When walking up to the front door to the home of Cher Kimbrough and her domestic partner, Samuel, the character of the home is immediately noted. There's a modest garden the two created together and even a rooster named Dexter who doesn't hesitate to make his presence known. According to Kimbrough, the house was built in 1910 and remained the only home on the block for 20 years. It's a home, housing the two in addition to their longing for a child, which the couple has been trying for since November of 2011.
"I've been invited into this club that I never asked to be in," Kimbrough said. "And I'm telling you, the roller coaster is a mess."
Having been trying for a child for so long, the two decided it was time to dig deeper and have tests done to determine why it wasn't working.
"We were sent to a fertility specialist and nobody wants to hear that at all because all you hear is dollar signs," Kimbrough said.
And what began as a way to raise the funds needed to help start Kimbrough's family, quickly turned into the creation of Create My Family, a nonprofit that recognizes the many ways that a family can be created in both heterosexual and same-sex couples.
"My vision for it is that it will be a nonprofit organization that helps grant wishes for some of these struggling couples, like us," Kimbrough said.
Though the couple will be the first benefactors of Create My Family, Kimbrough's vision is to be able to help raise money for four couples a year to help get them pregnant and start their family.
The process isn't easy on the mind or the wallet. The in vitro fertilization alone is $15,000, which is a one-time session that isn't even a guaranteed success. However, for an added precaution and an additional $5,000, couples are able to purchase the insurance, which provides an additional three chances to try and fertilize the egg.
What's worse? According to Kimbrough, Indiana is one of 35 states that doesn't offer a mandate for infertility insurance coverage, meaning the procedures are being paid for in full by the couples. Kimbrough also added that the procedure is actually considered "cosmetic."
The lack of support from the state has only prompted another mission for Create My Family in addition to help raising funds for families. Kimbrough has created a petition and has been speaking with state representatives to help make Indiana the 16th state to mandate companies to cover adoption and fertility treatments.
"If we have this state mandate in place it would be, 'You don't have an option. You have to cover these treatments for these couples,'" Kimbrough said.
According to Kimbrough, one in eight couples struggles with infertility.
"It's the loss of an assumed future," Kimbrough said.
It's the emotional roller coaster of assuming the option to have children is always there and then realizing that nature isn't in your favor.
"I'm newly starting this conversation in Indiana," Kimbrough said. "Nobody is talking about it right now. It's very personal. It's very private. So people don't really want to speak of it. So the women that are going through this are going through it very privately."
The couples that are struggling with infertility are likely doing so alone and Kimbrough is working to start the conversation to weave a supportive web for this community. Kimbrough admits it's an uncomfortable position to be in. However, she realized the necessity in coming out of her "infertility closet," as she refers to it, in order to help raise the funds for the in vitro.
She sees value in gaining awareness so people are able to be more conscious about what they say around other people. Kimbrough said that you could be working with someone who's struggling with infertility and not even realize it.
And to help kick start those conversations, Kimbrough and Create My Family have been holding events to help spread the word and to continue to fundraise.
On May 8, Create My Family and its sponsors will be hosting A Mother's Waiting Heart 5K walk beginning at the Runner's Forum in Broad Ripple. Interested participants can sign up at eventbrite.com. There is a $25 registration fee, as well as open donation opportunities.
Kimbrough said that she purposely chose Mother's Day to host the walk because it's a tough day for the women who are struggling with infertility. She said that they're hurting and want to be mothers but aren't able to through no choice of their own.