Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Cost of Infertility

Resolve to know more about infertility...

Infertility is honestly one of the hardest things I've had to go through in life. Infertility is a trauma. It's a silent and invisible disease that most people don't understand. And it involves one of life's major rites of passage; becoming a parent. For most people, this happens without even thinking about it. They get pregnant with no planning or forethought. It just happens.

For the other 10% of couples, it doesn't "just happen". Many of us deal with hormone imbalances that can't be cured through "relaxing". Some of us have physical issues, like septums, blocked tubes, or endometriosis, that all require invasive surgery to correct. And to top it all off, most insurance plans don't cover ANYTHING related to infertility. So what are our options?

We can chose to live life child-free. This is the most heartbreaking option, because for some it's not a choice. We can pay thousands of dollars for treatment that may or may not work. Or we can just "wait and see" with our fingers crossed that we conceive naturally. For some couples, they will eventually conceive on their own. But for many, the only options are Advanced Reproductive Technologies (ART).

ART includes IUI, IVF, or surrogacy. IUI is the cheapest, but can still take a chunk from your wallet depending on meds. My IUI last year cost us about $1,000. IVF can cost about $15,000 per fresh cycle, plus the cost of meds. And then there's surrogacy. With a surrogate, you would need to do IVF,  plus pay for agency fees, attorney's fees, screening and surrogate fees, and medical and insurance costs, all of which could add up to $80,000 to $120,000. 

What about adoption? Well, that's not an easy decision to make. Personally, I'm not ready to give up having biological children. And financially, we just couldn't afford adoption. It could cost anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000, or more, to adopt a child. In addition to the financial cost, you must also consider the emotional risk. What if the birth mom changes her mind? Or what if you don't meet the standards for adoption because you are not very religious or your home doesn't meet requirements? It can be just as heartbreaking as a failed IVF cycle.

My point is this: when dealing with infertility, you are faced with one of the most difficult decisions in your life. How will I become a parent? The answer is different for everybody. Most couples never have to struggle with this question. But those who do find themselves at a crossroads, with hard choices that can lead them down a path of debt, disappointment, or both. 

In addition to the financial cost of infertility, there is an emotional one as well. Infertility is one of the most challenging and emotionally traumatic experiences of our lives. It has changed me forever. And when we finally get the family we've dreamed of, whether by chance, ART, or adoption, all of the pain and uncertainty will be worth it. The scariest part, though, is not knowing if we will ever get to that point. Not knowing if we will ever be a mother and father. Not knowing how much longer we will have to wait. But with that uncertainty is a glimmer of hope that life might eventually feel complete.

This is why there is a need for legislation to support the infertility community. The costs of ART alone can prevent some couples from becoming parents. Shouldn't everyone have a choice to get treatment? Many of the issues that cause infertility are no different from a thyroid disorder or birth defect that are covered by insurance, so why is infertility alone a reason to deny coverage? It's not fair and it's wrong. We need support to get through this, and the financial aspect is the most daunting and difficult part for many of us without coverage. We have got to speak up and have our voices heard, that's the only way we can promote change and make a difference in the lives of the infertiles who come after us. I look forward to the day when infertile couples have options that are covered by insurance and have an equal opportunity to seek the treatment they need to become parents.

Helpful links:
http://www.resolve.org/infertility101
http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html

10 comments:

  1. I love the topic you chose for the Bloggers Unite theme! It blows my mind that so many do not fully understand the impact of financial infertility. Especially as it relates to adoption. When we were pursuing adoption so many were shocked at the cost. I think some folks that are not aware, think that you can go to a cabbage patch and pick out the cute kid with dimples and it is free. It is simply not the case.

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    1. Thanks! It's something I've personally struggled a lot with since we have zero coverage for infertility. And I totally agree with you about adoption! It's not as easy as picking out a puppy! Lol

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  2. Wow, you did an amazing job writing this! I found your blog through Resolve: Bloggers unite. Great job.

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    1. Thank you very much! I feel like the financial aspect is so rarely discussed and people don't realize how limited an infertile couple can be if they don't have coverage.

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  3. I don't know why I never read this one, Jess, but I stumbled across it today.Good work! I promise I didn't steal your idea when I wrote mine a few weeks back. :)

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    1. Thank you, Becky! And no, you definitely didn't steal my idea :) This is an important topic so the more we talk about it, the better!

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  4. High Jessica! I stumbled upon this while looking for blog about infertility and I happened to find yours on Pinterest. I recently found out about my own infertility issues, while not trying to have a child but through some reproductive complications. Man, I know the feeling of thinking about how hard it will financial to have a child when its unable to be done naturally. I really appreciate you writing on the topic because its so hard to find information no-a-days.... Thanks!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! I'm so glad you came across my blog. Infertility can be a very long, difficult path, but I hope that somehow we make our way through it a better person than who we were before. :)

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  5. Thanks for giving this information here. all of us have just an idea regarding the infertility and has no deep idea regarding the same. So here you opened our eyes regarding the cost of the infertility. Thanks you very much.

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  6. I simply wanted to thank you a lot more for your amazing website you have developed here. It can be full of useful tips for those who are actually interested in this specific subject, primarily this very postSurgery

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