7 July 2011

The Cost of (In)fertility


I briefly mentioned in yesterday's post that I had a doctor's appointment. I thought I'd meet with my OB-GYN to discuss our current fertility plan and get her ideas on where to go from here. I wanted to keep things rather casual and tried to walk into her office with little expectations, but really, what we are talking about is far from casual. 

She could sense the urgency all over me, and suggested that we move forward with the process rather than wait another month or two trying naturally. I agreed. She recommended that I schedule a consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist (a fertility specialist). 

Holy shit, we've been called up from the Minors. They needed a slightly sarcastic, slightly bitter, and slightly awesome couple to move up to the Fertility Major Leagues, and they picked us! 

It's time for me to put my big girl panties on, and swing with the heavy hitters. Behind those fertility center walls are where miracles happen...

...for those that can afford miracles, of course. 

So, it's a double edged sword. We are happy to move ahead in this process. We are also apprehensive about invasive procedures, drugs, hormones, and not to mention the COST. 

Our insurance covers zero percent of fertility treatments, and the consultation with the reproductive endocrinologist alone is going to cost $350. 

Add to that $800 for my blood work-up, and $160 for L's swimmers' analysis, and we are already $1300 in the hole before we've even begun. I'm not counting my surgeries as part of this, because it's just too overwhelming. 

Simultaneously, we are dealing with an unexpected loss of income. 

I know. It's ridiculous. But, I'm sharing all of this, because I want people to know how much it costs some couples to make a baby. L and I are going to try our hardest to make it work. The next year or two or five are going to be a struggle, but we think and hope we can gather the resources to do it. 

What about the people that simply can't gather the resources? Do they somehow not "deserve" to have kids? Should they put it all on a credit card, and just hope for the best? I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around that. On a semi-related note, I try my hardest to never judge people for being in debt. I remind myself that I don't know why people are in the position they are in. I can't stand when the holier-than-thou camp gets all preachy about it. 

Alright, getting off my soapbox now. Thanks for listening. Also, what would you do if you needed expensive fertility treatments and couldn't afford it? Would you go into debt? Would you wait? Would you just not have kids? With more and more couples facing fertility issues today, I'm interested to hear opinions on this.


*Edit: Would you foster? Would you adopt? My apologies for leaving those options off the list!!



16 comments:

  1. isn't it crazy how much a baby costs just to have one (before it's even born) and how much kids cost afterwards?? my hubs and i have been trying to have a baby for about a year.. i actually did get pregnant but lost it at 12 wks.. so we're waiting to figure out what our next step is. but i would hope that i can conceive naturally. if i really wanted something, i would make it work-- whether it's by not shopping, no more starbucks, or whatever-- it's doable but i'd have to really tighten my belt. some friends of mine who couldn't get pregnant and fertility treatments were going to be too much without a 100% guarantee, decided to adopt. that's something i would consider for myself if we couldn't get pregnant... good luck to you carly! i hope that you and your hubby will have lots of support and that everything works out!

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  2. I just went off the pill, and my husband and I are going to try to get pregnant--I think we'll try for about a year. I'm 100% OK with it if it doesn't happen....I know regardless, we're going to adopt. In WA state we found out that if you foster to adopt, the state actually pays for your childs health care, counseling, and education until they're 18.

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  3. Oh man, I am really terrified if the clomid doesn't work because I don't think we can afford the next step(s). I think if we get to that bridge, we'll just try naturally for a while until either we get pregnant, or we can't stand being childless anymore. I really hope everything works out for you guys!

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  4. People go into debt all of the time for things they want. If a house or a wedding is a good enough reason, then why not a human? :) Whatever you have to do, I know you'll do it, you'll make it work.

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  5. My friends used in vitro to have their twins. She had 2 miscarriages before that. They joke their babies are million dollar babies, but they aren't joking. Just to conceive and deliver them they cost a million dollars. My friends were lucky to not have to pay the whole thing. Insurance covered a large portion of it. But if she hadn't gotten pregnant on the 3rd try they would have been out of luck. Their insurance only covered 3 tries and they could not afford to keep trying on their own.

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  6. I totally agree with Layla. We spend so much on what we think are "necessities" but in fact are just luxuries. Perhaps we hold off on buying a new car. Or do we really need the iPhone with the hyper data plan and the 40,000 apps? Maybe we eat out less, cut back on our cable bill...something. The baby is an investment that is absolutely priceless so if it's something you really want, I'm sure you can make it work. *big hugs*

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  7. I have a friend who works at an adoption agency, and she tells me that the "price" of adoption (although they don't actually use that word) is in the tens of thousands of dollars. She also says that most of her clients have tried fertility treatments before, so once they *are* finally able to hold a baby in their arms and call him/her their own, they usually have spent in the hundreds of thousands of dollars altogether.

    I know that it sucks, and I know that it's totally unfair. But I also know that you will love your future baby(ies) with all your heart and that you DESERVE it. Hang in there, and know that you're always in my thoughts and prayers. *hugs*

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  8. We talked about this yesterday but my husband and I are terrified over this aspect of infertility. Our insurance doesn't cover anything either and since the issue is most likely that my tubes are still blocked, we will have to go straight to in vitro. I know that costs thousands and there is no guarantee it will work.

    We have talked about adoption but it's even more expensive than IVF and I don't think we are ready to start that process quite yet. Josh and I had a discussion once because I asked him if he would rather adopt or just try to live a fulfilled life without kids and he said adopt. I have mixed feeling about adoption that I am working through so we'll see what happens.

    Days like today, I get so envious of those that have babies naturally. I hope they realize how incredibly blessed they are.

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  9. Feeling as I do today, I would probably just go child-free *if* I could not afford these treatments. But one never really knows what they'll do, until they are in the situation. Hubs and I have talked about it though, and since we can afford it, we would likely investigate adoption if things did not happen naturally...again though, I just don't know since I haven't been put in the position.

    Hang in there; I wish you the best of luck and I hope you'll keep us updated...

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  10. Hubs and I cannot have children naturally. We are going to adopt, but not from a typical adoption agency, or "baby mills" as I call them, where a newborn can cost you $100k and that's not even assurance that you get to keep the baby.

    We are going to foster with the intent in mind to adopt and tell that to the agency. We want a ready-made family with kids that already have personalities that we love. And we want the kids that most other people don't want. The kids that are 2 to 3 siblings. Yes, all at once. We will work hard to find kids that are a good fit for us and improve these kids' lives and become a family.

    This is what works for us. Good luck to you for whatever path you end up choosing in the end.

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  11. I'm tearing up over here. The entire situation (yours on a personal level b/c I adore you and the situation overall for the masses) makes me so angry/sad/frustrated/confused. It breaks my heart that such amazeballs peeps such as you and L are having to jump through such costly hoops for something as fundamental as adding to your family.

    I've looked into adoption and it is quite costly as well - in both cold hard cash and time. It's debilitating.

    You know I love you and am here for you. ♥♥♥

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  12. This is one of those questions that I find difficult to answer what I'd do because I don't have a very strong desire to have children to begin with, and I'm not in a life position right now to give it much consideration. In the position that I'm in right now, I feel like I'd likely go child free if I couldn't conceive. However, that's not to say that sometime down the line when I'm in a better position that I might not feel some sense of urgency to have kids... so I guess the answer sort of is, "I don't know."

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  13. I haven't read all the other comments, but honestly, cost is one reason why My Sailor and I decided we wouldn't do expensive infertiity treatments. We believe firmly that a family is made up more of love than of genetics. We figure - why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a "maybe" treatment, when we could spend less and DEFINATELY come away with our desired end result - a child.
    Adoption loans can be taken out, and there are a lot of tax refunds available to those who adopt. I'm not familiar w/ any help for those suffering from infertility, but intent upon concieving. Being adopted myself and seeing what a huge blessing its been in my life and my brother's life (as well as a few other friends), it just makes more sense than me going through months of being sick and/or costly infertility services for us to possibly get something that looks like us. We figure, if all we want is a child and a family - then we should focus on the goal and widen our view. Don't get me wrong - for some people, I'm sure biology is the right way to go, but for us, we'd rather put the money toward Jr's college fund or a house to raise him/her in. That's why we decided to keep things simple. (Besides, I only have 1 working ovary and 1 working tube. If for some reason they stop working, we're up a creek w/o a paddle when it comes to having bio kids.)

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  14. i'm not sure what i'd do if the cost of fertility was out of reach. adoption is definitely on my mind.

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  15. Thank you for sharing your story Carly.
    We are still both students and struggling to find our way in the world, and so we are not trying to have children yet. I think that journey is a good 2-3 years away until our lives settle down a bit.
    But, we have talked about the possibility of infertility and what we would do. I honestly don't know what would happen if it came to that, but I am very open to adoption, while he is not. If he was given the choice, I think he would want to proceed with the costly treatments as genetics is important to him. I'm not as firmly grounded in that opinion and would research adoption.

    I hope that you and L come to a decision you are both happy about.
    **Hugs**

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  16. Urg. This makes me frustrated. You guys are amazing people and deserve only the very best. We were beyond blessed by getting pregnant naturally, but I've seen many AMAZING couples struggle with infertility. The good news- I know at least 6 IUI and IVF healthy and happy babies. But the amount of money spent is insane. We've always put adoption on the table. As for fertility treatments-- honestly, I am not sure we could have afforded them. Wishing you my VERY best; please keep us updated.

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