It’s April again, which means Infertility Awareness Week is coming up. We were hoping not to hit another April as an infertile couple, but so it goes. With 10% of women dealing with infertility, you probably know someone who is struggling. There are a million times a day where people make assumptions about why I don’t have kids, pester me about having kids, or assume because I don’t have kids I’m not a nurturing/caretaking person. Research shows that facing infertility is as stressful as terminal illnesses; when people are understanding and compassionate, it goes a long way.
So, checking in on our journey. We went to Dartmouth Medical Center and were given a used car salesman pitch for IVF. THE ONLY ANSWER! PAY NOW! LOW LOW INTEREST RATES! STEP RIGHT UP! The doctor even said “You’ll want to get started now so you’ll have time to have your second.” I don’t -want- 2 kids, but thanks for asking.
I left the doctor’s office very quickly when I realized that we weren’t going to get any new insights or information, just a hard sell for a procedure we can’t afford. She called back 3 weeks later to let me know that my records had arrived, and to check in on scheduling. After a good 10 minutes of back and forth, she finally agreed I was being ‘reasonable’ to move into more testing before IVF. She admitted that separating the testing out from the IVF process meant that insurance would cover the testing, vs lumping it together and paying out of pocket for everything.
She then said; “it will be almost impossible for you to conceive naturally.”
Ok. I’m trying to be realistic here. I turned 37 in December. Time is ticking, the eggs are old. It’s a harsh reality. But there has been nothing wrong on any of my tests, and I conceived naturally in my 30s. The doctor glanced briefly at the records she did have, without asking about my diet, exercise, or anything environmental, and decided I need to hand over the $17,000 that IVF costs – up front, but they “work with a great loan service that has decent interest”.
I want a doctor who looks at me as a challenge to solve & can get creative about a solution. IVF might be the right answer for us – and we will do our best to save to try to get there before I turn 38. But it’s a huge gamble with a low success rate, and to just push and threaten a new patient when the cost makes it impossible for the average person? It’s upsetting.
So. That’s how Dartmouth went. I’m upping my Eastern medicine side of things, shifting my diet a bit, settling into my new job, and regrouping in a few months. I don’t know what will happen – we can’t afford IVF right now, even with a nice doctor. I do know that my bullshit tolerance is lower than ever and I’m all about 2013 as being as nurturing as possible. When I think about a toxin-free life I want it to mean people, situations, AND chemicals. No bullshit, no toxins. And no used car salesmen.
On the other hand, ideas are welcome. Bake sales? Local clinical trials? It’s so overwhelming to think about that sum and what’s riding on it. I want a family desperately and it is so discouraging to think that this solution is only available to people who can afford it or live in the handful of places where it’s covered by insurance. I’ve been getting great information from a friend for whom IVF worked, so it’s nice to hear success stories, better clinic recommendations, or creative ways of approaching treatments. It’s been hard to stay positive lately.