Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Blogtavism, My Story

My husband and I, like most couples, are working our way towards living the "American Dream". We have gotten a good start on it, as we are both from very supportive families, both work full time jobs, own our own home (along with the bank, of course), have the requisite 2 cars, as well as lots of the toys that go along with being young adults in today's society. Hell, we even have the picturesque golden retriever prancing around the back yard. All that is missing is children.

We have both always wanted kids. Have talked about "someday" being parents for the entire 11 years we've been together. We have got a niece and nephew on his side, and both of his sisters have asked us to be legal guardians, should the unthinkable ever happen. We have got LOTS of little cousins on my side, all of which are more like nieces & nephews than cousins. We both grew up babysitting, have volunteered as youth mentors, spent weekends with young relatives "just for the fun of it". We have surrounded ourselves and our lives with children because we enjoy their company, the innocence they bring to any situation, the joy we feel watching them experience something for the first time. And yet nature, or God, or biology, has decided that we don't get to have our own (at least not in the conventional, unassisted way).

I thank God every day for the fact that our medical insurance has covered a significant portion of our infertility treatments. I was diagnosed 3 years ago with endometriosis. I have since also been diagnosed as anovulatory, most likely caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome (or PCOS). Because of these diagnoses, it is incredibly unlikely that I will ever be able to get pregnant without medical assistance. So far on our journey through infertility, I've been on 6 different prescription medications, have had 2 HSG tests to insure that there is no blockage to my fallopian tubes, have been through 2 insemination cycles with a reproductive endocrinologist (RE), and at least 6 monitored cycles with additional testing. If we did not have infertility coverage through our medical insurance, almost all of this would have been out of our financial reach. Thankfully, all of our testing, surgery, medications, and doctor visits have been covered by insurance, with only the inseminations themselves being a 100% out-of-pocket expense. Had we not had the coverage that we do, we would have been spending at least $1,000 per insemination cycle with the RE. That can certainly be cost-prohibitive for the "average American family". It definitely would have limited our options, and could very well have delayed the more recent diagnoses that I've received, in turn delaying the entire process.

Since we don't yet have children, we still have some decisions to make. I am currently on a medication that seems to be working, so we plan to stick with it for a while longer. Unfortunately, if we need to take that next step, it will mean returning to the RE, and to more invasive procedures. Having more comprehensive coverage would certainly make it easier to plan the next steps in our journey. Taking the oppressive cost of IVF off the table would allow us to explore all of our options, and to make a decision with our doctor based on our medical needs, not our checkbook balance.

For every man, woman, or couple that I've talked to about it, infertility is a difficult road to travel under the best of circumstances. Adding financial limitations into the decision making process does nothing but rub salt in a very open wound. It is infuriating to me that good people, with stable lives and love in their hearts, have to give up the dream of being parents because the cost of treatments is so burdensome. With modern medicine finding reasonable and reliable treatments for this condition, why are those of us dealing with infertility having to make our checkbooks a deciding factor?


Pamela Jeanne said...

It's criminal isn't it? In other countries, they actually have policies encouraging higher fertility rates/outcomes. We've spent more than I care to think about...and might well have gone another round or two if the cost factor hadn't been so ridiculously high.

chicklet said...

Very well said. I feel the same, that we are very fortunate to have coverage on some stuff (ie. all my drugs so far) and to have the money to do the rest (ie. IVF). But it irks me TO DEATH that deciding to do IVF really DID involve the financial side of it - I'm deciding on a KID and I have to think, are they worth $6000? Hell yea, but honestly, IF I GET ONE OUT OF IT. I could spend $6000 or a hell of a lot more, and get nothing, and it's such a horrible thing to think that you could take such a huge emotional risk that could also cost you financial security. Ugh.

Julia said...

Another PCOSer here. Also with coverage. Thinking about infertiles without coverage pisses me off a great deal. Adding worrying about the money to everything else we go through is unconscionable. Just plain sucks.

Rumour Miller said...

That's a great post. I'm in Canada with a husband who has insurance through work, so luckly we have/had hardly paid any out of pocket. Insemination and IVF, however would have been.

I agree with the first comment, it is criminal.

BTW, thanks for stopping by. Come again, soon.