Let me start this off by saying I’m completely exhausted and starting to feel a little delirious so I apologize in advance for any typos.
Today, July 25th, 1978, Louise Brown was born to her parents via In-vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF was meant to help women who are struggling conceiving have a family. IVF has also changed the lives of so many people. But there is one thing we still have a long way to go and that’s insurance coverage.
When you are going through anything infertility related most insurances won’t cover your costs. For example, over the last two years Russell and I have had a multitude of ultrasounds, each costing $200 each. That also did not include the trigger shots when we did the IUI’s. Those were an extra $150 and if I remember correctly his semen analysis was another $400. At the time we were getting ultrasounds we were going every two weeks or so. Then the IUI, again is a pre step to IVF cost $1200 each time and we did that twice. So as you can see we have spent so much as it is only to have the results be the same: negative pregnancy tests. So here we are back on Lupron aka the devils juice until we get our funds together to put down our down payment.
There are just two things I think we as a society forget about when we think of infertility; male infertility and insurance coverage. I bring up male infertility because it is a very real thing. Some men have low sperm count and some don’t. Some men’s sperm don’t discharge the right way and the result is not getting pregnant. Men can have just as hard of a time conceiving as a women. And we also aren’t thinking of our gay and transgender brothers and sisters who have a desire to become a parent and their journey is even harder. (We’ll delve deeper into that in another blog!)
The second issue I don’t think IVF and the many organizations that provide IVF for women is the cost. All the numbers I’m sharing with you are what we have to pay for, out of pocket. Like I mentioned before most insurance, unless you’re a nurse or in the military, nothing is covered. Also, if the statement I just said is wrong please correct me! I am not in either of those categories and I have basic insurance. Quick side story– I have trouble getting my Lupron to through to insurance and I went to my local pharmacy and asked how much it would be if I paid for it out of pocket. Any guesses? $5000!!!!!!!!! For one shot! So thankfully I have the best team at Kettering Reproductive Medicine and they were able to get that covered for me. Other than that medication nothing is covered. Our down payment is $9,183. This includes physician’s fees, ultrasounds, egg retrieval, embryo transfer and so on. This does not include anesthesia which is another $630 and when we have left over embryo’s we plan to freeze them and that’s another $700 per year. Keep in mind these numbers also don’t include the $4000 in medication we will have to pay. Don’t ya just love having insurance but it really don’t help when you need it most.
I think we have failed as a society to make this a top priority. Not only does it affect the person who is going through infertility but it also affects the couple too. I will not talk negatively about my husband in any way shape or form because that’s not right. But I will say infertility has changed us. We’ve been through way more ups than downs but when we have a down day it’s a day. And usually our down days are because of infertility related things. Infertility is a very overwhelming process for us both and there are many days I’m in pain and he has no idea what to do. He stresses about me a lot because I push my body a lot more than I probably should. He worries a lot because I share with him my fears and what could/couldn’t happen. But at the end of the day we are fighting this fight together. And let me tell you the guilt I feel is unreal. Because we both have been tested and his analysis came back so perfect I do feel guilty because at the end of the day my reproductive system doesn’t function correctly and now we are coming up with money to pay for all of this. But don’t you worry he still has me belly laughing everyday and I believe laughter, strength and Russell are getting me through this.
One last thing and I will go. I love that IVF was created for people who naturally couldn’t conceive. But for many of the 1 in 8 women suffering from infertility have thousands of dollars to drop at the office right then and there? We don’t. We have to ask our family and friends for help because we can’t do this alone. I know they say it takes a village to raise a baby but it also takes a village to help make one too. I wish our Congressmen and woman would go to one IVF appointment to see what it’s like. To experience the ups and downs in a matter of minutes. I want them to see the happy tears of couples seeing their babies for the first time and hearing their heartbeat. And I also want them to see the pain, sadness and hurt when a couple finds out their cycle failed. Each emotion is extremely powerful to go through (again we aren’t thee yet but I have friends going it).
Our government should tale a look at how expensive IVF is and adjust the law accordingly. But I do believe that $15,000 for something that may not work and you don’t get your money back if something goes wrong needs to change. We need our voices to be heard. And you can count on my to continue writing, border line harassing, someone to listen to em.And if I can do it you can too!
Until Next Time