fuzzy math

$20,000 is a lovely round number, the kind that is easy to imagine.  The kind of number that can change lives.

  • It is 2000 antimalarial bed nets.
  • It is four times the annual operating budget of the nonprofit that initiated the project I premiered last week.
  • It is more than the remaining balance on my student loans.
  • It is 9  months’ wages.
  • It is greater than the per-capita GDP* of all but the wealthiest nations.
  • It is the estimated cost of one cycle of IVF, according to the RE I saw last year.

To some degree any discussion of ART for me is academic.  My insurance won’t cover anything but testing–so while my  husband and I could likely swing a couple of natural-cycle IUIs, anything else is going to be beyond our reach.  Short some kind of sea change in our circumstances, I am never going to be able to come up with that $20,000.

I am not poor.  On a global scale I am almost unimaginably wealthy, and for that I am grateful.  I am humble–I didn’t do anything to deserve this privilege, and I give back what I can.  I am confident that if I were to have a child, my husband and I would raise him or her with love, care, and adequate means.  But I don’t have $20,000.

Does that mean I don’t want a child badly enough?  If I have to stop short of IVF, does that mean I didn’t really try?  And if I know going in that I can’t afford to use the RE’s best tools, why am I going to see him?

*Measured by purchasing power; I am aware that per-capita GDP is a difficult thing to pin down and that there are several ways of measuring it, giving sometimes very different results.  That’s why I didn’t give a specific number of countries.  Any statisticians or economists who can help me think through this?  It’s something I would like to understand better.  So far my understanding of economics comes mainly from reading Jeffrey Sachs and Paul Krugman with limited comprehension.


5 responses to “fuzzy math

  1. Sarcastic LOL @ the number-crunching. Not laughing at you, but laughing at the suckpin my insurance for IF is too.

    My insurance covers a lot of nth. And all our cycles have come out of our pocket, including the IVF.

    It hurts.

    And no, it is not because you did not try enough.

    When I die, I will ask God as to how people can have sex in gutters and still conceive, and how can some women be so unlucky as to have been raped and yet have conceived.

    This is called inequity.

  2. Man, that’s sucky, sucky, sucky. To feel like possibilities are just closed to you because of circumstance, while simultaneously being unable to really regret those circumstances because they are so great compared to those of most humans…. Blech! I would say that many clinics offer payment programs that might make the possibility of IVF more real, if it turns out you need it. And if by natural IUI you mean no injectables, not everyone needs the costly injectables. Clomid is quite cheap, and the trigger is pretty cheap too. (Our Clomid-IUI cycles cost around $600 including meds, with no insurance coverage–not spare change, but not out of reach.) So you could get some medicated goodness for not much money. And my RE is always talking about what he would recommend if I can’t afford IVF, so don’t feel like it’s pointless to see one just because that might not be an option. Though I hope you won’t have to go there. I hope, of course, that if you don’t get pregnant on your own or with IUI, a magic shower of gold will land (gently) upon you! Anyway, I love the perspective of this post, but hate the idea of you worrying about it. (Oh, and thanks for the shout out the other day, and for your kind support!)

  3. We had to stop after 3 failed IUI cycles and the 4 was canceled due to HUGE cycsts. The money facto does not mean that you don’t want a child bad enough, or that you did not try. There is a stopping point for everyone. Go to the RE and find out with in your means what the RE can do for you. You might just be surprised at what they could do for you.
    Good luck,

  4. Yeah, well, there’s always the state lottery… 🙂

    Maybe I’ll go buy a ticket.

  5. First time visitor via LFCA.

    I don’t think that not being able to pay $20K for IVF means you didn’t try hard enough. My husband and I don’t plan to go down that path either, though we arguably could afford it (by going into debt for most of the cost).

    It is very unfortunate that financial considerations have to play such a large role in these very personal decisions.

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