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Desperate couples turn to crowdfunding to pay for invitro, adoption

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Posted at 3:01 PM, Nov 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-10 15:01:03-05

SAN ANTONIO, Tex. — Lisa and Brian Castro have the perfect painting for their nursery. Their spare bedroom in the Seguin home is piled high in hand-me-downs. What they do not have is the baby.

“Growing up, you think, it’s the dream. You get married and you have a family,” Lisa Castro told KSAT.

After seven years of marriage and finding out they were unable to conceive, the young couple put their hope in adoption.

“We’ve done all of the interview process, done all the paperwork and then, suddenly, ‘Here’s your amount. This is what you pay’,” she said.

Lisa began crafting and selling T-shirts and jewelry to try to build up the baby fund. But, adoption can cost thousands of dollars.

“I’m not one that really likes to ask for a lot of help, but there’s a time when you realize you can’t do it on your own,” said Brian Castro.

So, like a growing number of couples, they posted their story on the popular crowdfunding website gofundme.com. They shared their personal dreams and struggles and campaign to raise money with their friends through social media. Within hours they had their first donation toward their goal of $15,000.

The site is filled with an assortment of causes. The baby, kids and family category has raised $4.1 million in donations, according to Go Fund Me. More than $1 million of that is for invitro fertilization campaigns, essentially crowdfunding conception.

“I’ve always wanted to be a mom,” said Calais Newman, of Floresville.

She and her husband, Michael Newman, have been married six years and endured the heartache of a failed pregnancy. Their first IVF treatment, which cost them $13,000 out of their own pockets, failed. But, they are not giving up.

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They also posted their “Baby Newman” campaign on gofundme.com to spread the word and plea.

Calais said her husband has a lot of pride and would normally be reluctant to ask for help. But the website made it a more comfortable approach.

“If we go hitting people up, they feel obligated to help,” Michael said. “With Go Fund Me, they have the option. It’s not pressuring. So, therefore, it’s on their own free will. It shows how much they want to help.”

The couple began receiving donations right away.

“You end up with donations from people you don’t know and it’s very comforting, ” Calais said. “It takes a lot of weight off to know we are not in this alone.”

When people give to causes through such website, there are no guarantees. Consumer advocates recommend giving to people you know.

As for the Castros, donations totaling more than $1,500 came in in a matter of a few months through the power and reach of social media.

“You’ve reached America,” Lisa said. “There are so many people out there that want to help other people.”