It seems to be a theme recently.  Once again, we have been asked to put a number on hope.  This time, a price tag. 

unproseWhen we cycled with Dr. Uterus this time last year, we still had our insurance benefits.  He told us how much IVF cost and we filed the information away knowing that of that amount, we would only have to fork over a fraction because through discounts he gave to the insurance company and our remaining benefits, we were covered.  If it had worked, if we had taken home a wailing little baby, I don’t know if we would have appreciated how lucky we were to have coverage for an entire IVF cycle.

A year later, here we are, getting ready to dip a toe into the pool of IVF again, only this time, we have no insurance benefits, no fiscal balm to help with the five-figure sting of IVF (not including drugs).  After the failed FET in August, we knew that it was only a matter of time before our benefits well officially ran dry.  So, when we started to look for a new RE in September, one of the many considerations was cost.  Dr. Salsa was an attractive choice in this respect because he had some form of shared risk program. 

That is how we found ourselves discussing this week whether to go for the 1, 2 or 3 cycle option for ever increasing amounts of money, all of it upfront.  If we got successful on the first try, we would end up paying more than twice as much for a baby than if we had taken the one cycle option.  If we do it one cycle at a time and get lucky on the third one, then we would still end up paying more than we needed to.  Sure, you get a deep discount if you take the largest volume plan, but this is not Costco.  We aren’t discussing buying Kleenex in bulk. We’re talking about IVF cycles. To have a baby.

After we had been around the bend a few times trying to decide which one to go with, Mr. X made a wonderful and grounding observation: no matter which option we choose, we will likely have some regrets.  And, he’s absolutely right. We can never have the information now that we would need to make a completely informed choice.  Who can predict the future and how many cycles it will take for that elusive live birth?  So, we just have to make the best choice for us right now.

We’ve decided to go with the one cycle option, although not because we think it will be one and we’re done.  It’s because it gives us some flexibility in choosing how we want to proceed if it fails.  What if I do get pregnant again and I miscarry again? If we chose the two or three cycle option, I’d hate to put that obligation on myself and know that the money had already been forked over for more cycles that I may or may not be able to bring myself to do again.

In the end, we may spend more than if we had chosen a two or three cycle option. But then again, when we have that child, will we tell that child how much they cost?  I don’t think so.  We will simply say, “what price love?”

image: unprose

12 thoughts on “Calculating

  1. Thank you for the post. We wil be in your shoes if our next cycle doesn’t work because the insurance will be gone. I have no idea how we will make the decision when we have to consider financial issues as well. We are blessed in a way because our financial situation allows us to have a decision to make. Moving forward without insurance is an option. However, in our financial situation, paying for IVF without insurance would be major money… I wish that money was not part of the equation of making these decisions. It seems very unfair.

  2. I think that’s a good choice. Flexibility is very important. My RE moved after our IVF cycle and we followed him to his new office. Thank goodness we didn’t pay for more than 1 upfront, or we would have been stuck with his crappy replacement.

    I so so so hope that one is all it takes.


  3. Though I tempt fate by writing this, I have visions of one day telling my 16 year old…”this is all I got for $50,000,” or my favorite “You owe me $100 a month for the rest of your life and that’s only for the PIO shots.”

    Seriously, I can’t imagine the difficulty in trying to decide what type of shared risk program to pick because, like you said, it’s almost defeatist one way, overly optimistic the other way. You’re right though that a live baby would wipe that slate clean.

  4. Mr. X is very right in observing that no matter what you choose, there will always be regrets. I don’t think it’s possible to make these tough decisions and not always wonder “what if.”

    Sounds like ya’ll have a good plan going forward. . .

  5. it’s ridiculous that we have to put a price on our dreams. although most of the IF treatment that we’ve gotten has been free — well, i didn’t have to pay upfront at least — the high cost of ART was one of the first factors against it.

    it would be great if the canadian government covered more IF treatments. there’s been some buzz about it in my province. we’ll have to see what happens…

  6. It sounds like you really thought through your options and made a very informed decision. I have to say, I’m incredibly impressed with your thought process. As I was reading, I was thinking about what my decision would be, and, I just assumed I’d go for the three because, if we got pregnant earlier, it would be worth whatever we spent. Then I got to your decision and the reason behind it, wow, brilliant! You are absolutely right – you shouldn’t have to feel pressured to do something simply because you pre-paid for it. You’ve made me really think about how we/I make decisions! Thanks!

  7. I really get your reasoning. We had the same sort of talk, but decided to Shared Risk. We got pregnant, but miscarried. But durning the time we were pregnant, we were so happy we did Shared Risk because…well because we were pregnant. And then when we miscarried andto BFN’s and got our 70% refund check,we were really really happy we did it. We’re now considering Donor Eggs if our last IVF doesn’t work, and I’m inclined to go shared risk for this one too.

  8. Man, it just sucks having to make a decision like this on the basis of money. I remember thinking oh my god I have to decide between buying a home and having a baby. But what did I need a home for if I didn’t have a baby, so goodbye down payment and hello IVF. And now I’m adopting. Not quite sure how I ended up in the same place again.

  9. I had to make that same decision for IVF #1 and also went with the one cycle plan. I did some calculating and figured out that the multi-cycle plan only benefitted me if I had embryos to freeze. Turns out that I didn’t.

    The other benefit was that I was no longer contractually bound to a clinic whose quality of care was not what I wanted. I was so relieved by that freedom and going to New Clinic felt so right, relaxed, and more conducive to a good IVF experience. My decision to change clinics was also confirmed when one of the doctors from the prior practice joined New Clinic. Heh.

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