How do you judge a contest where everyone deserves to win?

December 13, 2014

I haven’t been very vocal about this on social media. At first, I wasn’t sure if I should be. I mean…if I announce publicly that I’m a judge in a contest then the contestants are free to find me. And potentially attempt to curry favor with me.

That didn’t happen. Despite Sher Institutes publicly posting bios of the judges. But I should back up.

Jay – you all know Jay, right? If you don’t, you should. Head over to¬† and get to know her cuz she’s awesome. Jay pimped me out to Sher Institutes. Sher was looking for judges for their I Believe contest which awards two lucky couples (or a single, the contest does not require that you be coupled) a free IVF cycle and Jay thought I’d be a good fit.

In all honesty, I’m a bit wary of these types of things. The lottery, even with the abysmal odds, seems reasonable to me. It’s about as random as it can get. You don’t really expect to win and your life will not be any worse for losing. No ones judges your character – either your numbers hit or they don’t. End of story. But contests that pit sad stories against sad stories…well, that’s more subjective and more emotional for all involved. Who’s to say this situation is more deserving than that one? Especially when they ALL are deserving. Will the non-winners (I hate to call them “losers” in this case) somehow feel less worthy? Infertility already makes most of us feel somehow “less than.” We can’t do something that drunken teenagers do by accident. We can eat healthily and do everything our doctors recommend and still that meth addicted homeless woman gets pregnant but we don’t. I have nothing against drunken teenagers and meth addicted homeless women – they are worthy and deserving of help too. But others’ ability to get pregnant simply by looking at a man can certainly makes me feel a bit “less” sometimes.

If only insurance would cover this medical condition…but that’s a topic for another post. The point is this: most people don’t have insurance coverage for IVF. And most people can’t afford to go through multiple IVFs. And a lot of people can’t afford even one IVF. And Sher is giving them away. And they were going to do that with or without me. So I decided I’d rather be a part of it than not.

But how do you judge? How do you decide who should win? Here are some of the thoughts that ran through my head before I went to Vegas about how to pick a winner. Should I pick…

  • Saddest infertility story?
    • Generally this means who has suffered the most/’worst’ losses
      • And how do you compare losses? Oy. That’s its own rabbit hole with no end.
  • Saddest overall story?
    • Many people had cancer, death in the family, serious accidents, etc
  • Most financial need?
    • We didn’t get financial info so this was largely a guessing game
  • Those who require donor sperm/egg or surrogate?
    • The contest only covers the cost of the IVF procedures, donor costs would not be covered.
  • Never tried IVF before?
    • Should you give it to the people who’ve never had the chance?
  • Got pregnant with IVF before?
    • Maybe now they have some additional info to ensure a better outcome?
  • Those who are youngest and/or most likely to succeed?
  • Those who are older?
    • This may be their last chance
  • Has a condition similar to my own or whose story somehow resonates with me?

My head was spinning. I was Alice down the rabbit hole trying to read the matrix code.

Fortunately I didn’t have to make this decision by myself. And I wasn’t the only one in the room who had all of the above thoughts running through my head. Pretty much everything that went through my brain prior to meeting the other judges had gone through their brains as well. And none of us had a good answer.

Because there isn’t one.

But FOUR couples are getting a free round of IVF.

And THAT I can feel good about.


One Response to “How do you judge a contest where everyone deserves to win?”

  1. […] contest I judged. I think this one may be more to blame than TimeHop, honestly. I’m still processing […]

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