Bryan and I had our IVF consult appointment on Friday. Now that the marathon is over, while I’ll still run and do small races until I’m told not to, we/I are changing focus to the second reason I initially started this blog: starting a family.
While the HCG shots seem to have help with sperm reproduction, we still don’t have enough for anything but an IVF. Our RE kept reiterating what good news this was. Sometimes I forget that – that we started with zero and could have ended with zero. It’s hard not to compare us to the “norm”. One thing struck me while sitting in the waiting room. There were at least 10 other people there, and more that walked out while we waited. I felt both sympathetic to and encouraged by the presence of others in my situation. It’s also hard to remember sometimes that we aren’t alone.
First, we met with the RE. He reviewed Bryan’s labs from the VA. He told us that because Bryan’s testosterone and FSH levels were in the normal range, there was a decent chance that his swimmmer issue wasn’t 100% testosterone shot related. The problem is that they give men testosterone but don’t have any reason to test sperm production and so they don’t, meaning that its difficult to tell if the problem is new, or was always there. He basically said that we could wait and see, but our chances that we would be sitting in those two chairs again a year from now with the same result were pretty good.
Bryan asked a few questions, and then the RE delved into the protocol he would have me follow (if I remember it correctly). The entire process takes about 60 days from start to finish. The first month will be fairly simple – I’ll be taking meformin (a diabetic drug, because people with PCOS tend to have similar insulin issues as a diabetic) to improve egg quality, and be on birth control pills for 3 weeks. During that time I’ll also have to get a hysterosonogram to check my uterine cavity and a mock egg transfer. After the birth control pills come the injections and needles. First, Lupron, which is supposed to delay ovulation (I think), then at some point Follistim, HCG and FSH, the timing of each correlating with my eggs growing and the day of retrieval. During the second month, a million ultrasounds to monitor egg growth. On the day of the retrieval, I’ll be put to sleep for about 30 minutes and sent home for the rest of the day. The eggs will be fertilized and sent to an embryologist who will watch them divide and choose the best ones. If we are lucky, we will have extra to freeze. 1-2 will be chosen from the best, and transfered on day 3 or 5 after retrieval, depending on quality. A blood pregnancy test is scheduled 14 days after retrieval. At some point I get to start shoving progesterone into my lady parts, which sounds just awesome. He gave us a 65% chance.
And to think, some people just need to have s.e.x.
From the RE’s office we met with our nurse coordinator, who basically explained the schedule and told me what blood work I’d need to get done before we could start (which I had known that while we still had Bryan’s insurance).
Then we were off to see the financial lady, who so lovingly brought my head out of the clouds of possiblity by showing me a piece of paper detailing exactly how much this possibility is going to cost.
Apparently it really depends. The cost of the procedure is fixed, and is based on using 6 ultrasounds and blood draws. If your body responds well and you don’t need as many, you’ll have a posititve balance, but if you need more, you’ll owe. Medications aren’t included. Testing before you get started isn’t included. If you have extra embryos to freeze, that isn’t included. Add it all together, and we are looking at a range of about 15-17k.
There are refund programs. One allows for 3 fresh cycles (as described above) and three frozen (transfering a frozen embryo) and if you don’t take home a baby, you get 70% or so of your money back. If you take home a baby first try, you still owe the grand total. Another is a non refund discount plan, where essentially you pay for 2 fresh and 2 frozen cycles at a discounted rate. If you don’t take home a baby, you’re out the money. If you take home a baby first try, you’re out the extra money. But the cost of the cycles is about 30% less than if you pay for each individually. Neither includes medications (another 2k per cycle).
I left with a headache.
It makes sense when I think about it though. I think I managed to run through about 10 different emotions in the course of two hours, ranging from excitement to anxiety, hopefulness and worry, trepidation and possibility.
We’re gonna do it. The question is just when (shooting possibly for April), and how? (i.e. do we go with paying per cycle or do we try the multi cycle).
January 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm
For probably same amt of money and big tax write offs u could adopt and at least have a guarantee of a baby instead of a chance of a baby, in the end the goal is a baby. The chance thing would cause me concern, especially for the cost of the chance. There are lots of babies out there who need 2 loving parents, who won’t ever get that if people don’t consider adoption. Just a thought. Good luck either way.
January 16, 2012 at 7:32 pm
I don’t know if you’ll come back to read this or not, but actually the tax break for adoption ended in December 2011. We have looked into adoption, and the whole process is not as easy as it sounds. It’s very lengthy, expensive, and there are also failed adoptions just as there are failed IVF procedures. I actually considered adoption for awhile, but want the experience of being pregnant and creating a baby, even if in a lab. However, adopting in the future is a definite possibility.
January 16, 2012 at 9:50 pm
Praying for you and Bryan as the two of you sort through all the information. Can’t imagine the highs and lows you have felt and will continue as you pursue parenthood. I love the desire God has put in your heart to be an incredible mom. I know that is no mistake. Praying for Peace (the kind with a capital P) that overwhelms you!
January 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm
Thanks Erin – I appreciate all the thoughts and prayers I can get!
January 16, 2012 at 10:31 pm
You know where I stand. IVF was the very best money we ever spent. It sounds like you have a serious math assignment, which could involve charting and tons of probability. 🙂 But hey, at least you don’t have to chart your temperature anymore!
Having sex is overrated. Sterile environments produce superior children. But maybe I’m biased.
Congratulations on making a huge decision. I’ll be your ready IVF buddy if you need me.
January 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm
Thanks. Now I just need to decide which payment method to go with. And here I thought the decision making would be over after I decided to do it!
January 17, 2012 at 1:35 am
I know the thought of the money is so overwhelming. Just pick the option that you feel the most comfortable with and go into it feet running. 65% is pretty good! Hopefully this is what you guys need to bring home a baby.
January 17, 2012 at 12:48 pm
You’re probably right. Its a gamble regardless of which plan we choose. I SUCK at gambling too because I want all the information to make an informed decision, and with this one, it just doesn’t work that way.
January 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm
Thank you for sharing your story. I have had a hard time finding out the details and costs of IVF. I have been TTC for over 18 months. Right now, I need an emotional break. But it is nice to find people on the internet who I can relate to.
January 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm
Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad I was able to help some. Infertility is such an emotional rollercoaster that no one should have to go through alone. Keep in mind that each fertility center runs a bit differently and there is probably somewhat of a cost difference too, but at least you now have an idea. I hope your break helps you recharge. You are definitely not alone.
January 17, 2012 at 8:22 pm
Well it sounds like you have a good plan in place… just gotta figure out the when and how. And oooh the How part sucks. I hate how finances impact our decisions so much. I hate that we even have to consider all of this. Like you said… to think other people can just have s.e.x! gah!
January 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm
You are doing everything you can! I read your list of drugs and tests and realized I did all the same stuff! I really believe I wouldn’t have ended up with any kids if it hadn’t been for IVF. It is a miracle. I was lucky in that it happened on the first try, but my girlfriend who was 42 got pregnant with twins on her third try and despite the cost etc. she now has those babies! I’m excited for you!