Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Life

After A Personal Struggle With Infertility, Rabbi Helps Other Jews In Same Situation

Infertility and its challenges can be hard and soul crushing. It can be a cycle of despair and hope, not to mention financially crushing. That’s why I formed Hasidah (Hebrew for stork) to provide support and financial assistance to Jewish couples in need.

I founded Hasidah after my own struggles. My husband and I went through most of the things that you read about and don’t want to imagine. Our longing for children was bottomless and had the ironic side effect of making it difficult for us to be around them. There were snide remarks about fifteen-year-olds who seemed to just pop out babies. Then there were the needles. I remember slipping into a bathroom at a party with my husband so he could give me yet another shot. It was a dark place.

But we were the lucky ones. For part of the time during treatments, my husband was a professor at a university that had full IVF benefits. This meant that for a couple of our IVF cycles, we had few out-of-pocket expenses. When we switched to a clinic in another state that didn’t take insurance, we were able to manage the huge costs.

Financial strain is one of the biggest challenges of IVF. While the average IVF cycle costs around $12,500, the actual out-of-pocket expense is closer to $24,000. Many couples undergoing fertility treatments go through extraordinary efforts to afford this chance (yes, chance – no guarantees), including taking on substantial debt. In my role at Hasidah, this hits me viscerally – the couple who moved in with their parents, the credit card debt, the mortgaged house. The fact is many Jewish singles and couples do not have babies because they cannot afford it.

It was during the fifth or sixth round that we promised to give back if we were successful. Hasidah is that promise realized. Jews are particularly prone to infertility — we are generally more educated, marry later, and are having babies later, which is linked to higher rates of infertility. However, infertility has been with us since Biblical times. The stories of Rachel and Hannah weeping with anguish to have children still play out today.

In my time at Hasidah, we have done great things. Hasidah has run multiple rounds of IVF funding, led training seminars for rabbis and rabbinical students, created a peer network for people providing fertility support, developed partnerships across the country to build awareness and provided support and referrals for many. But there are still great needs. Jewish institutions are not sensitive to issues of infertility. Most people experience these challenges alone. And for all the institutional calls to find new, innovative ways to reach out to the next generation and build a vibrant Jewish community, the funding for those experiencing fertility challenges is negligible.

In order to help, Hasidah is now running its fourth cycle of grants. Funding is available for people in the Jewish community nationwide who require IVF in order to have children and need financial assistance. The deadline for applications is Thursday, March 30 and the application can be found here.

We do not have unlimited resources, but we have to start somewhere. In a world where every Jewish young adult can go on Birthright, we don’t do enough for birthrate. We focus on outreach, yet miss the people right in front of us looking to build Jewish community. We spend so much keeping children engaged with Judaism, yet do not prioritize bringing more children in the world. It’s time for change.

Rabbi Idit Solomon is the founder and CEO of Hasidah. She resides with her husband and three (IVF) children in Berkeley, CA.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.