Purdue alumna Samantha Busch makes parenthood possible for North Carolina couples

Written by: Rebecca Hoffa, rhoffa@purdue.edu

Samantha Busch

Samantha BuschPhoto provided

From the mental health effects to the relationship strains it can cause, facing infertility is extremely challenging. While many couples may choose to keep quiet about their struggles, infertility isn’t uncommon. It affects millions of couples around the world, according to the World Health Organization.

Purdue University College of Health and Human Sciences alumna Samantha Busch and her husband, NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, are familiar with the struggles of infertility. The two met when Samantha Busch was a junior at Purdue, married a few years later and eventually decided to start their family. However, after trying on their own for 16-18 months without success, they sought the help of a fertility clinic. After undergoing their first round of in vitro fertilization (IVF), they became pregnant with their son, Brexton.

Personally experiencing IVF caused the two to realize how expensive fertility treatments are, with one round of IVF costing more than $20,000. After experiencing the joy of Brexton, they wanted to give other couples the same feeling by offering grants and resources to those also experiencing infertility.

Samantha and Kyle Busch

Samantha Busch (center) poses with her husband, Kyle Busch, and son, Brexton.Erin Bowman Photography

“There’s nothing like the first time your baby smiles at you or they say ‘mama’ or ‘I love you,’” Samantha Busch said. “I don’t think that finances should stand in the way of someone’s dream of becoming a parent.”

Samantha and Kyle Busch started the Samantha and Kyle Busch Bundle of Joy Fund in 2015 to advocate for infertility awareness, offer resources to couples who are experiencing infertility and provide financial support to couples in their home state of North Carolina to offset the costs of fertility treatments.

“A lot of the people that we’re granting funds to, they’re hard-working individuals,” Samantha Busch said. “They’re firefighters, teachers, police officers, former military. They chose to serve their community, and then when they want to turn around and build their own family, there’s no financial support, so that’s where we step in.”

At Purdue, Samantha Busch majored in psychological sciences, which she said has been extremely helpful in directing the Bundle of Joy Fund.

“Psychology really teaches you the standpoint of having empathy, letting people talk about their emotions and working with people through difficult times,” Samantha Busch said. “When you go through something like infertility, that’s so important. Obviously infertility affects you physically, but the mental aspect and the toll that it takes on you — on your relationships, on your marriage — it’s very difficult. I feel like because of that psychology background that I have I’m able to connect with women all over the country and able to help guide them or be a shoulder to lean on in some of their hardest times – whether it’s infertility or miscarriage or whatever it looks like.”

In the years since Brexton was born, Samantha and Kyle Busch endured a miscarriage in 2018, a failed IVF cycle in 2019 and a failed surrogate cycle in 2020. This year, the couple changed clinics and recently experienced another miscarriage. Samantha Busch said it is important to her and her husband to use their hardships to become advocates in the community and normalize conversations about infertility.

“My goal is that nobody feels embarrassed or ashamed to talk about these things,” Samantha Busch said. “It is very personal, and it deals with very personal issues like sex or your body, and sometimes that can be hard to talk about. Our hope is that by talking about it, couples are prepared with the right questions to ask to be advocates for themselves, or they have a better understanding of what the journey is going to look like if they have to go through IVF or surrogacy.”

Samantha and Kyle Busch Bundle of Joy Fund

Samantha Busch (right) presents a check from the Bundle of Joy Fund to a North Carolina couple.Photo provided

Samantha Busch released her book, “Fighting Infertility,” in March, which details the couple’s journey through IVF and infertility while also providing advice from therapists and infertility specialists about things such as grieving during a miscarriage or setting relationship boundaries while going through infertility.

In the future, Samantha Busch hopes to expand the reach of the foundation to more clinics in order to help couples outside of North Carolina. She said although the infertility journey has not been easy for her or her husband, she wouldn’t change it because of all the good that has come from it.

“I’m very excited to see how many people have reached out, that they’ve had the same feelings, or they feel like their feelings are validated and heard now,” Samantha Busch said. “I really am just so proud of what this entire infertility community is doing to inspire change and conversation.”