Monday, April 25, 2011

IVF & the Broken Piggy Bank

**Side note:  I wanted to apologize for being such a terrible blogger & commenter this ICLW.  With the news of my uncle passing, and now also hearing that my grandmother's cancer has spread wildly, I admit to being in a mostly foul temper and not much good company to anyone.  Thank you so much to everyone for your comments and words of support and condolences.  I really appreciate each and every one.**

I wanted to take a stab at another NIAW treat circulating in the Blogosphere, as I think it is a subject we've all got a thing or two to speak on.  Lori Lavender Luz of Write Mind, Open Heart, is asking us all to think about the following questions and just what are the "Dollars and Sense of Family Building."

Consider your now or future children as adults, and consider the fact that you had to spend money to either conceive them or make them part of your family. What effect do you think the latter will have on the former one day? What, do you think, your grown children might feel about the funds it took to create your family?
    My hope: That my children will understand that the cost to bring them into this world can not even begin to equal how much they were wanted, and that in the end we were just lucky and grateful to be able to afford the treatments.

    Sure we may not have any money left now for a nice nursery or a lead/mouse-free apartment, or college, but I'm hoping they won't dwell on that.  Or maybe they will, and it will give them the drive to become their own IF champions, making sure that every infertile man and woman has the insurance/adoption coverage/aid they need to build their family.

    How did/would you handle it if your child asks you, “Mom, how much did I cost?” How would you answer at age 7? At age 18?  
    I think I would try to be honest, but explain that it doesn't really matter.  Anything we spent was just because we wanted him/her so fiercely, and in the end we got him/her, so really it was more like winning the lottery.

    When calculating the costs of your family building, what do you include? The direct costs are easy (such as RE fees for a cycle or homestudy fees), but what about fees that didn’t directly lead to your child’s existence in your life, such as cycles that didn’t work, adoption outreach avenues that didn’t work, failed adoptions, avenues that were explored (and that cost something) but not pursued, etc.?

    I count everything from the doctor visits and tests, to acupuncture and herbs.  I also count the lost work hours from all the office visits, depression, etc. and of course, my lost sense of self. 

    This is a vague figure I keep in my brain for no real reason but to push me keep fighting for a voice for the IF community and for change in how insurance companies view IF treatments.

    To what extent have finances determined the family-building decisions you have made? How have you able to balance financial considerations against other factors such as medical, ethical, emotional…

    We live in an infertility coverage mandated state, but were somehow left out of that mandate due to a big fat loophole.  We didn't think we would be able to afford to see an RE, let alone start treatment, and I remember crying almost everyday, feeling completely broken and helpless to change anything. 

    In truth my husband and I had some of the worst fights of our marriage during this time - almost all concerning money, doctors, when or if to start treatment, and my anger at feeling I was alone in this fight without him or anyone.  I was convinced we would somehow make it work, and wanted to pay whatever it cost, while DH, ever practical, saw the mounting bills and wasted effort and was cautious.  At some point though, mainly through the fighting and talking, we passed a hurdle, and found ourselves on the same page.  We were ready to make the financial commitment, and to see where it led.

    The doctor laid it all out for us: we were getting nowhere fast with Clomid and my poor lining, injectibles were deemed very risky, and even using them, the repeated IUIs and ultrasounds scans could wind up costing us a a fortune with a low likelihood of actually producing a viable pregnancy.  IVF was the most expensive option, but we had a high chance of success.  We talked, we fought, we made a decision, we found the money...we got lucky. 



    IF Stories Project:

    A lot of you ladies have recently mentioned some brave words and thoughts about IF activism, and I've been reading them all and trying to figure out where exactly I fit in with this particularly "ism".  I want to do something to help other families going through IF, especially those that may not have access to or have found a community like ours, and I've think I found my idea.

    I know I'm not the best writer in the world, but I can edit, and have been known to compose some pretty decent short essays.  I have a feeling there are a lot of us like that out here in the blogosphere, as well as a lot of really fantastic writers, so I am making this proposition to you all:
    1. Send me your stories: Write down, in 2 - 4 pages (maybe a little more and I can help you edit it down), the story of your IF journey.  Feel free to write about the whole journey, or to just highlight the parts you feel have been the most poignant for you.  Also, feel free to pull from your blogs, but make sure to give me permission to use your writing when you send your email.  Here are some examples of topics, but please don't limit yourself to only these:
      • General Infertily
      • PCOS, Endometriosis, DOR, or other medical condition
      • Miscarriage/Loss
      • Pregnancy after infertility
      • Motherhood/Parenthood after infertility
      • Advanced maternal age 
      • Marriage/Love and IF
      • Single mom IF
      • Male perspectives on IF
      • Adoption after IF
      • A.R.T. adventures
      • Support groups
      • Male factor IF
    2. Make it anonymous or put your name or just put your age and town/state.  This is entirely up to you, but please provide me with a valid email address in case I need to contact you for any type of release or other legal issue.
    3. Share this post with your readers, hopefully spreading the word and bringing in many more varied stories.  
    The goal of all this:  I want to gather together a variety of personal stories from the blogospehere, edit them, bind them and hopefully publish them in a book.  I want to make your stories heard, and to give other infertile families a chance to learn from our community and to find support in it.   Each of our stories has the chance of connecting with at least one person, somewhere out there, and maybe making them feel just a little less alone as they journey through this difficult time in their lives, so this I vow to you all now - If you share your stories with me, I will fight to make them heard!

    Please send your submissions to:

    Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you,

    - KerriK


      1. Thanks for posting about finances. It's one of the biggest set-backs and stressors to us Infertiles. It's a great feeling to know other women are in the same position (even though we wouldn't wish it on anyone) because then we don't feel so alone.
        Knowing you risked everything to pay for IVF and had success makes me feel hope and that the money WILL be worth it.

      2. Thank you for joining in this important discussion. I'm so happy that your story is on its way to a happy ending.

        I like this: "Anything we spent was just because we wanted him/her so fiercely." Fierce is a good word here.

        Good luck with your editing project. If you haven't already, make sure to put it in the Lost & Found.

        Oh, and I added your link to the list of links.

      3. Oh wow, that is a really interesting post. I love the stuff you find and write about!!
        I'm so very sorry about your uncle and grandma, hun. Will be thinking of you and your family. HUGS!

      4. Stopping by for a hug on ICLW. Don't worry about commenting, I am so sorry for your loss and sad news. They always seem to come in waves.
        Love, Fran

        ICLW #131

      5. What a thought provoking post!


      6. Thanks so much for participating!

        That stinks about the loophole despite living in a mandated state. After the first couple of years of IF I seriously considered moving to a mandated state thinking that everything would automatically be taken care of (but instead moved to a non-mandated state then another one for job reasons).

        Sorry to hear about your uncle and grandmother.