BYU grads help families struggling with infertility

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From left: Braden Andrus, Makayla Andrus holding her 21-month-old son and Kyle Andrus. Braden and Makayla are dedicated to helping families struggling with infertility through their company Declan Roe. (Declan Roe)

Makayla Andrus hoped to have children once she completed her major in elementary enducation and graduated from BYU. After her first and second miscarriages, people told her, “You’re okay. It happens to everyone.”

But the miscarriages continued. Andrus was soon diagnosed with a genetic disorder called balanced translocation, which ends 80 percent of her pregnancies in miscarriage.

Makayla and her husband, Kyle, determined to try in vitro fertilization treatments even though it would cost them $20,000 and have only a 10 percent chance of success. But two weeks before starting the IVF treatments, Makayla got pregnant. This time, the pregnancy went full-term.

After seeing the high costs associated with the IVF procedure, Makayla and her brother-in-law Braden Andrus founded Declan Roe. Their objective is to help finance families struggling with infertility so they can afford IVF, adoption or surrogacy.

“We made a vow then that if we were ever in a position to help couples that are struggling with the cost of infertility that we would do something to help. We’re hoping that Declan Roe is the answer to that commitment,” Makayla said.

Declan Roe launched in April 2018 and is a boutique deal site that specializes in selling clothing for babies and children. Declan Roe donates 15 percent of its profits to families experiencing infertility.  

“It was actually my husband’s idea. He had the idea at like 2:30 in the morning when I was sleeping and woke me up and was like, ‘You’ve got to hear this idea!’ I somehow went for it. It wasn’t really like me. I’m a more cautious, let-me-think-about-it kind of person. Something just snapped inside of me, and I was like, ‘That is it. Let’s do it,’” Makayla said.

Although the company started only three months ago, Declan Roe has already collected enough money to provide a grant for a family in September. (Declan Roe)

Braden, who majored in accounting at BYU, had his own experience that helped turn his attention toward adoption. While at BYU, he went on a study abroad to a maternal clinic in Ghana.

He heard many stories about how the women were getting abortions in physically gruesome ways because they did not have the financial means to provide for children. Hearing these stories made Braden reflect on adoption and how he could help lessen the financial burden on those trying to adopt.

“Because of those two unique circumstances, we decided to start something that we think can really help people in the future,” Braden said.

Declan Roe strives to make shopping for children’s clothes an all-around good experience. The Andruses also make sure clothing and accessory prices are manageable for buyers.

Fifteen percent of Declan Roe’s profit is given to the non-profit Bundled Blessings, which gives grants to families struggling with infertility to help pay for IVF treatments and/or adoption. (Declan Roe)

“It’s a deal site, so we want to make sure it’s a good deal,” Braden said.

Declan Roe partnered with volunteer-based non-profit organization Bundled Blessings to help distribute the funds donated to families in need.

“The more we grow, the more we can give. I would love to be able to give to several different families all throughout the U.S. grants for infertility, intrauterine insemination, IVFs, surrogacy, adoption or whatever their method of extending their family is,” Makayla said.

Marketing Specialist for Bundled Blessings Santanna Kaiserman said, “We’re super appreciative for Declan Roe and them wanting to partner with us. We’re just really excited for these upcoming months in awarding more grants to families.”

Declan Roe has already provided a $5,000 IVF grant for Bundled Blessings to award in September.

“We’re all volunteers. We don’t take any of the funds for ourselves. It’s purely because we care about this and we want to help people,” Kaiserman said.

One of the most rewarding parts of starting Declan Roe for Makayla and Braden has been the positive response they have received. Makayla features #declanstories on Declan Roe’s Instagram account that highlight real stories submitted by women about infertility and motherhood.

Declan Roe is a boutique deal site that specializes in children and baby clothes. (provided by Declan Roe)

I get messages of people saying, ‘That was basically me you’re talking about. Thank you for sharing because today I was feeling like a failure, and now I have some hope and confidence in myself just to know that I’m not alone. There’s a community of women here who are rooting for me to succeed,’” Makayla said.

To BYU students who are dealing with infertility, Makayla gives the advice to not be afraid to tell their story and ask for help. Kaiserman, who has also had her own struggle with infertility, counsels them to find support in family and friends.

Makayla and Braden invite everyone to “shop with a purpose.” Declan Roe’s website can be found at https://declanroe.com/. To find more information about Bundled Blessings, visit https://www.bundledblessingsfertility.com/.

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