Thursday, November 08, 2007

One of the 12.5 percent

I'm not always so sure about how far blog activisim can go, but I think this is a good idea.

So here's my contribution:

Do only well-off people, people with tons of disposable income and resources, face infertility? How is it possible that the 12.5 percent of us facing fertility challenges ALL must fall into the highest income brackets?

Or is it just that most of us stay silent?

And why is this even a question at all? Because in most states and through most insurance plans, infertility isn't covered. It's not, somehow, considered "real." Erectile dysfunction? Here's your Viagra, $10 co-pay, please. Acid reflux? Sure, and enjoy that spicy meal and cup of coffee you would otherwise have to pass up. Don't ovulate due to a recogized medical condition such as PCOS? Hm, sorry. Have you tried just relaxing?

We were lucky, in that the insurance we had at the time we were undergoing treatment covered most testing. We still were on the hook for higher co-pays, but bloodwork, ultrasounds, sperm analysis, and even Clomid were covered.

IUIs, lucky us, were covered at 50 percent. In going back though my records while cleaning the office recently, I realized it was actually $250 per month, not the $150 I had thought, every time we did one. And our insurance only allowed us to go to the biggest, most impersonal, most horrible clinic in town (for those local who may be looking at ferility clinics right now, combine the initials of the most well-known infertility procedure with the name of this state, and please take your hard-earned money and your hopes and dreams elsewhere).

I knew it was thrown-away money most months because they were not timing them right. I'd go for the ultrasound, schedule the IUI for a day or two later, and that night begin doubling over in pain from my Clomid-swollen ovaries struggling to release their payload, every month. Those eggs were long gone by the time they'd deign to get us ready for the IUI. I raised the concern that maybe we should be shifting everything a couple days earlier, but it fell on deaf ears. The nurse, yes, nurse, told me no. The doctor, who was actually getting paid for all this? Never saw him.

Had our insurance offered us even one option, we could have walked. We couldn't, and they knew it, so half-assed treatment ensued. Had we lived in a mandated-coverage state, we could have gone straight to IVF since nothing in the testing on either one of us indicated an advantage to doing IUIs.

We were lucky, damn lucky, in that we somehow concieved on our own one month after the aforementioned doctor told us we'd never have a biological child without IVF, and called our desire to be parents into question because we didn't have the money for it. And like mind-bogglingly lucky that we were able to concieve after only eight months this time, with no drugs, no doctors, and no heartbreak. I'm out of the infertility club now, and rightly so. But it changed me forever, and I needed to raise my voice on behalf of the thousands like us, looking at limited financial resources and aching for a child, knowing one will likely preclude the other.


The Town Criers said...

You rock, Amy. Thank you for writing this. And this: "called our desire to be parents into question because we didn't have the money for it." is unbelievable. Would have kicked his shins through the phone.

Julia said...

How the hell do people like that sleep at night?
I am sorry you had to go through all of that, and I am glad you are where you are now, without mortgaging your life for a chance at IVF. Bastard.

apt said...

Last night when I was brushing my teeth I was thinking about you - um, what? Is that weird?
Anyhow, I remembered that the first time I visited your blog was when you were pregnant but being very reserved about celebrating. I had no idea of your challenges prior.
Then I started flossing and thought of something else.
Thanks for sharing this. What a terrible part of the journey. Grrr...

tripmom827 said...

I couldn't get the link to find out what you wre talking about. But, I agree with one thing. 11 years, 5 kids, and 1 permanent sterilization procedure later, I still have a twinge everytime someone announces they are pregnant. Infertility does forever change you.

caramama said...

Thanks for writing this, Amy. I've been thinking about your post for a few days now. And I'm so happy that your story has such a happy ending! It's such a hard thing to go through, and I don't get how those in this field of medicine aren't more understanding! And why insurance companies would not cover this!

My husband and I were so very fortunate in our fertility center. There was compassion and communication, thoughtfulness and analysis. I couldn't imagine going through any of the process without all those things.

I wanted to share a quote I picked up from somewhere (I don't know exactly where): Infertility - from the outside looking in, you can't understand it; from the inside looking out, you can't explain it.

Em said...

I think that IF changes us forever and I'm not sure that we are ever really out of the IF club. Members emeritus, perhaps?