More on IVF

March 28, 2008

Hola friendly readers! Sorry for the long delay between posts. Nothing has been happening! (Well, that’s not true. We went to see this¬†Wednesday night–spectacular! Also, my period started on Wednesday, and I went back to a 28-day cycle this time: no idea why, but I like it. And I’ve been doing some cool professional stuff. I gave a talk on my book at a university the next state over, and just found out that I got accepted to present at a major conference in my field that’s taking place out west this October. Which is cool, because my acceptance was a real long shot. But mostly, nothing has been happening)

Anyway, our IVF orientation class was yesterday. It was informative–surprisingly so, since I went in feeling like I already had a pretty good overview of the process–but the nurse who gave the class had a very bizarre teaching style. She. talked. really. really. slowly. and. repeated. everything. twice. So, she. talked. extremely. slowly. and. said. everything. a. second. time. Imagine a class about treatment protocols, medication-mixing and injection mastery with every piece of information–and I mean EVERY piece of information–delivered just like that. The good: it was nearly impossible to miss anything or get confused, because if you somehow didn’t catch her super-slow and carefully enunciated version the first time, you would surely get it the second go-round. Bad: we had to listen to her super-slow, carefully enunciated instructions for three hours with only one ten-minute break.

Afterwards, G and I talked privately to another nurse about the urologist issue (we still have not gotten G an appointment–all the names Dr. No-Nonsense gave us have turned out not to accept his insurance, and are booked well into the summer anyway). She said that there was no problem with us going ahead with an IVF cycle without yet having seen a urologist. According to the nurse, the issue of finding out why G’s numbers are low is more a health issue for him than an obstacle to us going forward. Since G has adequate sperm to do a cycle, the urologist is more about following up than about needing to fix a problem before proceeding. This is good news, but there is some even better news.And that news is: before this morning, I was thinking we might have to pay completely out of pocket for the medications, but no! We don’t! I feel very, very lucky. I’ve already mentioned here, I think, that Aetna does not cover injectible fertility meds. Before the class yesterday I had not allowed this to worry me, in part because my prescription drug coverage does not go through Aetna anyway–any and all prescriptions I need, typically, are paid for by the faculty/staff union’s drug plan. Cool! BUT, after further research, it appeared that this union plan did not cover any fertility meds. Crap! BUT, after even more research, it appeared that the union plan also excluded any and all injectible meds, and instead those are covered by another plan, paid for not by the union, but by an entirely different organ of my employer. Since IVF meds are by and large injectible drugs, this third plan is the place to go for such drugs. Cool! Still, last night the website indicated that while yes, I have some sort of coverage through this plan, “plan details are not available online.” Crap! But I made the call this morning, and good news: we must pay a $100 deductible, plus anywhere from $10 to $45 in co-pays per medication, depending on whether the drug prescribed is a brand name or not, but we do NOT have to pay everything ourselves. COOL!

This is really good news, because at the class yesterday, the nurse said that meds for one cycle can cost upwards of $5,000. Whoa. We certainly don’t have that kind of cash on hand, especially right now, with the tax man knocking.

Apropos of that, I have also been thinking a bit about timing. Yes, I know I have already vowed NOT to try and “time” our journey into IVF, and that is still true, but after learning more about the typical protocol, I have been thinking hard not about the best possible due date, but about when a good time actually to cycle will be. The first two weeks or so of the process, the Lupron phase, don’t require too much monitoring, but once the ovarian stimulation gets underway, there’s daily or every other day monitoring, which means getting from our apartment in Queens to the clinic in Manhattan VERY early in the morning (as in, getting up, showered, dressed, and out of the house by 6:30 or 7:00am). Not to mention, they recommend taking the day of retrieval completely off of work. It all seems like something that should happen after classes are over, or pretty close to the end of the semester.

We’ll see. I’m thinking maybe a cycle starting on day 2 of my next period, which should be around April 22nd. To play it completely safe, it might even be better to wait until day 21 of that cycle, which will be around May 11th (the last day of classes for me is May 14th). I will keep you all posted. For now, G and I have to track down our consent forms and have them signed and notarized. Idiotically, we managed to forget to sign them in front of a clinic staff member while we were both there yesterday! I guess the nurse’s endless repetition didn’t work so well after all.