3

IVF Grants or Financial Advice Please

When Josh and I had our IVF Consultation our Doctor had mentioned a Financial consultant that we could talk to as well. I finally decided to call her after we got the news of only being able to do IVF. I called she I got off work at 3:30 and was told that she left a 3pm everyday. Of course, her working hours where the same as mine which meant I had to find time at work to have this conversation. I called the next day at 9AM to verify she got my message and that I would be receiving a call from her today. The receptionist said they would relay that message as well as letting her know about my voicemail from the day before. I called again at 1pm and did not leave a message. I called again at 240pm , thinking this will probably be at least a 20 minute conversation. They stated she was not in her office and they would relay the message. I let the receptionist know that I wanted a call back today and this was the 4th time I had called. She assured me I would get a call. I waited and then called back at 2:59 asking if she had left for the day and then I was finally transferred to the Financial consultant, Regina.

Regina stated she was on vacation and that she had 100 messages to go through so she apologized for not getting to mine yet. I said it was fine and I understood but in all honesty I was rather annoyed I called that many times with no response from her. But at that point I was just relieved to finally have her on the phone. When I told Regina I was given her info from my Doctor to talk to her about our financial options, she seemed slightly confused. Regina then went over the pricing of IVF with me, which I already knew but I did not say that. She went over my insurance with me as well. She stated that my insurance didn’t cover anything for IVF and some portion of the medications(I left that paper at work with the numbers). From there she told me we had to walk in with that $9,800 to get IVF done. She also said that since we were paying for it that there was the ARC program; which is like a package deal. Or the program through the hospital that can potentially pay for our 2nd round if the first doesn’t work. Regina quickly went over how they store the embryos if we don’t/can’t use all that develop. Which is $400 a year. After that Regina told me that we should look into grants if we need any further assistance with paying for IVF procedure.  Then ended the conversation. She rushed the information and rushed me off the phone. She didn’t give me any new information that I didn’t already know. I don’t know if that was the intent or not but I feel like she should have offered me more information. Now it is in my hand and I am very overwhelmed.

To explain better as to why we don’t want to use some other options that have been told to us by others to use. We do not want to sign up for another credit card because we are doing a very good job at paying off our debit. We have 4 more cards to pay off…We had too many credit cards and are trying to consolidate. We also do not want to dip into our 401k’s because we have not been at our jobs long enough for that to help a lot and we don’t want to use 401K funds at all. We are saving money right now but that is going towards a roof that we desperately need so we don’t want to use that either. We do not want to crowd fund yet either. I say yet because my husband and I discussed that IF IVF doesn’t work and adoption is the only option we would consider crowd funding at that point. From my understanding, that leaves us with grants.

Can anyone give us advise on Grants that are good in Ohio? Or any state? Or for veterans?  Do they all cost money to get? I am struggling looking through these mass amounts of sites.I am just so overwhelmed with the amount of them that are offered and I don’t know where to start or which ones are legitimate. Any advice is more then welcomed.

2

IUI/IVF Appointment

We had out IUI/IVF Appointment. It was just supposed to be an IVF appointment but we high-jacked it into a mixture of the two.

It started like a normal appointment where the nurse took us back to take my blood pressure, temperature, weight, and ask why we were there. I said that, ” we are here for our IVF Consultation” and the mood slightly changed with the nurse. She took Josh and I into a room and told us the doctor would be with us shortly. We didn’t have to wait long at all before the Doctor came in and took us to her office to chat, in her words. We sat down and the doctor made us a little picture to describe the process of IVF: Medications to increase eggs production and assist in ovulation, blood test and ultrasounds, egg retrieval, combining eggs and sperm to make embryo, waiting to see which ones take, insemination of embryos, waiting to see what takes, and baby!

The Doctor then explained the difference between IUI and IVF because Josh mixes them up sometimes when we talk. From there a lot of our discussion was about Josh’s count. She was saying that all Doctor’s agree that they want no lower then 1 million sperm count after the wash to do IUI or IVF. But there is that gray area that not all doctors agree on. She said that she knows that Josh’s count is low. “I think that we should try IUI first. If after the wash Josh has 2 million or more I feel very good about IUI, if its 1-2 Million I would still want to try IUI, if it is lower then 1 million then I would suggest IVF for the next cycle if IUI did not work. If that first round did not work as long as the 2nd round was 1 million or more I would want to try IUI again. We would only do IUI 2-3 times and if those did not work then I would suggest IVF going forward.” The doctor had high hopes for IUI with us. You could tell that she did not want to jump right into IVF without at least trying a IUI cycle.

We then started to vaguely talk about cost. She stated that there was a woman we should contact if we decide to go to IVF because this woman could give us options to help pay for it if we needed. As I have stated before: IUI is a “flat rate” (as the doctors describe it) of $420.00 for the Insemination and Sperm Wash. This does not include any medications, ultrasounds, blood work, or doctor appointments which we believe will average the IUI to about $550.00. The IVF package is $9,800.00 which includes the egg retrieval with ultrasound, sperm prep, fertilization(with ICSI, if needed), transfer, recovery room, preservation of remaining eggs or embryos, anesthesia, and cycle management. From there you have to pay for the medication which starts at $3,000.00 and go up from there.   You also have to add in the cost of the blood work, ultrasounds, or doctor appointments which we believe will average the IVF to about $15,000.00. She said that the finance lady has options for us and she understands the hesitation. That was refreshing to hear. The doctor also suggested ICSI because it would put the sperm right into the egg instead of allowing them to come together themselves. This is suggested to men suffering from infertility and as stated above, is included with IVF package. The doctor went over the risk with us as well as testing that we can get done to test for certain diseases that would be passed on to the embryo that we could remove. So crazy! From there we touched on my weight. She showed me statistics(which I don’t remember) about how likely it is for us to get pregnant. We had pretty good odds for our ages and diagnosis. BUT those odds drop with my weight being what it is. The doctor stated that the odds aren’t bad but the weight doesn’t help them either. This is something that Josh and I have discussed since the appointment.

The Appointment was an hour. The doctor answered all the questions we had and cleared up the process of both IUI and IVF for Josh. At the end of the appointment she gave us a folder full of IVF information and she put a paper about IUI in the folder for us to look over. I felt great after the appointment. Josh said that he felt the same and that it was nice to get all the information that we did.

We did win a trip to Hawaii and it was amazing. This picture was taken out first morning in Oahu. We woke up at 4AM(accidentally) and watched the sunrise over Diamond head. It was beautiful.

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We took this time to relax and not talk about any baby stuff. Unfortunately, when we got home I got very sick. We have been home a little over a week and I am just starting to feel better. I did start my period and I am on CD 5 which mean I am too late for this cycle to do IUI. I am actually OK with that. This cycle has been miserable, long, and painful. I was thinking that we might wait a month or two so I can get some gym time in. Since I have been sick that has not happened. Josh and I haven’t talked about when we are going to start the IUI process but as of right now I am thinking July. I know that I wont be able to work out this week because I still don’t feel well which means I will be giving myself 2 full months to change my/our diets and exercise more. Josh and I will go over this information again very soon to verify that we are on the same page. I may read this over again to add things that I may have forgot about the appointment but right now this is all I can remember. Thats what I get for waiting so long to type this blog. I will be back soon with our decision on when we will start IUI. I will make sure when that blog of the IUI appointment is very detailed and shortly after the actual procedure….unlike this one. My bad =].

 

3

Is February Over Yet?

This month has been very rough. It’s a short month but it didn’t hold back at all. Work has been pretty stressful, my husband has been traveling a lot, the weather has been insane, and I started my period today. Ehh! Needless to say I am glad its almost done. I have also been very nervous and stressed waiting for Josh to do his test along with waiting for the results.  We finally got them back

Blood Test- Testosterone: 488 ng/dl (Low, Improved), Luteinizing: 10 mU/mL (Improved), FSH: 10.6 mU/mL(High)

Sperm Test- Semen PH: 7.2 (Low, Same), Concentration(After Removing “Bad Sperm): 2.4 (Million, Low, Decreased), Total Count: 8.78 (Million, Low, Decreased), Total Motile Sperm(What Doctors can use): 4.74 (Low, Decreased), Motility: 54% (Good, Same), Sperm Morphology: 6% (Low), AmOrphology Sperm: 79% (High, Improved by decreasing)

Josh’s Doctor also said to continue taking these vitamins for another 4-6 weeks, retest, and then discuss options such as IUI, Freezing Sperm, and IVF.

So, Thats where we are at. I had Josh’s urologist send this information to my RE. I got the call from her today. She asked if the Urologist made any suggestions and I told her the above. She said, ” first of all this is a normal change in sperm. Sometimes numbers can fluctuate that much…but…this is still low.” I became a little tense when she said that. I asked the minimum that we would need to be able to do IUI. I have heard numerous different numbers but the lowest was 8 Million, is that true? She said that they do prefer that people walk in, before the wash, with 15 million. BUT all they really need is 1 Million after the wash. WOW! That is not what I expected to hear. Then she said what I expected to hear, “You should both start talking and thinking about IVF.” THERE IT IS. I knew it was coming but it still hit me like a ton of bricks. I told the doctor that I know that IVF is expensive and IUI is only about $700 after all is said and done. But is it smart for us to even try IUI and waste that $700 that we could put toward IVF? I know it isn’t much but its still $700 toward the $15,000.00 that we need to do IVF. She responded the best way. “I won’t have you do IUI if I don’t think it has a chance of working.” I felt like she had our back when she said that. She said that she believes that there is 1 Million available out of Josh’s count. I then said,” Not to be a pessimist but if that doesn’t work what do we need to walk in to do the IVF?” She told me that she requires the couple to come in and meet with her to go over everything IVF. The appointment will take about 45 minutes to go over everything and that we could talk about IUI as well. We can get all the information about both procedures. Perfect and intimidating. This is a lot of information to take in but not as much as we will get at this appointment coming up. Something I don’t think I have mentioned is that: we won a trip to Hawaii!!!  We will be gone in April right after we get Josh tested and hopefully after we get his results. That way we can really think things over and do which ever we decide in May because I will be in Hawaii if my cycle doesn’t completely screw up. Those were the orders from the Doctor as well. She said to take this time to get ready for our trip, get Josh Tested again, hopefully get the results before we leave and enjoy the trip. She also said that we could do the IVF appointment ahead of time. To have all the information for when we come back. Josh has to look at his schedule for us to schedule the appointment to reify he will be in town. We will do that as soon as possible.

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I feel better about the situation. Obviously, I am nervous to do IUI because of Josh’s count. But if the doctor says it might work…thats HUGE! On the same hand IVF is so expensive. It isn’t even a guarantee. There is so much to think about and I’m excited to get this appointment set up. I am so sick of waiting.

 

5

Josh’s Urology Appointment

It has been so long….

Nothing has been going on. We were told by my doctor that due to Josh’s numbers being low that we were to wait and see what happen with his thyroid medicine to see if that made a difference in his numbers. The only problem with that is that his doctor requires him to be on each dose for 3 months before checking his thyroid numbers to see if they have improved at all. Josh has been able to get the doctor to move the dosage sooner because he noticed no difference and his thyroid numbers weren’t moving very much so the doctor has made some exceptions. This also mean there has been no baby appointments since July…..which was kind of nice to be honest. I only stressed a few times about it but it was nice to not be worrying everyday, expecting my period, not being depressed when it came. It was a little relief to get a break again. Obviously it was frustrating to have everything on hold again but I accepted it.

During this little break I found out a friend of Josh’s was pregnant with twins from IVF and she works at the same company as me. I decided to pry a little to get some information. She had told me that they were trying for 2 1/2 years and once they went to a doctor they found out her husbands count was low, 3 Million. They did six rounds of clomid, three rounds of femara, one laprascopic surgery, four failed IUI’s, and one round of IVF. I don’t remember what the laprascopic was for, I believe her tubes where clogged, but I can’t remember. She told me that her husband was put on vitamins from his doctor to improve his count. Just vitamins you can buy at a local grocery store. This concoction improved his count from 3 Million to 80 Million in just three months. HOLY COW. I bought those the next week. It cost 35 dollars. Two of the bottles lasted a month and the other 2 have about a month left. I also asked her about the cost of the IVF. I already knew how much IUI would cost and even though we are going though different facilities I was just curious since we work for the same company and use the same insurance. She said that it was the 9,800 down before the procedure could be done. From there the meds cost anywhere from 2,800 to 5,000 dollars. She stated that her cost 2,800(If I have to I hope it’s the same). Then there is the doctors appointments, blood work and ultra sound that are covered under insurance but you have to pay the difference for. It’s just nice to have a price point in mind if it ever gets to that. I also didn’t know that you could claim that on your taxes which I though was awesome. I obviously don’t know the details but its nice to know that going through all this that we can at least get something back for it, financially. I hope it doesn’t get to that point and that we can do this ourselves or with IUI.

Josh had his appointment this past Monday with a urologist. It was just like any other first appointment where not much happened. They did an exam on him, ask us numerous questions, and Josh gave a sample for a semen analysis since the last one was from May. Josh has been taking those vitamins for the last month so I am hoping it made some what of a difference. His doctor said they will do the semen analysis, they will do a DNA test to verify his supply is good, and they want to do blood work. Josh still needs to do the scan and the blood work but we are just waiting on results right now. The DNA test takes about 3 weeks to get the results. Hopefully, everything is good and we can do IUI the end of November. My cycle decided to go haywire this month and come 9 days early. It is kind of good though because that moved my ovulation to occur after we get his results. Though that was very annoying it is kind of a blessing in disguise.

My periods have been awful lately. They are so painful. The day before I am in pain and the day of I am dying. I noticed that I have pains on the right side every month. It never alternated which I found odd. The pain in my lower back is constant, it is a really intense pressure and sometimes shooting pain that happens every month. It doesn’t matter what I take or drink or do that never goes away. The second day it isn’t too bad. I really don’t want them to test for Endo until after at least one round of IUI(if it gets to that) but I think that it might be necessary. Prepare for TMI: I have pain during sex and its worse after, awful (lower back and lower abdomen) pain during and before periods,(painful) diarrhea during and before periods, and Bloating during and after periods. More recently inconsistent periods and bleeding in-between periods. The pain I have during my periods knocks me out. The lower back and lower abdomen pain makes me not want to get out of bed at all. But I have to. I can’t call off work every month. I don’t know what to do. I am going to try to just grin and bear it until after we get Josh’s test results back. Until then. We wait.