Family Stories

Susan and Yonatan: From ‘Jews and Brews’ to Family Dreams


The first night we met was at an event called “Jews and Brews” where we felt the chemistry right away. After sitting down at our table, we ended up talking for so long that when we finally looked away from each other we realized that everyone else who had started the night at our table had long since left the event. Our relationship progressed quickly from there, and after a few pandemic-related postponements, we finally got married in May 2022.

We started trying to expand our family shortly after our wedding and before moving across the country from the San Francisco Bay Area to Chicago. We weren’t having much luck in the beginning, but we knew from various friends who had experienced similar challenges that becoming pregnant often isn’t something that happens right away. Once we were settled into our new home in Chicago and still had not conceived, we started looking into the possibility of needing IUI or IVF. Along the way we opted to undergo genetic testing to determine our carrier status for various diseases that are common among Ashkenazi Jews. We knew that there was a possibility that Yonatan could have the BRCA2 mutation, since his mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor and one of his sisters had already confirmed that she had inherited the mutation.

Unfortunately, our suspicions turned out to be correct and Yonatan’s results were positive. We knew from that moment that we wanted to do what we could to prevent passing on this mutation to one more generation.

After receiving Yonatan’s results, we took some time to consider our options. Continuing to try conceiving on our own and risk passing on the mutation (with a 50% chance, essentially a coin flip) was not something we felt comfortable with. We also were not ready to give up on our dreams of having a child. From early on in our relationship, we’ve both looked forward to raising children together, and providing our kids with a bedrock of Jewish education that we both felt like we missed out on in some ways when we were growing up. Being part of a strong Jewish community with plenty of resources and options for families was one of the main factors behind our move to Chicago. We love our new home here, and we know that our future child(ren) will, too. When we learned that PGT-M was an option available to couples in our situation, we decided to move forward with IVF.

We plan to use the funds we receive from the Family Building Grant to offset the costs of egg retrieval and storage, PGT-A and PGT-M testing, and potentially multiple frozen embryo transfers. While we hope we are among the lucky few IVF couples who are successful after the first cycle, we understand that it may take multiple tries (and multiple payments) before we can go home with our first child. These costs add up quickly, even with some insurance coverage. We are exceptionally grateful to JUF and the Chicago Coalition for Family Building for their help on our journey.

Susan and Yonatan are recipients of the Path to Parenthood Grant from the Jewish United Fund – Chicago.