Posts Tagged ‘IVF Costs’

IVF Begins in 39 Hours

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Say what?! This is our last weekend. Last weekend not IVFing. Last weekend not pregnant. Last weekend not as parents. Part of me screams YAY!! and the other part is like – have we really given this some thought?

Tonight Shelton and I are going to pull all of the needles and drugs out, the handbook from the clinic and make sure that we understand everything. Or that at least for the first Lupron shot on Tuesday morning we understand.

I’m going to call “M” tomorrow, our IVF coordinator, to see if I can stop by for a minute. I just want to have a last minute dress rehearsal to make sure we’ve got this.

I also need to inquire about the amount of Lupron we received. I have a bag with dozens of needles in it, but only one bottle with 2mg of Lupron. I also feel like an idiot because it says to take 5 iu of Lupron …. but I don’t know how much that is and my needles start at 10 of something. So, going to check in to that.

Shelton and I are also supposed to make our final payment of $9200 to the clinic tomorrow, so we have to sit down tonight and shuffle some things around. An unexpected car bill of almost $3,000 last week is kind of throwing a wrench into things. But we’ll figure it out, right?

I’ve reached out to a few former IVF/infertility friends. Each of whom used our clinic and each have cutie patootie babies now and war stories to prove it. I just want to know what to expect. I’m being told I’ll lose my mind with the Lupron. That I won’t know how bad it is until later, when Shelton can safely recount the events that unfolded. And most importantly that we should talk. Talk now. Talk during. Just communicate with one another. So we’re doing that now. Talking. On my best days I’m impatient, stubborn and “always right.” On his best days Shelton is two of those three things. I accept Shelton’s annoyance with this and more times than not apologize. I told Shelton that I’m not going to use the drugs as an excuse, but if I seem irrational or cry because he put the toilet paper on the holder the wrong way (and YES there IS a right and wrong way to do that) – then he can’t hold it against me.

During the next few weeks as we go through the IVF my plan is to post here each day. As promised I want to capture and share this entire IVF experience with all of you … some of whom have been waiting three long years for this, too! I’ve warned family and friends not to get too concerned if they receive bizarre text messages from me. Odds are it’s the drugs talking and I’m not hiding alone in a closet somewhere holding the dog for ransom.

Folks, it’s getting very, very close. I welcome you along for the ride and make no guarantees or promises about what you’re going to see and hear here. What I do promise is honesty, regular updates and a frankness that will make most of us blush.

Houston, lift-off in T-minus 39 hours…

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Monday, June 29th, 2009

Today I had my sonohystogram. It was the first I’ve seen Dr. T since our IVF consultation last November, and it was definitely a welcome visit. It’s always a welcome visit. I adore Dr. T. In fact, I wish there were some way to make him my all-the-time-everything doctor because I so would. He has a bedside manner unlike any doctor I’ve ever been around. He isn’t patronizing and he doesn’t dumb down information, but he definitely makes it digestible. He makes you feel like you’re the only other patient in the entire building, and while we both know that I’m not, I appreciate having his undivided attention the entire time I’m with him. He calls me kiddo, which I think is sweet. He’s thorough, and honest, kind, and I’ll even go so far as to say pretty good looking, too!

I went in roughly knowing what was happening with this procedure, but not one hundred percent. I’d done my Google homework last night, but the results only yielded information for a hysterosalpingogram, in which they inject dye to investigate the fallopian tubes, uterus and the rest of the hoo-hah business. So while I knew it wasn’t going to be as invasive as that, I wasn’t quite sure what we were doing. He walked in and asked if I had any questions, so I told him I just wanted to be clear about the procedure. Using one of those super cute plastic vagina models (that would make a great paper weight) he explained that they’d run a very thin catheter into my uterus, fill with saline to expand the uterus, and then use a vaginal ultrasound to take a thorough look at my uterus. This is to ensure there are no detrimental surprises the day we do the embryo transfer.

I was told I would be uncomfortable and feel some cramping due to the catheter. It wasn’t until he told me the catheter was in that I realized he’d done it. So that was good. The speculum was one of the most uncomfortable parts, as was the ultrasound probe.

On the screen I could see a teardrop shape and he explained that it was my uterus. The conversation was very reminiscent of the one in which Dr. T told me what beautiful, healthy ovaries I have. He said that I have a “textbook, beautiful uterus.” (I hope he’s never tried to use that as a pick-up line!) So that was great news. The other good news was that typically when Dr. T and I do these little ultrasounds the screen is littered with giant ovarian cysts. I’ve had two surgeries because of these things and a number of years in quite a bit of pain and discomfort. Fortunately, they seem to have disappeared recently and there were no signs of them today. Ovaries looked good, too.

I got the good to go from Dr. T!

We had a discussion about the number of embryos that we’ll transfer. I assured him that we were solid on our decision to only transfer a single embryo. This pleased him, and reassured me that it was the right choice for us for several reasons, primarily being that we’re healthy, we’ll get plenty of good embryos, and we can come back for more.

The rest of the day I had just minor spotting and some slight cramping, but otherwise, this procedure was completely manageable.

Finally, Shelton and I made a brief visit to the lab to have blood drawn. We both had to be screened for Hepatitis B and C and HIV I/II. I had to have ABO and Rh blood typing done as well.

Today’s total was $425 for the sono and $385 for the labs. Plus, I started my second pack of birth control pills today ($26). See our progress and IVF expenses here.

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Man Surgery Explained

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Shelton and I received our packet in the mail from his surgeon, the urologist, Dr. G., tonight. Inside was a stack of paperwork with instructions for the weeks and day leading up to his surgery. He can’t take anything that relieves pain, basically. No eating the night before. Abstinence for about five days prior. Pretty standard stuff. He and I both have required labs for HIV and Hepatitis that we’re taking care of on Monday.

I was kind of shocked to read that the surgery could take four hours. And the following conversation took place over dinner:

Me: Four hours is a long time. None of my surgeries ever took four hours.

Him: Take a lap top, you’ll be there for a while. This is going to suck balls.

Me: Ha… Ha…. you said suck balls. And your surgery will literally be…

Him: Nice one!

If you can’t have an immature puntastic laugh once in a while and share it with the Internet, what fun is this anyway?!

Here is my VERY layman’s attempt to explain the surgery. The purpose is to obtain the sperm, since they don’t have any other way out. (Basically has a natural vasectomy.) They’ll make a small incision in the aforementioned body part, insert a small “vacuum,” and draw out the sperm. A rep from the fertility clinic will be on hand to assess the quality of the sperm, and Shelton will remain “open” the entire time. They will not “close” until they are certain they have everything they need.

This will also be the first time we’ve ever seen his sperm sample, so fingers crossed we’ve got a few Michael Phelps swimmers in there!

Surgery takes place July 14; also that morning I take my very first shot of Lupron. What a really fun day that’s going to be!! Maybe we’ll go to Home Depot and Bed Bath and Beyond too if we have time!

In our original estimates, this surgery was supposed to cost us about $7,000 (out of pocket). The bill we received today (as everything has to be paid in advance) totals $4,467 (out of pocket). More unexpected savings making our total investment $3,000 less than originally expected.

See here for a running total of our IVF expenses.

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Big Box of IVF Needles and Fertility Drugs

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Earlier this week I received a phone call from the pharmacy filling our fertility drug order. I confirmed all of the pertinent details and then reviewed the order. They had the Doxycycline, Ovidrel, Progesterone in oil and Gonal-F, plus needles. I referenced the list we’d received in IVF class, and everything checked out. I had to call back with some insurance information, knowing it was really a waste of time because they weren’t going to cover any of this. Once I confirmed that I was told they would process my order through insurance and call the next day with a final total.

Yesterday, I received that call. I told the rep that if she hears a loud thump it was me falling out my chair. I think she was too busy to have a sense of humor and with a very concerned tone asked if I was OK. I laughed and told her I was just dreading the total. So drum roll please…. she ran the card and announced that we would be charged $1781.21. I didn’t fall out of my chair. In fact, I was rather relieved by that number. Don’t ask me why spending $1800 on prescriptions is relieving, but I expected an amount far surpassing that. Plus, we got our needles complimentary so that made the entire thing sound like a bargain!

I was told that FedEx would deliver the package tomorrow morning (today) between 8 and 3 and that someone had to be here so that the Gonal and Ovidrel could be refrigerated. At 8:15 the doorbell rang and our package had arrived. I signed. Walked back inside. Placed the box on the floor. And started bawling. I just kept saying “it’s here, I can’t believe we’re doing this, we’re actually doing this.” I think a part of me had just believed we were going to let time get away from us and one day it would be ten years later and there still wouldn’t be a baby. But that’s not the case. We are doing this. We are actually doing this.

So I had a good hearty cry this morning and then followed instructions and took inventory of the package. Two things were wrong:
1. My sharps container was missing. The container for the used needles. Don’t ask me why but I am so excited about that sharps container. It feels so official. I mean, how many people do you know what a needle box in their house? (If you can answer that… maybe you shouldn’t!)

2. My receipt was small. As in, a lot less than I was quoted less than 24 hours previously. $1142.66.

I called the pharmacy and I was told they would get my sharps container in the mail (damn right!), and then asked about the total. Don’t get me wrong, I’m jumping for joy over here. I saved $600 without even trying. I just wanted to confirm that a mistake hadn’t been made and which of the two charges we were actually incurring. Lucky us, it was the lower amount.

I promptly moved my drugs to the lower shelf of the fridge (behind the negro modelo) and then moved on.

I think when we have kids and we’re inevitably faced with the dreaded “how are babies made” question, I’ve got an easy answer. They come in a box. It’s like a model airplane kit. Except more expensive and more painful. The stork sends a box full of supplies and then you just make a baby. And a man, not your father, puts on the finishing touches, and wah-lah, you have a baby.

It should also be noted that two of my drugs are missing from the above list – Lupron and Menopur. We found out this week that our entire doses for both are being donated. I can’t even tell you how excited we were to learn this news. I’m not sharing specifics because I honestly don’t know what the disclosure parameters are with this and I don’t want to disrespect or cross a line I shouldn’t. But the parties responsible are likely reading this and we just want you to know that we are incredibly grateful. I’m not sure how those two items would have impacted our total Rx bill, but I am so very thankful that they didn’t. Hopefully we’ll have a fast cycle and we’ll be able to return the favor!!

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The IVF Training Packet

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Yesterday Shelton brought in the mail and there was a large yellow envelope. I’m still 12-years-old when it comes to mail – if it looks exciting I want to tear into it immediately. I grabbed the envelope and found it had come from our fertility clinic. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but tore it open and inside I found our IVF training packet. And I froze. It was this bizarre moment and I have no idea what came over me, but I started crying. Shelton gave me one of those odd half-laughs that I’m used to getting (when I sob uncontrollably during the Grey’s Anatomy season finale) and asked what was wrong. I just shrugged and said I wasn’t sure why I was crying.

For so long, five years to be exact, this “IVF thing” has been this “thing” we’re “going” to do. We’re eight weeks away from needles and hormones and lab work and the whole thing is getting very, very real. That packet just represented the reality of what we’re about to dive head first into. It included the information for our IVF prep class. It’s a $195 fee and we’ll spend four hours with the clinic nurses learning the whosy-whatsits of our IVF cycle. More specifically “review specific aspects of IVF, teach medication protocols, and answer general questions.” We’re supposed to read the 55 page handbook that includes a glossary of terms we’re going to hear, instructions, an FAQ, medication explanation, the emotional aspects, lab work and a pile of consent forms.


Here We Go

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

So here’s some news. We’re ready to start this whole baby making business. We visited with our fertility specialist this morning, kind of a second “first time” appointment in which we discussed the schedule and procedures. I’ve been anticipating doing this in September 2009, but it looks like we’ll be doing their July/August cycle. All goes well and as planned, I should be pregnant this time next year!

The procedures that we’ll be using are ICSI, IVF, and MESA (microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration, a surgical procedure to retrieve sperm). We had a long and informative conversation with the clinic’s insurance coordinator. She walked us through each and every expense, and the total bill is $18,407. That’s Shelton’s entire MESA (about $4,000 cash), all of my medications/Rxs (about $3,500 cash), the IVF procedure ($8,000 cash), all the sonograms, hysterosalpingograms, blood work, IVF class, tests for hepatitis and HIV in both Shelton and I, lab work and freezing (about $3,000 cash).

All I can say is, this baby had BETTER love me! haha

We’re looking at doing the MESA in January, the class in the spring, I’ll start my cycle of birth control in June and then mid-July start taking my injections and then egg retrieval/IVF in early August. I know it’s going to come so quickly. I’ve been on the verge of happy and nervous tears all day long. So who knows, maybe on our seventh anniversary in August, we’ll find out we get to be parents.

The doctor was confident, given our health and young age, that we’ll have ample eggs and being able to transfer a single embryo successfully.

I know it’s been quiet around here for a while, but we’ve just been trying to decide the best time to try to start our family. We hope 2009 turns out to be that time for us and we’ll of course continue to update as things happen. It’s going to be one heck of a ride and we’re excited to take all of you along with us.