learn about our daughter and sister, iris

The Iris Fund was created in loving memory of Iris Crystal Aleman who was born and passed away due to prematurity on July 15, 2017.  In the days following her death, we wanted to learn more about what causes preterm birth and ways to prevent it.  We were stunned to hear that obstetricians have not fully understood the mechanisms that start the onset of normal labor leading to childbirth.  Sadly, even less is known about what triggers preterm labor leading to a baby that is born premature like Iris.  Whether a family is having a normal or high-risk pregnancy, all families deserve to know these basic answers and have effective interventions that will prevent preterm birth.

Iris received her name early in pregnancy—we wanted our daughter to have a name that would serve as an anchor and provide hope throughout her life.  Iris is the goddess of the rainbow.  The three petals of the iris flower represent faith, wisdom and valor.  Iris Crystal Aleman’s legacy is just that for us now as we strive to create a world where no babies should have to die or have complicated lives—suffering life-long mental and physical disabilities—due to prematurity.  Currently, nearly half a million, greater than the population of Atlanta, GA, babies are born premature each year.  The cost of prematurity to society, stemming from the lifelong issues associated with preterm birth, is an estimated $30 billion.

The Iris Fund ensures her legacy is one that makes certain no other family endures the heartbreaking loss and complications of prematurity.  It ensures that ALL families have the information they need to understand how their bodies work during pregnancy and labor.  To accomplish this, the Iris Fund supports innovative research to define labor, how it occurs, and develop novel, safe and effective therapies to prevent preterm birth.

Thank you for sharing in our story and helping us honor our daughter’s legacy.

Brittney and Jose

Iris’ parents

Our Mission

To help mothers and babies realize healthy, safe pregnancies and labors by understanding what causes labor and preterm birth.

We believe that the answers to the fundamental question of what causes labor is applicable to all mothers. We understand that it is impossible to provide the best care for mothers when working off an outdated understanding of how a pregnant body works during labor. 

We can do so much better. It starts at the Columbia Preterm Birth Prevention Center, where paradigm-shifting research is underway that will one day, in the not too distant future, become the new medical standard.  (see 'read me' at the top of the page for more details)