What IF* Part II.

April 29, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Posted in Infertility | 5 Comments

I’m on the phone with my sister, who tells me that she’s despairing of spending the money and time on IUIs when they’re not working.

I talk with my friend D, struggling with secondary IF, who tells me that they’re quickly running out of options, since infertility is not covered under her insurance.

Though there are times where I despair at the fact that we have to go to a doctor to conceive, I know that J and I are fortunate in that ALL of our medical procedures were covered under my insurance. And because I live in Massachusetts, a state which mandates coverage for fertility procedures, I have the luxury of CHOOSING whether or not we use IVF again to conceive a sibling for O. I may pay the $800 storage fee for our embryos, but when it comes time to the $5,000 procedure to thaw them and transfer them, I don’t have to worry about money.

I often wonder: what if we didn’t live in Massachusetts? What would we have done?

Because our case was unique. The male factor was severe enough that we weren’t candidates for IUI. I went through one fresh and three frozen IVF cycles with “perfect” embryos before my doctor, after more MRIs and a laparascopy, figured out that my uterine anomaly was a really rare combination of a septate/bicornuate uterus.

Do the math. One fresh cycle of IVF costs about $20,000. FETs cost $5,000 each. No WAY would J and I have had $35,000 to spend on fertility treatments. Actually, if I’m more honest, we wouldn’t have had $20,000 to spend on IVF in the first place. Maybe we could have cobbled together enough money for that first cycle, but when it failed we probably would have had to quit.

And my path would look VERY different today if that were the case.

Which is why, the day that O was placed into my arms for the first time, I made my peace with our infertility.

He’s here NOW. He’s perfect, and I love him no matter HOW he was conceived.

Because though sometimes I feel like IF took away my ability to create life?

It gave me my HEART. My O.

And I despair when I hear my sister and my friend D talk about the money they’re “wasting” on treatments.

It shouldn’t BE this way.

Yes. It’s unfair that people can’t make babies in their own beds, conceived only of the love they have for each other and their family.

That’s the emotional side of infertility that never goes away. It surprised me, truth be told. Lately, every time I get AF, it’s like I have to deal with accepting our infertility all over again. And it sucks.

But it’s even WORSE to have to accept that my sister and my friend D may NEVER complete their family.

Because they can’t afford it.

That’s the real injustice here.

I’m just saying.


*This post is Part II of part of Project IF, the effort by RESOLVE and Mel of Stirrup Queens to highlight consequences of infertility as part of National Infertility Awareness Week. It’s an amazing project and you really should go over there to see what other people have come up with.



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  1. Amen, sister! Having done two IVF/ICSI cycles, I can not imagine having to pay for them–as so many others have. And it adds to the whole unfairness of infertility.

  2. I often think, “What if I lived in MA?” : – P

    Our fresh IVF/ICSI was about $11,000, without meds, in St. Louis. Midwest IVF prices seem to be higher than on the East Coast (fewer clinics/patients?). Ours was paid entirely out of pocket. Thank God it worked on the first cycle, because that was really all we could afford — and we were NOT going to go into debt for this; we are way too debt averse. I didn’t think it was right to go into debt and not be able to give the resulting child some sense of financial security. Nor did we want to take such a huge gift from my parents, although they offered to pay for a second cycle.

    There is no mandated IF insurance in MO — not even for diagnosis. It’s very unjust. Luckily our testing, (worthless) varicocele repair, and IUI cycles were covered by my insurance under a former employer, for which I paid $250/month for COBRA, just for my own coverage and just to keep the $10K maximum lifetime infertility benefit. But then we switched to D.’s small-employer insurance, which has absolutely no infertility coverage and really lousy OB coverage, as we have come to find out.

    I tell a lot of people to move to Illinois for superior IF coverage. (I also tell a lot of people to skip IUIs.)

    We did get a nice tax refund the following year, though; that’s how many people fund the next cycle (IVF is fully deductible).

  3. So true and so well said. My own situation mirrors yours in many ways — male factor severe enough to require IVF with ICSI; severe uterine septum that required abdominal metroplasty; 3 IVFs (including one that ended in a miscarriage) to bring home my one perfect son who is now 21 months old. My company is based in MA, and while I have never lived there, I have been so fortunate to be able to have my MA-based insurance that covers up to 6 IVF cycles. I often think about what would have happened if I had NOT worked for this company in the past five years when we discovered our infertility and needed to pursue IVF — I imagine we could have cobbled together enough for a first IVF cycle, but when that failed (as mine indeed did), what would have been the next step? We are too practical with our finances to ever consider going into debt for something like this with such an uncertain outcome. I imagine we would have immediately started the international adoption process, which has its own high costs and extreme ups and downs but would have hopefully ended in another happy ending for us, just via a different route. But yes, I realize just how fortunate I am and just how unfair it is that so many people in similar situations do not have the options I have had.

  4. agreed, John and I have had some very disheartening conversations lately about how we can’t take a vacation this year…at all..at least we shouldn’t, because our Infertility cost us so much money, we are in debt and now when I have children that I wanted to give a better life than I had, more trips, the experiences early in their life of places like the Caribbean and Europe , we can’t. Not yet. It breaks my heart.
    Also , NJ is a mandated state (and we work here) but because we are a private company, our company decides if they will cover IF…and they decided NO…so here we are. Parents of babies we love and deep in debt, it infuriates me…that this is the way this had to happen.

    My heart breaks for every couple in this situation. I often say that IF is bad enough and takes so much from you but then the $$$ aspect and how far you are willing to go to have that baby…it’s just the most unfair thing. It adds insult to injury. It hurts me deep down.

  5. I feel her pain. Having infertility coverage would be a dream come true for us and we’d be heading down a different path instead of quitting. After five IUI’s and a fresh IVF, we have spent well over $25,000. Probably more when you add up all the diagonostic and other randome tests and procedures. Not only does my insurance not cover IF treatments but it doesn’t cover once cent of testing or monitoring. It is so unfair. Especially when things like Via*gra and those patches to quit smoking are covered. It just plain sucks. I wish I lived in your state. 😦

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