NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Millions of couples understand the painful struggle to get pregnant, and the price of fertility treatments often makes the process impossible.

But one local doctor is offering the gift of life in the form of a highly unique lottery, CBS2’s Jessica Moore reports.

“It’s our dream to build our family,” Andrea D’Amato says.

Since they married two years ago, Jessica Berkey and D’Amato have worked hard to achieve that dream.

“But there have been times when we’re both trying at the same time, because we’re just really desperate to have a baby,” D’Amato tells Moore.

Seven rounds of fertility treatments and one miscarriage later, they got one step closer to that dream Friday.

Berkey and D’Amato were one of 30 couples out of 500 who entered New Hope Fertility Center’s lottery, hoping to win a $30,000 round of in vitro fertilization.

CBS2 was there as they watched the winners announced on Facebook Live.

“I’m shaking, I’m so excited. We’re just really excited, it means so much to us,” D’Amato.

“It’s better than winning the lottery. We just won the best lottery ever,” Berkey added.

It’s all thanks to Dr. John Zhang.

He says one in eight couples struggle with infertility. The lottery was his way of giving back to those who can’t afford the exorbitant costs of IVF.

“It shows from our heart that this is our passion to help the couples to have babies,” Zhang said.

But not every couple who entered the lottery had something to celebrate.

“I don’t know if it will ever go away — the desire to have my own child,” Eleanor Trillana, of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, said.

“Hopefully if we can get a baby through adoption or something happens and we get the funds together to try another IVF,” David Guzzone, also from Bay Ridge, added.

Zhang said he’s committed to helping every couple work through the financial and emotional process of having a baby.

“Never too late and never give up,” he said.

There is some good news for the couples who didn’t win Friday. Zhang is offering a free consultation for everyone who entered the lottery.

People from 28 states and five continents entered the clinic’s IVF lottery.


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