Cash-Strapped Couples Using Internet Crowdfunding To Pay For Babies

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Crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe, Indiegogo and Give Forward are usually used to raise money to fund major purchases or projects, but couples in need of cash have started using these online forums to raise money for expensive adoption procedures and fertility treatments. “Collective conception campaigns” on GoFundMe have raised nearly $1.1 million since May 2010.

In a 2011 campaign on Indiegogo, Florida couple Jessica and Sean Haley raised $8,050 from more than 130 people to pay for fertility treatments. Their 1-year-old son Landon is often referred to as the first "crowdfunded baby."

"Twenty years ago this wouldn't have happened," Jessica said. "Because of the Internet, that's why we have Landon."

Individual fertility treatments are expensive and come with no guarantee of success, so many couples simply give up on their dream of having children, The Daily Mail reported.

Brian and Ashlee Gibson were told that IUI procedures would cost between $1,500 and $2,000 per month.

“We didn't know how we could afford it,” Ashlee said. “I just remember going home and crying.”

Their friend suggested that they start a campaign on, so the couple created “Operation Baby.” They have raised $3,700 of their $10,000 goal.

In January 2012, Hank Fortener, a Los Angeles based pastor and adoption advocate, founded AdoptTogether, a nonprofit crowdfunding site devoted to adoption. The site has already raised $1 million for 300 adoptive families. Since the site’s parent organization, the Hoping Hearts Foundation, has 501(c)3 status, all donations to the site are tax deductible. AdoptTogether is run by volunteers and its expenses are paid for through separate fundraising efforts so that all the money people donate goes directly toward adoption expenses.

Sources: The Daily Mail, CNN Money