Image Source: Invitra “Map of the most popular destination countries for IVF treatment abroad”
So up until about an hour ago I was incredibly stressed out the financial aspect of IVF. As time goes on I’m realizing that not only are my odds slim of having a healthy baby but the cost of getting a healthy baby are very high. I just signed a contract (hubby still needs to sign) for IVF with PGS for $26,400, exactly. Yikes! More than “yikes!” more like “holy shit how many banks do I need to rob?!” Because I am apparently a genetic mutant (hyperbole for effect yet not far from truth) falling into the 0.01% of women who have my problem, I need to just accept the fact that I have to shell out a lot of money to make a family. I watched on TV the other day this poor girl had cancer twice and the medication just destroyed her looks and she was receiving a cosmetic makeover. Such a sweet girl and such a shame she had to go through so much in her life. You can tell the whole process greatly affected her emotionally, and as she spoke she tried to be strong with what she was saying, but her subtle facial expressions showed immense pain and suffering she went through as she told her story. All she wanted was to get to the other side of her struggles and feel renewed, that’s something many people can relate to.
Sometimes people are just given a bum deal in life and they have to work 10x harder for things that others get effortlessly. Just the way life goes. I get tired of hearing people’s voices go softer and quieter as they whisper, “I’m so sorry” or “that’s so terrible” or even “I feel so blessed to have kids and I feel so bad for you.” Ouch! Yeah that one was the worst. I knew they didn’t mean anything bad by it, more like they were saying exactly what they were thinking, they were feeling grateful to be blessed with children. I’m learning that sympathy is incredibly uncomfortable for me. I usually say thank you and I almost always change the subject. I don’t think people realize how much of an expert I’ve become on rapidly changing the subject when people are only showing sympathy towards me, works pretty well. I wish people would instead tell me advice they have, like if they know of someone who had a baby with IVF, or even if they knew anyone who adopted, since I’m also considering that. By far the worst advice I’ve received is to “just relax, it will happen eventually.” In reality that is exactly the opposite of what three doctors have told me. Instead I’ve been told, “You need to do IVF right away, your AMH is really low, and we’ve got to do this now before it’s too late.” When you have three doctors telling you this, you’ve had four miscarriages, your AMH is low, and your biological clock is shrilling in your ear, you have got to take your doctor’s advice over anyone who says, “just relax.” Worst. Advice. Ever. I’m glad I ignored every person who told me this.
Back to my AMH levels, apparently it was so low that my IVF clinic refused to allow me into their refund program. Both my husband and I interpreted this to mean my odds of success are so low that even the clinic isn’t confident with the outcome. Depressing as hell. So after about five hours of rumination and research, that every good infertile girl does, I had a “eureka” moment. As I fell into the rabbit hole of research online, I saw in a forum that women were talking about their trip to Spain, or Switzerland, or even Belgium (waffles anyone?) to do their IVF round. I dug around looking for the cost over there for my same procedure of IVF with PGS and I kept finding the average total cost to be half of the cost in the U.S. One term for it is fertility tourism. Sounds glamorous. Somewhere floating in the back of my brain I knew of course that IVF existed in other countries and that it was cheaper there, but until I was faced with the prospect of a low AMH level and my fertility clinic hedging their bets that I won’t have a live birth after my two-cycle plan, my brain went into panic mode for solutions. I feel strongly about not giving up after two possible failed cycles of IVF, it just can’t be the end. So I feel happy about the idea of having this backup plan to do IVF overseas. As to why I don’t skip doing this in the U.S. completely, well I already have appointments made, time off work, and my plan set up to start ASAP, I can’t waste time re-doing my plans now. But this backup plan of fertility tourism is my little piece of hope I can use to not give up in this fight.
Everything is already arranged for my first round of IVF in August in Seattle. I am just scrambling trying to get my financial ducks in a row. I only have $5000 in savings and mom will let me borrow $10,000. That leaves $11,400 left needed. I’ve applied to three IVF grants and they are reviewing my submission as we speak. I still have to pay for plane tickets (have to do IVF out of state) and for the hotel while we are there. My plan is if I don’t get any of the IVF grants I will apply for 0% APR credit cards (0% for 15-21 months). Most likely the credit limits I’ll get will not cover the amount needed so last resort would be to get a loan. The whole goal being avoiding at all costs paying interest unless absolutely necessary. For every Plan A I have a Plan B, C, D, E, F, G. lol. Thankfully this total chunk of money they are asking for upfront will cover two rounds, which gives me some peace of mind. Dealing with the financial stress has taken all my attention. I’m trying not to even think of the physical pain of the shots and hormonal stress I’m about to deal with. Aaah! One step at a time…but Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, all these steps are at the same damn time!
Oh, I forgot to give an update about my surgery I had last week (hysteroscopy). Doc said I had a decent amount of scar tissue and polyps they removed and I am all clear for IVF now. Hopefully Doc won’t tell me I need another SIS, I hate those friggin’ tests with a passion. Guess my next step is to call her up and see what I need to do next. Maybe I won’t even need to do “fertility tourism” and I can bring my baby to Europe instead. Here’s to hoping!
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