IVF grant makes dream of having a baby within reach for Mississippi couple

Infertility impacts as many as one in seven Mississippi couples, and the treatment is so expensive, it’s often out of reach.But the dream of having a baby just became closer for one Mississippi couple, thanks to a grant from another Mississippi native.Matt and Sydney DeFillips thought they were going for a checkup recently at Mississippi Reproductive Medicine, but instead, they were surprised with the news that they had been selected for a $20,000 grant from the Defiantly Hopeful Foundation to cover the cost of in vitro fertilization.The couple from Cleveland, Mississippi, have weathered a lot of life changes since they married as college sweethearts five years ago.”Both of us, we’re 29, and we’ve lost our parents,” Sydney said. “I’ve lost both my parents suddenly, and I lost my mom (about) three years ago.”Sydney said her mom was the one person she confided in about their trouble conceiving. And the heartbreaking news that IVF was the only way she would be able to get pregnant.”One of the last conversations I had with her was, ‘I hope there’s a little kid running around by next Christmas,'” Sydney said. “She was always supportive. She helped us a lot.”Just a few months after her mom died, Sydney applied for an IVF grant from the Simpson family’s Defiantly Hopeful Foundation. She never imagined they would win.”You know, you just take one shot after another, so having something like this happen is pretty unbelievable,” Sydney said.”When we read their story, we all just agreed pretty quickly this was our grant recipient this round,” Allyn Ann Simpson said.Allyn Ann, a Mississippi native, started the Simpson Family Foundation with her husband after their own years’ long battle with infertility. She works with a board to select the IVF grant recipients based on their circumstances, financial and medical situation.”We had an outpouring of applications this round, and so many deserving families,” Allyn Ann said. “But this family just had a really special story with how they have handled the pandemic with loss of parents, while they have also persevered through infertility.”Erica Fitzhugh knows how the DeFillips are feeling. She won the Defiantly Hopeful grant last year and welcomed her own IVF baby, Johnnie Ann, in August.”I look at her all the time and go back to what we went through to get her here,” Erica said. “She wouldn’t be here without Allyn Ann, Dr. (Randall) Hines and (Dr.) Marty Gebhart. We wouldn’t have her.”It’s emotional, too, for the doctors at Mississippi Reproductive Medicine, who’ve treated Sydney and Erica.”You see a patient all the way through the process, from coming in for treatment, deciding they need therapy and then seeing the couple come in today with their little girl – it’s just full circle,” Gebhart said.”One of the sad realities of what we do is that it’s really expensive and not everyone can afford it,” Hines said. “The Simpson grant makes it possible for these families to come do this, and we hope will have a baby.”The DeFillips will begin their own round of IVF treatment soon, believing their parents are smiling down.”It’s something to get you out of the dark hole,” Sydney said.The Simpson family awards grants in California, where they live now, and in Mississippi, where Allyn Ann grew up. They’ll be taking applications for the next round in the summer.

Infertility impacts as many as one in seven Mississippi couples, and the treatment is so expensive, it’s often out of reach.

But the dream of having a baby just became closer for one Mississippi couple, thanks to a grant from another Mississippi native.

Matt and Sydney DeFillips thought they were going for a checkup recently at Mississippi Reproductive Medicine, but instead, they were surprised with the news that they had been selected for a $20,000 grant from the Defiantly Hopeful Foundation to cover the cost of in vitro fertilization.

WAPT

Matt and Syndey DeFillips

The couple from Cleveland, Mississippi, have weathered a lot of life changes since they married as college sweethearts five years ago.

“Both of us, we’re 29, and we’ve lost our parents,” Sydney said. “I’ve lost both my parents suddenly, and I lost my mom (about) three years ago.”

Sydney said her mom was the one person she confided in about their trouble conceiving. And the heartbreaking news that IVF was the only way she would be able to get pregnant.

“One of the last conversations I had with her was, ‘I hope there’s a little kid running around by next Christmas,'” Sydney said. “She was always supportive. She helped us a lot.”

Just a few months after her mom died, Sydney applied for an IVF grant from the Simpson family’s Defiantly Hopeful Foundation. She never imagined they would win.

“You know, you just take one shot after another, so having something like this happen is pretty unbelievable,” Sydney said.

“When we read their story, we all just agreed pretty quickly this was our grant recipient this round,” Allyn Ann Simpson said.

Allyn Ann, a Mississippi native, started the Simpson Family Foundation with her husband after their own years’ long battle with infertility. She works with a board to select the IVF grant recipients based on their circumstances, financial and medical situation.

“We had an outpouring of applications this round, and so many deserving families,” Allyn Ann said. “But this family just had a really special story with how they have handled the pandemic with loss of parents, while they have also persevered through infertility.”

Erica Fitzhugh knows how the DeFillips are feeling. She won the Defiantly Hopeful grant last year and welcomed her own IVF baby, Johnnie Ann, in August.

“I look at her all the time and go back to what we went through to get her here,” Erica said. “She wouldn’t be here without Allyn Ann, Dr. (Randall) Hines and (Dr.) Marty Gebhart. We wouldn’t have her.”

It’s emotional, too, for the doctors at Mississippi Reproductive Medicine, who’ve treated Sydney and Erica.

“You see a patient all the way through the process, from coming in for treatment, deciding they need therapy and then seeing the couple come in today with their little girl – it’s just full circle,” Gebhart said.

matt and sydney defillips and erica fitzhugh

WAPT

Erica Fitzhugh, holding Johnnie Ann, talks to Dr. Marty Gebhart with Matt and Sydney DeFillips in the background.

“One of the sad realities of what we do is that it’s really expensive and not everyone can afford it,” Hines said. “The Simpson grant makes it possible for these families to come do this, and we hope will have a baby.”

The DeFillips will begin their own round of IVF treatment soon, believing their parents are smiling down.

“It’s something to get you out of the dark hole,” Sydney said.

The Simpson family awards grants in California, where they live now, and in Mississippi, where Allyn Ann grew up. They’ll be taking applications for the next round in the summer.

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