Mississippi Couple Welcomes Country’s First Baby from Infertility Scholarship Program

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Infertility treatment is usually uninsured and many couples have the need for financial help. INCIID offers the first and only national an in vitro fertilization (IVF) scholarship program for those who have medical and financial needs for services but who are without insurance to cover the procedures. The first IVF scholarship recipients gave birth to a baby boy on October 31, 2005.

INCIID, The InterNational Council for Infertility Information Dissemination is pleased to announce the birth of the first baby born as a result of a charitable program called From INCIID the Heart. Arriving via C-Section on Monday, October 31st, at 7:30 AM Central Time, Keenen Tey-Natey Harris, 19” long and weighing in at just under 7 pounds, was born to Shewanda and Carl Harris. The Harrises received infertility-related medical treatments through the first and only national IVF scholarship program. The program, established in the summer of 2004, provides infertility services to deserving couples who would not otherwise be able to afford them.

Shewanda and Carl Harris were one of the first couples to participate in the program. Shewanda had one miscarriage and two ectopic pregnancies. According to Dr Mory Nouriani, “Shewanda’s case was an exceptionally difficult one. Her prior surgeries had left her with one remaining ovary which had been scarred down, and we were only able to obtain 6 eggs from that remaining ovary. Despite the up-hill battle, we were elated that her cycle was successful.” Shewanda’s only hope to conceive was through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). At an average cost of more than $10,000 per attempt, IVF was financially out of reach for the Harrises.

They applied to the From INCIID the Heart program in late 2004, were selected in December and underwent In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment in February of 2005 with Dr. Mory Nouriani at the Sher Institutes for Reproductive Medicine (SIRM) in Los Angeles. SIRM and other IVF clinics regularly donate infertility services to the From INCIID the Heart program.

“I truly believe this opportunity to be both a duty and a privilege,” says Dr. Mory Nouriani. “There is no better job than helping couples who desperately want children make their dream a reality. I strongly believe that infertility doctors have an obligation to provide their specialized care to those who could not otherwise afford it.”

Shewanda’s medications, typically costing $1,500 to $5,000, were donated by Organon Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of the particular medications that she was treated with and a major contributor to the program.

The Harrises’ first cycle of IVF treatment was successful and they learned last April that they were expecting a baby. “We are so thankful to INCIID for creating this program. We knew IVF was our only hope and couldn’t bear the thought of giving up our dreams to have a baby. It was just financially out of reach for us. Holding our son Keenan this morning, after so many losses, was truly a dream come true. I just hope everyone will support this worthy and wonderful program.”

After settling into what she hoped would be a routine pregnancy, Shewanda was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. To further complicate matters, the Harrises, who live in Vicksburg, Mississippi, were displaced by Hurricane Katrina for weeks while their home was without power. Shewanda was 30 weeks pregnant at the time and had to be monitored in a neighboring city. “Thank goodness for my Babybeat,” says Harris. “Finding our son’s heartbeat whenever I needed to hear it was very soothing and helped keep us from worrying so much.”

When Nancy Hemenway, INCIID’s Executive Director was asked how she felt about the birth of Keenen, she replied, “I feel like a surrogate grandma helping birth a second generation of INCIID babies. Hemenway is co-founder and executive director of INCIID. She has a ten year old child conceived and born along with the organization almost eleven years ago. “Keenen is the first of a new generation of INCIID babies. We are putting real medical services into the hands of those struggling with infertility and pregnancy loss. I am elated and hope Keenen’s birthday is the first in a series of many more INCIID baby celebrations to come.”


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