Infertility is heartbreaking to those who long to be parents, yet struggle to conceive. It is for this re ason that a week is dedicated each year to offer hope and support to those who suffer.
National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) is April 23-29, 2017.
NIAW is a movement that began in 1989. The goal of NIAW is to raise awareness about the disease of infertility, and encourage the public to understand their reproductive health. In 2010, National Infertility Awareness Week became a federally recognized health observance by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Locally, an organization helps couples struggling with infertility and is committed to bringing more awareness to the efforts of NIAW. The Seasons of Life Fertility Foundation was founded in 2011 to help couples who have encountered a life-changing event and who suffer financial hardship receive assistance with fertility treatment. Two years later, Seasons of Life received 501 (c) (c) tax-exempt status from the IRS, which ensures its growing resources help more couples battling infertility find treatment.
According to the founder of Seasons of Life, Carole Kowalczyk, M.D. “The emotional and financial toll that fertility care takes on couples is huge. We founded this fund so that we could help couples heal body, mind and spirit.” Dr. Kowalczyk is also the medical director, reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist of the Michigan Center for Fertility and Women’s Health (MCFWH) with offices in Warren, Michigan and Lake Orion, Michigan.
Tracy (not her real name) was the first recipient of Seasons of Life. It was her story that inspired the creation of the foundation. When Dr. Kowalczyk heard her struggles, she was moved and wanted to help. Her relentless efforts resulted in the “birth” of Seasons of Life, a not-for-profit organization.
In order to qualify, candidates must have encountered a life-changing event. Financial hardship alone, although devastating, is not reason enough to qualify for support from the foundation.
Seasons of Life’s board of directors selected Beth (not her real name) as the recipient of its second fund. Beth’s story is also heart wrenching. She used all of her savings to fund fertility treatment. She carried her first pregnancy 18 weeks and then miscarried.
She lost her second pregnancy too, and shortly thereafter her husband was diagnosed with kidney cancer. All of these circumstances resonated with the board of directors of Seasons of Life and they awarded her assistance.
Both of these women have since become mothers.
To qualify for Seasons of Life assistance candidates must:
- Be able to demonstrate that the couple cannot achieve pregnancy without medical assistance.
- Submit a compelling story that explains how the couple is working to overcome a life challenged situation and why the Board of Directors should consider the request.
- Demonstrate that fertility care cannot be supported without financial support.
- Entries need to be submitted in writing to Seasons of Life by the 15th of June, September, December and March. Assistance is given each season - summer, fall and winter and spring.
More information can be found at: http://seasonsoflifefertilityfoundation.com.
Contributions to Seasons of Life Fertility Foundation are tax deductible and 100% of all donations go directly to helping overcome the heartbreaking disease of infertility. Donations can be made out to Seasons of Life and mailed to: 19678 Harper Avenue, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236.
To help generate more awareness for Seasons of Life and NIAW, in Harmony Naturals located in Warren, Michigan is giving a percentage of all sales from its organic skin care and mineral makeup line to the foundation. In Harmony Naturals has been selling all natural skin care products, including organic skin care, mineral makeup and vegan lip gloss since 2012. All of its products are free of parabens, synthetic fragrances, and dyes. It uses only nature’s best ingredients in its products. To learn more about in Harmony Naturals and how it is supporting Seasons of Life visit: http://inharmonynaturals.com
To learn more about Dr. Kowalczyk’s fertility practice, visit: http://mifertility.com
To learn more about NIAW visit: http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/home-page.html
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