The Baby Messenger
Help for Childless Couples
Jewish communities held memorials for the Mumbai massacre in 2008 all over the world. At one such event in Merion Station, Pennsylvania,the memory of the tragedy fostered the conception of six babies and perhaps many more.
Dr. Michael Glassner, one of the founding partners of suburban Philadelphia's Main Line Fertility and Reproductive Medicine was among those who listened to the tale of the six people who were murdered in the Mumbai Chabad House. The world-renowned fertility expert was very moved by the event and decided to donate his services toward bringing new lives into the world.
Honoring The Memory
The director of Chabad-Lubavitch of the Main Line, Rabbi Shraga Sherman remembers that Glassner approached him and said he would honor the memory of the murdered by helping childless Chabad couples who volunteer as "shluchim" or "messengers" in many parts of the world. Three days later, Glassner received a call from Sherman about a couple on the East Coast that had trouble conceiving a child. Next, Rabbi Sherman turned to Glassner about two more couples, in different U.S. states, struggling to have babies.
The three couples were treated by Glassner free of charge. In addition to donating his own services, the doctor got pharmaceutical companies to give the couples complimentary fertility drugs. Inside of a year, each couple found they had conceived a child and each woman had given birth to twins, all healthy.
Glassner says he told Rabbi Sherman that he would help bring six babies into the world to replace those killed in Mumbai, but admits he lied, “I am not going to stop at this point. As long as I am practicing medicine, I will take care of all shluchim for nothing.”
Fertility issues affect around 20% of all couples. Out of these couples, some 20% will need IVF (in vitro fertilization), which is a process in which the eggs are fertilized by the man's sperm in a lab dish, outside of the woman's body. The resultant embryos are then transferred into the woman's womb.
Dr. Glassner's clinic has a high success rate for this procedure, with an approximate 50% of couples under the age of 35 managing to conceive on their first try. However, IVF costs are high, at around $10,000 for the procedure with the accompanying drug therapy a further $5,000. Many couples will often take out a second mortgage on their homes, or end up in heavy debt with credit card companies to pay for treatment.