by: Elana Frank
CEO & Founder, Jewish Fertility Foundation
My friend Tracy Juran, is on the advisory board of Jewish Fertility Foundation’s new chapter in Cincinnati, OH. Yes, JFF has expanded its reach to a new city, and Tracy’s story explains the need. She recently shared these thoughts on the emotional toll of her infertility struggle:
“Infertility has changed me. My lows are often others’ highs – Mother’s Day, the Monday of a new school year, a friend’s baby shower. My niece turned three in April and all I could think of was the passing of another year without the cousin I had hoped she would grow up with. One of my last childless friends just told me she’s pregnant. I’m positively thrilled for her, but that didn’t stop me from having a complete and utter meltdown in the middle of the produce section.” As the CEO & Founder of the Jewish Fertility Foundation (JFF), I hear stories like Tracy’s all the time. My husband and I experienced the very same feelings of resentment and sadness on our journey to parenthood, but because we were residents/citizens of Israel at that time, Israeli socialized medicine afforded us the opportunity to inexpensively find a solution to have our first two children.
After returning to the US, it took another five years, trips to Israel for fertility treatment, adoption failures, and ultimately embryo donation, to have our third baby who we named Matan (which in Hebrew means gift). He is our true miracle. When we returned to Atlanta, I realized that others weren’t as lucky as me to have treatment success, community support, and financial aid. Ultimately, this was the inspiration to start Jewish Fertility Foundation.
We have helped couples, many of whom are multi-faith and increasingly, single individuals, build new Jewish families!
Now, just three years after launching in Atlanta, Jewish Fertility Foundation is thrilled to announce the opening of our second office in Cincinnati led by Fertility Law Attorney, Rachel Loftspring. Through JFF-CINCY, we have the capacity to respond to infertility needs with a Jewish resource in another community. Just as Honeymoon-Israel brings young Jewish couples into the Jewish community and the JCC Early Childhood School brings young Jewish families into the Jewish community, JFF-CINCY provides another point of entry into our Jewish community and at a critical inflection point.
By supporting those facing medical infertility both emotionally and financially, we continue our important work of (literally) building a vibrant, strong, and engaged Cincinnati Jewish community. And by educating our community leaders and constituents on the topic of infertility, we create new pathways to combat the stigma and shame of infertility.
It’s a point of pride that over the past three years JFF-ATL has provided more than $270,000 in fertility grants, loans, and clinic discounts. We have trained almost 500 rabbis, mikvah attendants, and fertility clinic staff to understand the special needs of Jewish clients undergoing fertility treatments. And are currently emotionally supporting over 100 local clients experiencing infertility and as of Thanksgiving have brought 31 adorable babies into this world.