Today is the last day of National Infertility Awareness Week. One in eight couples suffer from infertility. We are one of those couples. I have been very open about our struggles to conceive. It took us 5 years, multiple procedures, lots of prayers, and tears before IVF helped us conceive Harrison and Brooke. We were extremely fortunate the first time around that our insurance coverage was based with Rob's employer's corporate office in Illinois. Illinois is one of only 15 states that have some type of infertility mandate. 15 out of 50 states. Not very good odds. While the procedure still cost us a few thousand dollars, it was nothing compared to what the total cost is without insurance.
After our canceled FET cycle, we are looking at doing a fresh cycle again. A fresh IVF cycle is a very involved and often painful procedure. Multiple injections per day for weeks or even months on end. Swollen ovaries and possible OHSS. Surgery to retrieve the mature eggs. While all of that seems scary, for most couples the scariest part of IVF, and other less invasive procedures as well, is the cost. Because the majority of insurance plans won't pay a single penny. Many carriers won't even help cover the cost of diagnosis. We are looking at $11,600 plus another $3,000-$4,000 for meds, all out of pocket. (Some clinics cycles cost over $20,000 once you factor in ICSI, PGD, and assisted hatching) Indiana is not a state with a mandate, so our insurance doesn't cover any costs incurred during a cycle. Why do so many insures refuse to cover costs associated with treatment and diagnosis of infertility?
After going through a barrage of testing during our first couple years trying to conceive, we were given a less than 1% chance of conceiving naturally. That means it's almost impossible for us to get pregnant without help. I know that God works miracles, and I continue to pray for one every day. I believe that God gave us the technology to help those who struggle to conceive get pregnant, and I am thankful for that beyond words. The realist in me knows where are issues conceiving are, and I know that we won't get pregnant on our own. We will try everything possible to make it happen though. Supplements, lifestyle changes, acupuncture.
Secondary infertility sucks as much as primary infertility. Being open about our journey has brought forward so many supportive people. People who have experience infertility first hand or those who have seen loved ones battle the disease. Having the support of loved ones is helpful and comforting beyond words. I know infertility can take you to a dark place. Infertility is not who I am, but it is part of who I am. Acknowledging that has made the entire experience less painful.
Don't let infertility be a taboo topic. Please talk about it. Please be supportive for those you know that are struggling. Write to your senators and representatives. Support legislation to bring a mandate to your state. Participate in the Walk of Hope. There are so many ways you can help. Visit Resolve's website to learn more about infertility and to find out how you can help support the infertility movement. The more people who speak up about infertility, the more likely it will be that states and insures recognize infertility for what it is, a disease that requires the same care and coverage as any other disease.