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It’s not IVF, it’s just rocket science

Published January 20, 2014 by Jennie

Today we (my wonderful husband and I) had our first IVF consultation appointment.  We have dealt with unexplained infertility for four years which has given me plenty of time to research the topic before our appointment.  We learned a lot but in a way I feel more confused than before our appointment.   One things I know for sure is that IVF includes lots of decisions and lots of poking and prodding.  First, I take fertility drugs to produce several eggs in one cycle.  One side effect is that it can make me moody and hormonal but according to my husband, that means I should not change much (I am sure/hope he is kidding).  This is accompanied by numerous blood tests and ultrasounds which is no biggie for me (sometimes it think it’s a little depressing to thing of the number of ultrasounds I have had before as a women who has never even been pregnant).  Next, the doctor removes my eggs and here we have to make our first big decision.  We can have them genetically tested for about $4,000.  The good thing is if I have some left over, I can use those good eggs for another attempt.  I would think insurance would pay for that since healthcare costs can be higher for individuals with genetic abnormalities (I would soon learn that quite often insurance policies make no sense what so ever).  My last big decision is to decide whether to transfer 1 or 2 eggs.  Since I am oh so very young (31), my doctor advised me to only transfer one.  This is because transferring 2 can lead to multiple births which are considered high risk pregnancies,  Even so, as an economics student, I can’t help but thinking about the good old non-satiation principle which clearly states that more of the same good is better.

I left with a lengthy packet filled with lots of interesting and complicated information which I do plan to master soon (as a PhD student, one of my primary jobs is to make sense of complicated information).  As we headed over to our financial consultation, I figured the most confusing part was over.  I could not have been more wrong!  Our adviser gave us prices for IVF but of course they do not include other needs things we need and they are not be sure what exactly I will need and when.  Our insurance does provide IVF benefits (we were told our insurance was actually very good) but we are not sure how far these benefits will go.  First, we have to meet a $400 deductible before anything (except for meds).  For the IVF procedure (not including tests, ultrasounds, bloodwork, meds, etc) we are covered at 90% with a lifetime max of $15,000.  The listed cost of IVF from our doctor is $12,000.  I figured that would give us $3,000 left for try #2 if needed which is wrong.  The listed price and the contract price (which is the price that the insurance company and my doctor work out) are different.  This is also a super top secret number that we will never know until it’s all said and done.  For everything else except meds we are covered at 90% until we pay $3,000 for the year and then we are covered %100.  Fertility meds are also covered and different ones have different copays.  Overall, I am not sure how much a round will cost and what happens if we get to do it all over again.  To make this more complicated, we are meeting with two other doctors to see which one works best for us (if we can figure it out).  We are not planning on actually going through the procedure until May and my anxiety is already in overdrive!  If anyone has any nuggets of information that could help, do share.