Tag Archives: ivf

out of pocket

Since I just did my taxes (yeah, I know) and had to come up with a figure for medical expenses, I thought it might be illuminating to share exactly what we paid for the IVF cycle from beginning to end.

When I started my current job last May I was able to get on new health insurance, which has turned out to be better than what I had through my husband’s job before. Infertility treatment is still specifically excluded, but my current insurer is much more generous in parsing what they will and won’t cover. For example:

  • All office visits with the RE were $20 co-pays instead of totally out of pocket like before.
  • However, things that went on at those visits (ultrasounds, blood draws, etc.) were not covered.
  • My IVF drugs were partially covered (I still don’t understand why, but I didn’t want to question it in case they changed their minds!).
  • However, none of the procedures involved were covered at all.

So this is what an IVF cycle looks like financially, for someone with partial health insurance coverage and in a part of the country with very low cost of living relative to big cities.

Some more details about our cycle:

  • I was on relatively low doses of the stim drugs.
  • We ended up with 7 eggs retrieved, 5 mature.
  • We did ICSI and all 5 eggs fertilized.
  • We transferred 2 embryos on day 3 with assisted hatching; the other 3 didn’t make it to freeze.


Repeat of Day 3 bloodwork: $117.00 (not covered)

Clinic visit to discuss IVF: $20.00 (copay)

Repeat semen analysis: $165.00 (not covered)

STD blood panels: $55.12 (mine was fully covered; my husband’s was partially covered)

IVF meds: $1,100.44 (this is a copay – I was quoted about $2400 if the insurance hadn’t picked up some of it)

  • Gonal-F 300iu pen: $133.04
  • Gonal-F 900iu pen: $398.52
  • Ganirelix (4 doses): $132.22
  • Menopur 75iu (10 vials): $314.02
  • Novarel (HCG trigger): $50.83
  • Endometrin (32 doses): $71.81

Prepayment for IVF cycle: $10,578.00 (this was due in full on the day I started stims)

  • This was an estimated cost for everything involved with the cycle from the day I started stims to the second beta

Refills on Endometrin through 10 weeks of pregnancy: $188.50 (this is a copay, and also my clinic had a discount code that knocked about 1/3 off of the cost)

Refund from the prepayment: – $873.43 (because none of the embryos made it to freeze and we had fewer eggs than the estimate allowed for)




My life is so different now than it was a year ago. Two years ago. Three years ago. Four years ago.

Four years ago I was starting to wonder if there might be something wrong with me. Three years ago I was stuck. Unable to get pregnant, no diagnosis, and no idea what to do next. Two years ago my depression/anxiety was eating me alive. Last year we were grieving the third failed IUI and I was really coming to terms with the idea of IVF-or-never-have-a-baby.

And now? It’s like the magical Life Fairy has waved her little wand and made so many things better. I mean, obviously, Cayenne is almost freaking here (holy shit) and I am in a state of constant gratitude for that, but it goes beyond that as well, and a lot of it has to do with money.

I know I write about money a lot in this space and I probably seem a little obsessed with it, but it has really astonished me over the past year as I have watched how much of a difference it makes. People go on and on about how money doesn’t buy happiness, and they’re right to a certain degree, but on the other hand, yes it fucking does.

I would not be pregnant right now if I wasn’t able to borrow the money for the IVF cycle. It is so hard for me even to write that, but it’s true, and the sentence I’m about to write is so fucked up in so many ways that I almost can’t begin to parse it:

Cayenne would not exist if I hadn’t been able to pay for him.

Because my husband landed that magic tenure-track job (go husband!), and because I totally lucked into probably the only job in the world that actually uses my weird collection of skills, we are able to live in a way that wasn’t even thinkable for us in the first nine years of our marriage.

We have less debt every month now, not more. We are talking about buying a car that doesn’t come from Craigslist. When we needed to buy baby furniture, we just drove up to Ikea and bought it instead of spending weeks combing thrift stores. When I need new clothes, I go to the store and buy them. Sometimes I even pay full price. I like paying bills now because there is always enough money to pay all of them. I know I’m not supposed to care about stuff. I’m supposed to get all my happiness from intangibles and to meet life circumstances with equanimity. But really, there is a quality-of-life difference when I don’t have to live in fear of our 13-year-old car breaking down because how the hell will we get it fixed and then how will I get to work. Everything is easier now, and the only difference is money.

I make twice as much money as I used to; I’m not smarter, or harder-working, or more congenial, or more anything than I was then. They just pay me more. I’m also not smarter, or harder-working, or more congenial, than the similarly overqualified person who is now doing the job I used to do. So what, exactly, is different now that makes me deserving of this demonstrably better set of circumstances?* It feels like dumb luck.

And I keep circling back to Cayenne: am I somehow better, or more deserving, or more ready to be a parent than I was before, because this year I could come up with the necessary scratch for his conception?

I am going to love the living heck out of him (I already do), and I am going to teach him compassion and tolerance and how to make mashed potatoes, but I would have done all of that when I didn’t have any money too.

* And the ugly, sweat-drenched, 3-in-the-morning corollary: what makes me think it isn’t all going to vanish one day in an equally capricious way?

second beta

48 hours after the first one: 419.

My next appointment is for (get this) an ultrasound. Holy shit.

It’s really hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that this is really happening. I find myself a little surprised at the apparent depth of my belief that this was going to fail. It’s like I keep needing additional proof that it worked, and I suspect that by the time I have the ultrasound (a little over a week from now) I will have convinced myself I’m not actually pregnant.

This is a new and different mindfuck, ladies.

I’m trying to be unreservedly happy, but so far I’m stuck in this weird place of convincing myself over and over again that this is real, that I’m not actually going to whoops! get my period today* and it will all have been a sick joke.

Infertility: it gets you coming and going.

* Though, in an act of willful belief, I did take the tampons out of my purse today. That’s a step forward, right?



life and its beginning

This post is uncomfortable and you may not want to read it if you are in a bad place. It’s about the morality of IVF, whether embryos are people, and a super awkward conversation with my mother.

I called my mother yesterday to let her know that the beta result was good, and she was thrilled. Then, strangely, she asked me, “Do you believe life begins at conception?”

I gave her the most honest answer I could, which was that it depends on how you’re defining “life.” Fertilized eggs and embryos are not the same as babies, but they’re also not nothing. They’re not people yet, but they are most certainly alive. (What I didn’t add, of course, was that it also depends on how you define “conception.”)

This was insufficient, and she pressed me: “OK, now answer my question. Do you believe life begins at conception?”

I didn’t know what to do with this, so I said, “If you’re asking me if I think I killed three babies last week when those embryos stopped growing, the answer is no.”

She responded: “Well, I guess I’m just old-fashioned. I believe life begins at conception.”

WTF? Like, seriously, WTF?

Where was she going with this? I can’t even imagine. She has never breathed a word about being uncomfortable with IVF, but if she was implying what I think she was implying, what I just did that resulted in this (take a deep breath and say it) pregnancy was tragic at best and monstrous at worst: I created five PEOPLE, knowing they would not all survive, and presided over the deaths of four of them.*

I don’t think my mother really thinks I have killed four** children. I know she’s happy about this pregnancy. Which is why I just don’t know what to make of this conversation. In the moment, I changed the subject and we went on talking for a while, but I have been chewing on it ever since and I just can’t figure out what she was trying to get me to say. Has she just not thought this through to see the implications of the cardboard talking point she was repeating? Why would she ask something like this in the middle of the very conversation in which I am telling her the IVF cycle actually worked?

I mean, yes, a life is beginning right now. It is a medical fucking miracle, is what it is, but it won’t be a baby for a good long while yet. I know that sounds callous and I sort of hate being in the position of having to articulate that the pregnancy I waited years for and moved heaven and earth to achieve is not actually the same, yet, as a born baby, but it’s the truth.

This is hard to put out there; I want to be all unicorns and rainbows because holy shit, I’m actually pregnant, but I was really taken aback by the whole life-at-conception thing yesterday. If anyone has gotten through this mess, I would like some honest feedback: did you think of your embryos as children? Did you face any problems from people who thought IVF was wrong? Am I totally off my rocker for thinking that I can love, and hope, and invest all my fucking maternal instinct (such as it is) in this embryo, and still not think it’s exactly the same as a baby yet?

* With a beta of 118, twins are unlikely.

** In case anyone is confused about the embryos: we had five. Two were transferred. A third never got beyond two cells. The remaining two stopped developing before they were mature enough to be frozen.

beta results

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the wonderful support over the last few weeks! Thank you for hanging around when I went a little wacko, thank you for the makeup tips,* thank you for believing I wouldn’t actually self-destruct, and thank you for stopping by to celebrate those two lines! If I have been slacking on commenting at your place, I apologize and I am in the process of getting caught up. For the folks who came over from LFCA and ICLW, I will make it over to your place too!

I had my first beta yesterday: it was 118, which I immediately looked up on this handy site.** Tomorrow I go back; let’s hope for some doubling mojo!

It looks like this pregnancy may actually be, like, a thing. Holy shit.

* And the solidarity from the ladies who don’t go in for that sort of thing. Non-makeup wearers REPRESENT!

** Seriously, have you seen this? Click on it now!

this way lies madness

I did not intend to test at all. I was going to wait until the beta on Tuesday; I figured there was nothing a test could show me that would make me feel better, but a negative test would certainly make me feel worse.

But this morning something came over me. I opened the bathroom cupboard and saw a test left over from one of our IUI fail-fests … and I couldn’t help myself. I figured, I’m 9dp3dt, the trigger should be well away by now, why the hell not?

So I peed on it.

I swear there was a line. I thought maybe I was making it up, but my husband saw it too (with squinty sleepy morning eyes, no less). It was extremely faint, but it was fucking there.

I know it’s really too early, I know it’s probably the trigger, I know I’m supposed to wait for Tuesday like a good girl …

But I’ve never seen that before. That has to mean something, right?

I’m going to test again tomorrow and hopefully we will see whether or not we were both just wishing that faint breath of a line into existence.