A Plaquemine couple will get a second chance at becoming parents.

Vanessa and Chandler Langlois of Plaquemine, LA, are the recipients of a grant to be used for in vitro fertilization (IVF) from Louisiana fertility clinic Fertility Answers. The couple lost their first child to an autosomal recessive disorder that they are both genetic carriers of. They will couple their free IVF cycle with preimplantation genetic diagnosis to test their embryo for the disease.

Chandler and Vanessa are genetic carriers for Zellweger Syndrome, the most severe form of an inherited disease called Zellweger spectrum. There is no cure or treatment for Zellweger and infants, like the Langlois’ daughter, born on the severe end of the Zellweger spectrum typically do not survive past the first 6 months of life. Their daughter passed away at six weeks of age.

Chandler and Vanessa Langlois with their daughter who passed away

IVF with preimplantation genetic diagnosis testing will allow the couple to have the chance to conceive a child completely free of the fatal disease that they carry. During the procedure, a geneticist will examine the DNA in the cells from each embryo to locate the specific gene associated with Zellweger Syndrome to then classify them as having the disease, a carrier of the disease, or disease-free.

One in eight American couples experience struggles with conceiving. However, few insurance companies provide coverage for fertility treatments, and, as a result, most fertility treatment costs are paid for out-of-pocket by the patient. But with a price tag of around $15,000 to $20,000 per standard IVF cycle, the treatment cost is often out of reach financially for many couples. With the added testing the Langlois’ need for preimplantation genetic diagnosis, the cost of their treatment became even more out of reach.

Created to ease the high costs of IVF, both financially and emotionally, Fertility Answers launched the Gift of Hope program in 2006 to award fertility treatments to couples who demonstrate both financial and medical needs for the procedure. Since 2006, there have been 18 Louisiana couples awarded the Gift of Hope, eight of which have conceived and five babies have been born as a result.

“We started the program as a way to help Louisiana couples undergo IVF who could not otherwise afford it,” said Dr. John Storment, founder and medical director of Fertility Answers. “Our clinic has always been community-minded, and this is another example of our commitment to furthering access to fertility healthcare in our state.”

Fertility Answers is a regional fertility health system with statewide reach, serving more than two-thirds of Louisiana in over 40 parishes. It includes two main clinical offices and state-of-the-art laboratories in Lafayette and Baton Rouge. Fertility Answers has helped thousands of couples become parents since its inception in 2002.

You can find more information on the Gift of Hope website.

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