The Infertility Markup

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As a general rule of thumb, I won’t buy anything unless it involves free shipping and a severely discounted product.  No Ann Taylor, I’m not going to buy your $60 peasant top.  So having to accept the cost of my (in)fertility treatments was a hard pill to swallow – like fish oil, except bigger and smellier.  There are so few states that want to play a part in saving the human race by offering coverage for infertility treatments, but in this one regard: I lucked out.  My treatments are “covered”, and I’m using typed out air quotes because “covered” still doesn’t mean free.  And free is my favorite.  Now, don’t be the brat who has to go and say, “well having kids is expensive!”.  I know that they’re expensive, but I was hoping to be on more of a pay-as-you-go plan rather than feeling like I’m being conned by a woman in a white lab coat with a crystal ball.  And you’re sure I’ll get pregnant after all this…?  I hope that our future children don’t mind when we tell them they don’t have any college funds because we couldn’t figure our shit out and had to involve an entire medical team in order to conceive them.  

When I initially met with Doctor Kate to discuss how we’re going to need a little help from science if we want to have a baby before my eggs shrivel up, I was provided with a list of prices that should’ve also come with a shot of vodka on the side.  This is going to cost me how much?!  Was I supposed to pick and choose what I wanted done like the world’s most expensive a la carte menu?  “Yes, I would like the IUI with a side of bloodwork and ultrasounds please. And can I get the bloodwork without the Rubella test?  Thanks!” They generously offer to reduce your costs by 50% if you don’t have any insurance coverage, which means that if you have three rounds of ultrasounds and bloodwork with your IUI, instead of costing $4,635 you’ll get it for the low price of $2,317.50!  For one IUI.  Fingers crossed that we all morph into first-IUIers and don’t need more than one!  

What about if you have insurance, you ask?  How much is it going to cost then? Nobody knows!  Unless you’re getting 100% coverage (please tell me where I need to move to get in on that deal), your insurance company will only be able to tell you IF treatment is covered, but not how much it’ll cost you in the end.  My entire IUI cost $138.67 (the IUI itself was $31! Why didn’t they sign me up for three of them?!), but that was because I shot up to meet my deductible (the amount you have to spend before everything gets cheaper) thanks to the polyp removal and SHG.  Turns out that mini-surgeries and saline are pricey little buggers. I never knew what would be discounted before I met my deductible, and even now I can’t make sense of what’s been discounted and paid for and waived and flagged and marked as PAY NOW OR WE’LL REMOVE YOUR OVARIES AS COLLATERAL, but maybe that’s just me being lazy.  I’m too tired to crunch numbers when I know I’m just going to have to hemorrhage money until I meet my out of pocket max (another fun insurance term which means spend all of your money and then everything else will be FREE, FREE, FREE!)  Fun Fact: I noticed that my OBGYN’s office charged $80 for a urine pregnancy test.  Someone’s gotta make a trip to Costco, because even an early detection digital test isn’t that expensive!  I suppose you’re paying more for the cost of someone having to handle your pee jar, or they’re made of some intense sterile plastic that kills urine germs and therefore costs extra for you to use.  Maybe offer to bring in your own dixie cup and a cheapie strip because any form of savings is a good one!

Other than trying to bring in your own pregnancy test supplies, there are a few ways that you can try to alleviate costs without having to look into how much your kidney would go for:

  • Prepay and Fuhgeddaboudit.  Everyone loves cash money, so it’s worth it to ask if they might be willing to lower the costs if you pay up front for each visit.  And this isn’t only for those going without insurance! Some clinics will accept cash and avoid your insurance company altogether, but be sure to figure out if it really makes sense to prepay, because if you need multiple rounds of IUI/IVF it could end up costing more than your out of pocket would have been.
  • Layaway Your Ov-aray.  Want to feel like you’re taking out a second student loan?  Then a payment plan might be perfect for you! I’m more afraid of debt than I am obsessed with being cheap, so I love to get the bills paid A.S.A.P, but that’s not how everyone likes to fly.  If this is the route you want to take, make sure to ask about it before you agree to go through with fertility treatments so that you don’t end up getting stuck with a pricy bill paired with a demand letter.
  • Check Out the Competition.  Rumor has it, fertility centers are greedy little practices more willing to work with your budgets since they may not have to answer to your insurance company.  I’ve heard a lot about women getting bundled packages for IUI which is like infertility gold as you never know how many ultrasounds you’re going to be signed up for, and those bad boys add up fast.  Just be sure to read reviews before signing up, because we all know that you get what you pay for.
  • Turn Your Misfortune into Mini-Fortune.  Alright, you’re going to be shelling out a decent amount of cash no matter what, so you might as well try to benefit from it.  Find a credit card that’ll give you crazy points if you meet a certain number within a few months (and, you will), then use those points towards whatever your heart desires!  Infertility vacations, more-than-ramen dinners, or to pay down your card from all your other medical costs.  We used our Infertile Points for a free flight for both of us on our next (much needed) vacay.   If we want to get real technical we could say that the flight actually cost an exorbitant $3,000, but I’m not going there.
  • Get Creative.  Crowdfunding for your uterus is a real thing that I’ve seen happen, so if you ain’t got no shame (or no other options), that’s a possibility!  There are IVF ‘scholarships’ or programs that you can enter that pair you with great clinics at a guaranteed low rate (check out the Glow Fertility Program).  Pick up some side work if you can (I blog for $0 and it’s really been benefiting us), and sing “All I want for Christmas is I-V-F” around the holidays as a not-so-subtle hint to your family that you don’t need anymore socks or Alexa’s.  You could even be the first couple to host a No-Baby Shower (please send pics)!

It’s easy to see why some couples try naturally for years on end and avoid participating in IUI and IVF.  Without insurance, or a decently priced fertility clinic, you could be looking at the cost of a second wedding to achieve something that most people can accomplish for free.  I’ve always had expensive taste though (it pairs well with my cheapness and no-money bank account), and now I get to have a designer baby!  If they’re a real snotty teenager (better not be or I want a refund)  I suppose there’s always the option to start charging them for pre-uterus rent as repayment for everything I went through.  See, so many possibilities!

8 thoughts on “The Infertility Markup

    • That’s awful! I don’t know how they can justify not including infertility coverage when its becoming such a common problem. I hope that changes for you soon!

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  1. […] the safe zone before your fertility plummets and you’re left overdrawing your checking account to pay for IVF and egg freezing. Doctor’s will begin using words like: donors and unlikely and high risk, so that your […]

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