At RADfertility, we understand that infertility can be a very isolating disease to face. It is important to know you are not alone. The purpose of the Making a Difference series is to highlight the dedicated organizations and individuals in the community available to help you on your journey.
The Evan David Foundation (EDF) is a Delaware foundation that helps individuals and couples afford fertility treatments that can help them. EDF was founded by Kathleen Ittel and funded with an initial start-up grant from Kathleen and Steven Ittel.
Since 2011, EDF has been a resource for RAD patients to assist with the financial portion of their journey. We had the pleasure of chatting with Kathleen Ittel to learn more about her family, the inspiration behind the foundation, and what they hope for the future.
Kathleen’s children and grandchildren in 2011, including Evan!
Tell us about the start-up of the Evan David Foundation and what was your biggest inspiration?
Kathleen: Our son and daughter-in-law in California had been trying to get pregnant for over four years. Unfortunately, during that time they had suffered five miscarriages – two of them after being treated by a fertility doctor. The doctor told them there was nothing more that science could do for them. They would not be able to carry a baby to term. Our entire family was heartbroken. Meanwhile, our daughter had given birth to one child and was pregnant with her second child. She decided to tell her brother that she was willing to be a gestational carrier for them. I started crying when she told me, wondering how I could have raised such a wonderful, caring daughter!
A couple of years later our son and daughter-in-law’s embryo, frozen in liquid nitrogen, was flown cross-country to RAD, and our daughter got pregnant with Evan David. Nine months later the “miracle baby” was born – there wasn’t a dry eye in the delivery room! Our daughter had given her brother the gift of life!
Anyone who has had difficulty getting pregnant knows the euphoria that one experiences when first gazing upon their own “miracle baby”. For me, that euphoria lasted over a year. I kept thinking about how fortunate our family was that we could afford the fertility treatment that was needed, and wondering how we could help others who were experiencing difficulty having a baby. The only way I knew how to help them was financially, assisting with the costs of fertility treatment. This is why the Evan David Foundation was started.
Your family’s story is so heartwarming. What inspired your daughter to become a gestational carrier?
Kathleen: Since I only had two children, they were always close growing up, and even went to the same college. However, our son was in disbelief when his sister called and said she was willing to carry his baby. Knowing how much her brother loved children (they had both worked for four summers as counselors at a camp for children with disabilities), she couldn’t imagine the heartbreak he was experiencing, and said she just “had to help him.” Now they communicate electronically at least weekly, and visit each other every year. “Evan” even sends my daughter flowers on his birthday each year!
What was your number one goal in establishing the Evan David Foundation?
Kathleen: When our journey started, we had no idea how expensive fertility treatments were. Unfortunately, very few health insurance plans cover infertility treatment, especially IVF. We were fortunate that we could afford the IVF costs to help our son and daughter-in-law, but not everyone is. That is why I started the Evan David Foundation – to help those who would benefit from IVF treatment but cannot afford the entire cost. We do this by awarding EDF Grants of up to $5,000 to help them with the cost of whatever treatment would enable them to have a baby.
Who is applicable for grants through your foundation?
Kathleen: EDF gives financial assistance to those who do not have children, have a fairly good likelihood of getting pregnant through fertility treatments, but who cannot afford the entire cost of those treatments. This includes both women and men. So far, most of our applicants have requested EDF Grants for IVF treatment, but that is not the only thing we cover.
What is the one piece of advice that you would give to an applicant?
Kathleen: Don’t give up just because of the costs! The Evan David Foundation is only one possible source of funds. There are also companies that give loans just to help with the cost of fertility treatment. Talk with the people at RAD who can help you look for the funds you need.
What are some of your proudest accomplishments since you founded the Evan David Foundation in 2011?
Kathleen: That’s really hard to answer. I get SO excited every time one of our EDF grant recipients gives birth! But the best rewards are the emails I get from the new parents saying how much the grant helped them with their greatest wish in life, to have a baby, and this couldn’t have happened without the assistance of the Evan David Foundation! Just look at the baby pictures of some of our “Success Stories” on the EDF website – http://evandavidfdn.org – and you can’t help but smile!
How can RAD and the community support the Evan David Foundation?
Kathleen: Everything comes down to money! Our only source of funds is through donations. Spread the word about the good work we are doing! Send a donation to the address on our website: http://www.evandavidfdn.org. No amount of money is too small, and every contribution is a tax deductible charitable contribution as allowed by law, since the Evan David Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future with the foundation?
Kathleen: Believe it or not, I would like to have the foundation go out of business! Yes, I said go out of business, but for a good reason — I would like all health insurance plans to have optional infertility coverage at a reasonable cost, including several rounds of IVF treatments. Unfortunately, this is being dropped from most health insurance plans right now. That will continue unless fertility treatment is mandated by law. So contact your local government official, or the Delaware Insurance Commissioner, and tell them this is desperately needed! In the meantime, however, we would like to help a lot more women, which means that we always need donations!
Follow Evan David Foundation on Facebook.
More About RADfertility
Top Fertility Doctors
Meet RADfertility's clinical team made up of compassionate and caring women who will be by your side every step of your journey to parenthood.
Patient Care Team
Meet RADfertility’s exceptional staff that goes above and beyond on many levels of patient care.
RADfertility's Seeds of Success program is founded on inspiring stories from men and women who found success at RADfertility.
If you are looking to join an enthusiastic team that has helped thousands of families grow, check out our current job listings.
How We Celebrated 25 Years
In August 1995, Dr. Barbara McGuirk founded Reproductive Associates, now RADfertility, and was soon joined by her partner, Dr. Ron Feinberg. See how we celebrated this special milestone!
Read Our Blog
From fun giveaways to updates on state-of-the-art technology we are using to improve patient success, our blog puts the news in perspective for our patients.
"I feel so lucky to have found RADfertility. I tried two other clinics before I expanded my search and found RADfertility. I drive an hour each way to go to them but I don’t regret a thing. They are so caring and so professional. Every time I message them they respond quickly. Every time I see them they have a friendly smile and warm welcome. They explain everything so well and I never feel lost in the process as I did elsewhere. They also took the time to figure out what was wrong. Other clinics threw up their hands, said 'I don’t know' and pushed me to try IVF."
"Dr. Feinberg and the entire staff at RADfertility are absolutely amazing. The receptionists, coordinators, nurses, and lab staff are compassionate, caring, and straight forward. I’ve had a 12-year infertility journey and I’ve tried other clinics but RADfertility was the only one I felt at ease with. They answered any questions that I had and were there any time I needed them. My coordinator, Amy, was the absolute best and always had my back. Dr. Feinberg’s dedication to his patients is incredible. You are not just a number there, you are a person with individualized needs and care."
"My journey with RADfertility and Dr. McGuirk started when my husband and I were trying to conceive and were having difficulty. We went to RADfertility, where we met Dr. McGuirk. I always say she changed my life and 'fixed' me. Dr. McGuirk is always learning more about endometriosis and how to help her patients. She’s brilliant and truly cares for you! I’m eternally grateful to her and everyone at RADfertility for their unwavering support, love, and care."
"Every step of our journey was tailored to us. We were treated so respectfully. Every detail was clearly explained and we felt so comfortable. Rhonda Wright was a Godsend and inspiring. I highly recommend this place! I cried when my weekly appointments were done and I 'graduated.'"
"The staff and doctors are amazing. It will feel like home every time you walk in the door. They gifted us with our miracle baby and we couldn’t be happier. I will always recommend RADfertility above all others!"
"RADfertility's staff has heart and provided me with exceptional health care. I knew I was in good hands and felt like we were in this together. The doctors and nursing staff always answered all of my questions and provided thorough information about all of my options. I am so fortunate and appreciative of the care that I received at RADfertility. They go above and beyond."
"I cannot begin to explain how wonderful RADfertility is. We were frustrated with trying to start a family and it not working for us. The entire team of doctors and nurses made us feel comfortable and hopeful that we would be parents. We experienced so many ups and downs but we never felt like we were on our IVF journey alone, we had our RADfertility team every step of the way. If you're looking for a supportive team on the IVF journey, look no further. RADfertility is the absolute best."
"Dr. Schillings always kept us informed and never gave up on us. She always explained our options and risks with each procedure. She called us personally when there were any issues or sensitive subjects to cover. Dr. Schillings was the first doctor that had answers for us and wanted to help us have our miracle baby!"
4735 Ogletown-Stanton Road
Medical Arts Pavilion 2
Newark, DE 19713
Silverside Medical Center
2700 Silverside Road, Suite 2A
Wilmington, DE 19810
Eden Hill Medical Center
200 Banning Street, Suite 240
Dover, DE 19904
Phone: (302) 602-8822
Fax: (302) 602-8832