” said Akbar.
The couple gave birth to twins Aria Gamp and Zuir Gamp on March 1.
“It’s hard to describe the feeling when the twins were delivered. It’s an enormous joy,” she said.
The week of April 18 – 24 marks Canadian Infertility Awareness Week in Canada.