Elective Procedures

Cycle 13 was a bust. I got my email the day of my pregnancy test around 11a confirming that I am most definitely not pregnant. Even though I was 99% sure this IUI didn’t work, there is always just a little bit of hope until the blood test. Not going to lie, it sucked.

During my blood work I asked my nurse to be candid with me regarding whether we should do one more IUI or start looking at the option of IVF. Because of my age and Kap’s sperm quality, she said if she were in our shoes she would at least do the IVF consultation.  Even though I’ve been open to all interventions from the beginning, I had always hoped and kind of assumed it wouldn’t get to this point. I realize that was extremely naive of me but knowing that a financially, mentally and physically draining option is really our only chance is beyond depressing. Not only that, but an initial cycle of IVF for someone my age has about a 32% likelihood of resulting in a live birth. In other words, we could spend a ton of money and energy and still have a 68% chance of failure.

In the meantime we are trying to do what we can. Kap is scheduling another SA to determine what, if any, lifestyle changes he needs to make. I’ve lost 14 pounds this month and want to lose another 16 in the next couple months as it will increase our odds of a live birth by 2% bringing our odds to 34%. If I could take off 20 more than that, it would increase our chances by 1% more with an odd of 35% but that’s where it plateaus.

I went ahead and scheduled our consultation for the 8th and was given a thick packet of information on IVF. After reading said packet and seeing what pharmaceutical protocol my doctor normally follows, I started checking prices for 1 round of meds. Something I learned from my insurance’s fertility counselor is that if you go through insurance, the pharmacy will charge the retail price for the drug. Then insurance will pick up whatever % they will pay and then the patient will pay the remainder. If you buy the meds with cash opposed to using insurance it’s often a fraction of the cost as you’re charged wholesale prices. For instance, menopur is a super common IVF drug. If I go through my insurance, an 11 day supply is $3,168 and I would be responsible for 84% of the cost which comes in at $2,661. Meanwhile if I pay cash it’s $912 for that same 11 day supply. Both are ridiculously expensive but the difference is astounding. I went through and found cheapest prices for all listed meds that my doctor may choose then cross referenced them with typical IVF med schedules online. It looks like my meds for 1 round of IVF will be around $3,500. So frustrating.

Speaking of frustrating, I waited a few days to post this entry because I’m angry. I thought I’d calm down but I’ve just gotten more angry. I am so incredibly angry with the lack of a decent healthcare system in this country. I’m angry that fertility procedures are considered elective treatments and most insurance doesn’t help at all. I’m angry that my pharmaceutical coverage is now covering fewer and fewer medicines and necessities for Kaptain and I. His test strips for his glucose monitor are now $85. They were free a few months ago. When I priced the IVF meds there was not a single one that it was a better deal to go through my insurance than to pay out of pocket. Not one.

Being infertile is already depressing and disheartening enough and then our healthcare system would have us believe that we are asking for fun, exciting and unnecessary procedures. Trust me, I don’t love the idea of injecting a cocktail of hormones into my body for a month of my life, getting the eggs sucked out of my ovaries with a long needle to be injected with  sperm only to then have to wait to see if any embryos were even created. Then a few days later, have said embryo injected back into my uterus in hopes that I’ll be pregnant. Most rational people would never go through this unless there was truly no other option. The fact IVF is considered an elective procedure and not a medical necessity is beyond me.

I know. I’m a ray of sunshine. But seriously, one reason I write is to get all my thoughts about this process out into the open. And thus far, they tend to not be the most positive thoughts. I have it better than so many in that we have stable incomes, supportive family and friends, fertility coverage, etc. It’s still so stressful though, even with all those advantages. I can only imagine what it’s like for others who don’t have a great support system or any medical coverage for infertility.

I’m trying to get myself pumped up for the IVF consultation because at least then we’ll be doing something. I’ve also looked up the next information meeting for foster care adoption and it’s the 13th. In this process, the only thing that keeps me going is having a next action. Otherwise it just feels like lots of waiting and biding time. Staying focused on the future and how we can possibly grow our family gives us enough hope to schedule another appointment and try another month. Here’s to a productive Cycle 14.

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