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Local couple going to D.C. to ensure 'no one fights alone'

Zoe Greszler • May 14, 2019 at 10:00 PM

WILLARD — A local family is hoping to use its personal challenges to help others — at the national level.

Josh and Courtney Bauerle will be traveling to Washington D.C. to attend Infertility Advocacy Day on Capital Hill this week. The couple said they’re “so excited” to advocate for those suffering through the inability to conceive children naturally.

Courtney said they’re meeting with law makers Thursday “in hopes that one day building a family will not be so financially difficult” by asking them to support legislation that backs more affordable access to adoption, biological family-building care and fertility preservation services. Fertility preservation services helps those who may have infertility due to chemotherapy.

“Literally everyone comes from a family, has a family or knows a family so this affects us all,” she said in a Facebook post encouraging others to support the advocacy day as well. 

The couple founded a non-profit organization, JEM Infertility Foundation, after their own experiencing financially — and emotionally — burdensome battle with building their family.

The couple completed their first successful round of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in 2013, but only after several failed treatments. 

“We were fortunate that it was successful and our twin boys, Jacob and Eli, were born Feb. 1, 2014,” Courtney said. “We had one remaining embryo that was frozen until we were ready to try again. On Nov. 10, 2017 we welcomed our daughter, Mollie Grace, and suddenly our family was complete.”

The Bauerles said they were blessed to get the family they have today, but that didn’t mean the road was easy. Rather than simply complain about the process, however, the couple wants to help any future family from experiencing the same heartache and challenges that they did. 

“Josh and I married in 2009,” Courtney said. “We always wanted a big family. We started trying to get pregnant in 2011. It didn’t take long to realize that we were having problems getting pregnant.”

The process was tough for the couple to endure.

“While our infertility story has a happy ending, infertility and treatment was the most difficult thing we’ve faced,” she said. “It was emotionally, physically, financially, mentally and spiritually draining. While our journey to parenthood is over, we feel it is our duty to help other couples suffering from infertility.”

The process cost the couple about $40,000 out of pocket since most medical insurances don’t recognize the disease as a medical condition. 

“It sounds like so much (money) but we were so lucky it worked and we got the family that we wanted,” she said. “We were fortunate we didn’t go into financial ruin from it, but for some families, they don’t even seek treatment because they can’t afford it. Only about 12 percent (of those diagnosed with infertility) pursue treatment and the main reason for that is because it’s so expensive.”

Though the process and some details are still in the works, JEM exists to help couples financially through monetary grants. The non-profit is in the legal process of becoming founded, and once that happens Courtney said it intends to award $5,000 grants twice a year to help couples in their endeavors to seek treatment for their infertility. In the meantime, the group hopes to impact the thousands that struggle with having a natural pregnancy.

In addition to providing education on the organization’s social media pages and website, it also will stand as a way to offer support, helping all to know they’re not alone in this battle.

“If you are thinking you don’t know anyone struggling to get pregnant, remember that infertility affects one in eight couples who are often silent and fighting their battle alone,” Courtney said. “It is our mission to reach as many couples as possible so that no one fights alone.”

The Bauerles’ trip to Washington comes less than five days after they were featured on the HGTV show “Lakefront Bargain Hunt.”

The episode, which first aired Sunday, features the couple searching for a lakefront property in Holiday Lakes. The couple is originally from the area but had been living in Colorado.

“We’ve been wanting to come back home to raise our kids and we’ve been dreaming of living on the lake,” Josh said. He added that while the process of TV crews filming things just right could be “a little stressful” at times, it was a fun experience for the family and one they’d do again.

As the episode revealed, the Bauerles bought the Holiday Lakes home.

“This area is one that’s been hit hard, and it gets so much negativity. It was nice to give a positive light for once,” he said. 

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