Silver linings.

My apologies in advance – this isn’t my best or most descriptive writing, but things are now transpiring so fast and furiously that I am just trying to get as much of the detail transcribed as possible before I forget.

So the last few weeks have been rough. Work has been stressful, we have gotten bad news after bad news about how much this IVF treatment is going to cost, and my wife and I have just felt like a grey cloud has always been lingering close by (which is kind of partially true since we’ve also had a lot of rain).

Earlier this week, I had a conversation with the manager of the IVF Finance team for our fertility clinic (I don’t know if that’s her exact title, but you can gather what her role is…) and she seemed kind of argumentative, and my wife and I were speculating that perhaps she wasn’t the biggest fan of same-sex couples. Nothing she said or did was blatantly homophobic – it was just a feeling we got. So, we went into yesterday’s meeting with the doctor (and subsequent meeting with her)…guns blazing, if you will.

Before we get to her: the appointment with the doctor was…interesting. He provided us the results of my wife’s bloodwork and internal ultrasound, and dropped a slight bomb on us (I say “slight” as we’re still doing research on exactly what this means for us). He advised that she has polycystic ovaries (we had previously known that she had benign cysts, but the term “PCOS” never came up before). He explained that she showed approximately 50 egg follicles and an AMH level of 10.9. He further explained that I was showing approximately 18 follicles – which he said is a very healthy number – and that although my AMH test was not yet finished, that there should be no problem with my ability to produce eggs should I need to now, or in a few years.

He said the fact that she has polycystic ovaries means that she is at an increased risk of “overcooking them” (his words). He said she’ll have to be monitored more closely once she starts the medication that will help her to get the eggs ready to be harvested, as she could be overstimulated if not. He said that he is not concerned, and simply wants to keep a closer eye on her.

On my side, everything looks good. The only major concern that we have is the fact that my work travel schedule is expected to continue into the near future, and when I am away (which is expected to be 4 days at a time going forward), I won’t have a way to manage the injectable medications (which – he confirmed – will be going into my rear). He said that he could put me on an injectable for 7 weeks, and then switch me over to a vaginal form of the medication at that point, but that there is no way of getting around the injectables for the first 7 weeks. As it stands right now, I’ll be traveling once more the second to last week of July, and then twice in August (evenly spaced out). After August, I’m hoping it drops down to a monthly or EOM cadence. My wife said she could take off of work for a week and come with me for one trip, but coming every other week would be really challenging – even with the flexible job she has. I would consider telling my boss, but my company went through a huge change this year and I just started working with her back in February. I work at a satellite office we have (a 2 hour direct flight from our headquarters) but there has been a lot of pressure over the last few years to transition my role from that office to our corporate headquarters, and so far I have successfully evaded it (although the question was raised again about 2 months ago). I am fearful that if I explain that I am trying to get pregnant, that they will start to look for someone who is willing to do my job in the state where they want the position to be located. I was hoping that by this point in the year, things at work would be more settled, but every day seems to bring new big challenges and “what-if’s”.

So, aside from the injection dilemma (which I would love thoughts on if anyone has any!!) and the PCOS diagnosis (which – again – we are still unsure is truly an “issue” or not), the meeting with the doctor went pretty well. He recommended we move forward with a consult meeting with one of the nurses at the practice who would help us identify the best day to start, and would help us get our medication ordered so we can begin to figure out if any of it is covered. That meeting is scheduled for Wednesday of next week, so in the very near future we should know a lot more about how things are going to proceed as well as the timeline.

After we wrapped up with the doctor, we sat down to a meeting with the woman in charge of finance. She works out of an office that’s about an hour from us, and told us when I spoke with her earlier in the week that she’d be making a trip to “our” office to go over everything. Before she came in, I could hear her talking to another couple (husband and wife, from what I gathered) and her told of voice seemed pushy and cold. My heart started racing and my hands started shaking. I was ready to argue.

On Thursday night, I  sat down and mapped out all of our questions in a word document (which I subsequently printed). On it, I made a table with two columns: one for the regular IVF multiple cycle package that they offer, and one for the co-IVF “package”. I mapped out the costs, services mentioned in each, and made separate boxes for the differences: both cost and service. At the end, it came down to an approximate $8000 difference once you factored in that added value (an additional frozen cycle transfer, cryopreservation of embryos, and anesthesia primarily) of the multiple cycle package that they offer to women who are using their own eggs/bodies.

When Ms. Pushy entered the room, I pulled it together and smiled pleasantly and thanked her for taking the time to meet with us. If this meeting gets hostile, I reasoned to myself, it won’t be on my accord. My wife is the stoic type and she’ll interject as necessary, but she knows that I am very direct, relatively articulate, and thorough with all of my facts – so in situations like this she usually lets me loose to do my thing, and backs me up when she needs to.

So we commenced the meeting discussing the “pre authorization request” that she told us our insurance company requires prior to treatment. I explained that we were told by several representatives of the insurance company that there is no required pre-authorization, and she told us that they ALWAYS require it for our particular insurance company or they won’t get paid. I asked her if that was a routine procedure, why we would have gotten back paperwork after our first visit that said, “No prior authorization required for IVF or IUI” (word-for-word). I slid the paper across the table, and she looked up, narrowed her eyes, and spit out, “well we’ll just call that a mistake.” She handed me the “sheet” that needs to be filled out, and after taking a look at it, I realized that it isn’t a prior authorization, rather, it is form that we have to sign acknowledging that we meet the criteria under the mandate for an egg retrieval (which we are happy to sign as we do believe we meet the criteria of not being able to get one another pregnant). I told her that I thought our confusion was around the name of the form, as I was told that no prior authorization was required and that this technically wasn’t a prior authorization, so I thought we were all on the same page, and at that point, she started to smile (just a little!) and we seemed to turn a corner. I then explained to her that – in the event that the insurance still doesn’t pay the claim (which it very well may not) – that we wanted to discuss the self-pay options and the huge discrepancy in cost/service between the multiple cycle package for a woman carrying her own embryo, and the co-IVF package. I tried explaining my calculations and she told me “I lost her” at which point I showed her the table I typed out the night before, and highlighted the overall differences in the packages and she said, “you know, this is all really new for us. We’ve had co-IVF couples before but this isn’t something we are completely used to. I actually helped create the co-IVF package, you know.” I explained that I understood that, and certainly didn’t expect to pay the SAME as someone who was carrying their own embryos (due to the additional paperwork and monitoring) but that I also couldn’t justify an $8000 difference. She took another look at everything and said, “Listen: I can do a multiple cycle package for you.” (at this point, my jaw was beginning to look like the grand canyon and I just about had to pick it up off of the floor).

She said that it would cost more for the synchronization of our cycles since we are a couple, but that she’d honor a package. In fact, she said they have higher packages with money back guarantees if any of this goes wrong and offered to get us prices on those as well!!

Even though the conversation was headed in a more pleasant direction at that point, I was still ready to defend us. When she said that, I didn’t know what to say. I was still waiting for her to take it back. When she looked down at the papers again, I looked at my wife and snuck her the biggest smile I think I may ever had. The price dropped down to only $500 more than than the package that a heterosexual couple would utilize.

Lesson learned, here: ADVOCATE, ADVOCATE, ADVOCATE!!!! I don’t think I would have gotten the same answer if I hadn’t made that comparison table and mapped out everything piece-by-piece, so do your homework. It’s worth it.

So at this point, we are going to meet with the nurse and determine our schedule, see if the medications get covered, and then pursue coverage of the egg retrieval with the ins. co. If that goes well, we’ll continue to try to get everything covered (even though we were told it would not be) and if it gets pushed back, we now have a much more reasonable amount to fund out of pocket, which we don’t think will completely drive us into bankruptcy.

By the end of the conversation, all three of us were smiling. My wife said afterward, that she sensed that our prior assumptions about the finance lady were correct, but that during that meeting – either my attention to detail or passion for our cause won her over. I don’t know – maybe she’s been having a bad week, and the fact that our case was more complicated made it worse – either way, I don’t feel that sense of bad energy when I think about the practice and I am getting excited to take the next steps forward in this journey.

Fingers crossed, prayers, positive wishes (whatever you have!!!) that the good news continues and that the insurance company pays for the two visits I had this week, and the medication we order next week (I would ask for the same for my work situation, but don’t want to be too greedy :))

Hoping everyone else had some good news this week, too. If not, you have my thoughts/prayers/crossed fingers and positive wishes.

These dreams go on when I close my eyes…

This time last year, I was having a lot of nightmares about our wedding. When brides before me used to say they had “wedding nightmares” I envisioned burning churches, wedding serial killers, or some Stephen King iteration of the big day. My nightmares were less dramatic, albeit slightly more terrifyingl: several times I visualized a grey and lifeless version of our venue, void of family and friends: they couldn’t make it, they forgot, they didn’t want to come…the list went on. Sometimes we sent the invitations out with the wrong date. In one dream, our guests came but there was no one around to help us get ready so it was basically an ordinary day with family and friends – no white dresses, no makeup, no DJ.

Don’t get me wrong: I recognize that those things don’t make a wedding. Our wedding was the pictures we took, the laughs, the hugs, the dancing, the food and drinks we enjoyed with our favorite people in this world. But, the DJ and the makeup may have helped to add that magical touch.

So the day came (and so did our guests) and we got married at a venue on a lake surrounded by about 120 of our family and friends. We are both Catholic and although we don’t go to church EVERY Sunday, our religion has played (and continues to play) a significant role in both of our lives. Although we knew that we would never marry in a church, we attempted to incorporate elements of our faith, and the year before – we attended an Easter vigil ceremony at which my wife’s sister-in-law was baptized as an adult. The church had a beautiful candlelit ceremony during which the candidates for baptism lit the candles of the church members nearest them, and the flame was passed on until the darkened church was filled with the light from about 200 candles. It took my breath away. My mother-in-law helped us to write a poem about the light my wife and I were sharing, and how it lit up the room in much the same way that its bearers lit up our lives, and we re-created the church scene in our secular venue, surrounded by people – many of whom didn’t understand our relationship in the past, or perhaps even now – but loved and supported us in spite of it, and in some cases because of it. And the day was perfect. Not at all grey. Not at all empty.

Now that the wedding is in the rear view mirror, the nightmares involve sad baby-less dreams. Last night I dreamed that we had arrived at our “implantation day” (I guess we fast forwarded through everything else) and the doctor casually inserted some sort of catheter-like device, pushed something out of it, and told us to come back the following day for a check up. It felt rushed, and impersonal, and…kind of grey. Can something feel like a color? Does that even make sense? Needless to say, we weren’t pregnant when we went back for our “magical 24 hour later” appointment and the doctor couldn’t seem to understand why we were upset.

I think this dream have been prompted by a rather disappointing visit I had with the doctor earlier this week for my internal ultrasound. Unlike my HSG appointment, I didn’t feel quite as rushed and was taken much sooner (not surprising since I was at the office at 7am). After stripping down and waiting on the table with a white paper gown over my lap, nervously sweating despite the chill that the air conditioning left in the room, I was relieved to see the doctor come in (and – even though I am accustomed to having female OBGYN doctors – I wasn’t a fan of the extra lady who had to accompany him in, but it is what it is). Before he started the procedure, I double checked (I really need to stop doing that) that he would be getting a “good” read on…well..whatever he was trying to get a read on, since I wasn’t come in on Day 3 of my period, and he stopped, looked really confused, flipped his notepad, and said, “well, wait…what day are you on then?” I reminded him that he suggested that I come in during the “first half of my cycle” (his email to me which was confirmed by his nurse when I called) and he asked what the plan was to get pregnant, and I reminded him that we wanted to use my uterus, my wife’s eggs, and a donor. “Uh, yes…” he started, nervously as he flipped through a few papers on his clipboard. “That’s perfect then”. He mentioned something about counting my follicles and checking the lining of my uterus, and then uttered my most loathed words at such an appointment, “now if you’ll just move down and put your legs up here..” as he motioned to the stirrups.

I hate internal exams. I hate the speculum only slightly more than I hate that little device they use at the dentist office that scrapes the plaque off of your teeth and makes your gums bleed while it emits a noise that is reminiscent of nails on a chalkboard. I REALLY hated the HSG test (which combined that plus an injection of dye that felt like it was made out of needles), but the internal ultrasound: not bad. Not bad at all.

So he showed me my uterus and said it looked good, and said that between both ovaries he counted about 18 follicles (I still don’t know exactly what it means and if that’s good or bad, but he sounded happy so I’m guessing it’s not awful), and he said that we could likely use my eggs or my wife’s without any issues. He then took some measurements of my uterus (or the lining – I mean, I don’t know how people can see a baby on those things let along a solid grey uterine mass that just looks like white noise on an old TV) but he then said, “If we get you pregnant, this is where the baby is going to go.” Hold on. Wait a second. Slow down. Dear Sir…I know this isn’t guaranteed and all, but I’m going to need you to demonstrate a LITTLE more confidence than “if” we get you pregnant.

So there was that.

And then after the appointment, I met with the clinic’s financial person (who I learned is a general financial adviser? consultant? Not sure on her exact title) and the lady we worked with at their other location was the IVF-specific adviser, and I explained to her where we left off and she stopped and asked what I did for work and suggested that I look into advocacy work as she was moved by my passion for our cause. She offered to follow up with the insurance company and triple-check that everything we’ve been told is correct, which was a fruitless effort as she called me back about 2 hours later to inform me that there is now some kind of form that has to be signed that verifies that we understand the stipulations of the state fertility mandate and that we are seeking care anyway (or something like that).  Keep in mind that back in February/March, TWO CLINICS verified our benefits and said that we didn’t even require prior authorization let alone a formal document that had to be signed, so I’m calling BS here, but I’m honestly getting tired of fighting.

I think that’s why I ended up having that dream. So after all of that, the IVF adviser’s boss (so, if you’re following this blog…at all…is the boss of the woman from two entries back who we met with in the city) called me to confirm that we truly wanted to sign this form and confirm some of the specifics of our care, and I asked her point blank, if she thought that we were correct in pushing this given the experiences of our friends and the fact that the insurance company has given us so many different answers. She hesitated, and said she wasn’t really sure what I meant/wanted, and that our friend’s case was different because they had a medical need for IVF, despite not having demonstrated the “attempts” required by the mandate. (I would argue that we – too – have a medical need…I mean, we have no sperm, lady!) but she went on to say that if someone had a damaged tube (or something like that…I was kind of annoyed at this point so things began to blur) or low sperm motility, pursuing a less costly method of pregnancy such as IUI first would be fruitless, and thus – would warrant coverage due to the mandate. I was now livid, and feel kind of sorry because my frustration was misdirected at her, but I asked if a heterosexual couple in which the man had low sperm motility would automatically be granted IVF coverage over being required to pursue a sperm donor (which is much less costly for the insurance company although shitty for the couple) while we wouldn’t be entitled to IVF OR IUI coverage – even if we go out and buy our own sperm – she said, “yes, I believe that’s correct.” WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. F&$K.

So I stopped arguing at that point, because it felt pretty pointless. It would have been nice if she ended it with, “I get it. It sucks. I’m sorry.” but she went on with some clinical bullshit, so I told her we’ll just have to sink further into our research on self pay options, and hung up.

I also found out (which may be common knowledge but it wasn’t to us) that although we have a separate prescription company, that those companies typically verify benefits with the insurance company before offering coverage, so we would also likely be denied coverage for any of the required medication which we are being told will be another 3-5K or so (please share your secrets for securing them less expensively!!)

So it was a rough week, and it left a sour taste in our mouths about both the doctor and the billing team at our clinic, and depending on what the outcome is of our consultation with the doctor on Friday (during which we were supposed to be discussing our next steps forward) we may elect to check out another clinic before deciding who to pursue treatment with.

At this point, I just feel kind of sad and alone about this entire process (aside from my wife – who has been amazing and supportive but equally sad and frustrated with this process). I wonder if I am wanting something that is unreasonable or unfair, and if not – if it even matters as it now appears pretty clear that we won’t get what we want.

We plan to forge ahead with the self-pay options, but even that is frustrating with the differences in the co versus regular IVF packages (which we are discussing with the doctor on Friday).

So I was feeling pretty bummed about all of this, and then the dreams kind of freaked me out a little bit, and as I was sitting down to write this, the song “Dreams” from Heart popped into my head. In all likelihood, it was because I was thinking about ACTUAL dreams, but I like to think of it as some kind of positive sign. One night, a few years ago, my dad and I were driving and that song came on the radio. He smiled nostalgically and told me that it came on often when he and my mom would drive to her doctor’s appointments when she was pregnant with me, so maybe it’s my mind’s way of apologizing for it’s midnight shenanigans and letting me know that it thinks that this will all work out okay.

Yeah. That’s what I’m going to go with.

Planes, trains, and….insurance companies.

I really do need to be more consistent with writing. Sorry in advance for this novel…

The last few weeks have flown due to my work schedule. I had been flying out to our corporate headquarters every other week for a big project I am involved in, and was bummed really excited to find out that the last trip was cancelled due to another big meeting taking place over the same time which would have pulled a lot of people away from the project I am working on, so I have had a glorious three weeks soaking up my wife’s company. Every weekend we have had formal plans: a college graduation, our niece’s first birthday party, a wedding, and this past weekend two days of birthday festivities for different family members with a family dinner at my parent’s house in between. Tomorrow we are headed to a baseball game to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday, and then Sunday I fly out again for the week. During the week, we are usually so tired between our weekend plans and work, that after dinner (which my wife – who has a background in culinary arts – prepares every night without hesitation or complaint) we just lay around like sloths until bedtime. I wish there was a way to put those lazy moments on slow motion: when the dog is curled up on our feet, we’re watching one of our favorite shows, and don’t have any plans, because as lazy and comfortable as they are, they seem to zip by more quickly than anything else we do.

Since we have been so busy, we both took off on Tuesday and extended Memorial Day weekend out to four days, and took the train into the city so we could have lunch and meet with the financial coordinator for our fertility clinic – who works out of one of their larger offices and just consults for the small facility we go to in the suburbs where we live.

We are still hashing out of this insurance nightmare, but at this point, I think the value in sharing our experience outweighs my fears that any of this could somehow be used against us because: A.) I know in my gut that they are wrong, and B.) if someone else has gone through this, I’d love their insights.

Basically, my wife’s employer is based in a state that has an infertility mandate which dictates that all employers that meet a certain size and a few other criteria, are required to offer infertility coverage as part of their overall insurance benefits (which her employer does).

Back in February, when we first started this whole process, I called the insurance company and was told by a representative (after filling her in on our relationship as a same-sex couple and what we were trying to do) that we had full fertility coverage with no apparent exclusions due to our sexual orientation. Good, check. We then met with the first fertility clinic (that we elected not to utilize) we were told by the clinic (who does a preliminary review of benefits with the insurance company to advise you of your coverage) that we had full fertility coverage for IUI and IVF with no apparent limits and no prior authorization required. They remarked how amazing our benefits appeared to be and how lucky we were for having them (which didn’t surprise us, as my wife has pretty great health insurance coverage across the board). They said they did not see any reason why we could not pursue co-IVF (a situation in which I would carry an embryo created with my wife’s eggs and donor sperm so we are both connected to the process). Good, second check.

These benefits were confirmed – in writing- by the second fertility clinic – who also remarked how amazing and extensive our benefits were. (Third check!) They had a special IVF representative reach out to us to start discussing the particulars, and she recommended just to be doubly sure that there won’t be any issues, that we touch base with the insurance company and inquire about whether or not there are any exclusions for same-sex couples. At that time, I placed a phone call to the insurance company for another unpaid claim that my wife had from a year ago for a completely unrelated issue (which we ended up having to pay for out of pocket, but that’s another story for another day), and the representative kept me on hold for about 45 minutes for that issue, and another 45 for the IVF exclusion question. When she returned back on the line the last time to confirm our coverage, she explained to me that we did not – in fact – have full coverage, and that our coverage complied with the state mandate ONLY (something that was never mentioned when either clinic inquired, and something that was NEVER said to us on the phone – even though we were aware of it due to our own research). The representative apologized and said that unless we could demonstrate that we had “tried” to conceive for one year by having unprotected intercourse. I said, “you do realize that isn’t possible, right?” to which she continued to apologize and genuinely seemed sad to share that news, but kept reassuring me that there was nothing she could do. We would not – she informed us – be getting coverage for IVF, IUI, or any diagnostic testing or treatment related to either because we had not been able to demonstrate a year’s worth of straight sex. (barf)

Now, that’s all good and fine – state has mandate. State is being discriminatory (more than likely because it hasn’t caught up with the times, but still). Insurance company is following state to pay out as little money as possible. I get it.

HOWEVER: my wife and I are friends with a lovely heterosexual couple (the wife works in the same office as my wife and use the same said insurance), who are currently experiencing infertility issues themselves. They had been “trying” for about 6 months after they got married (and heck – maybe longer before…that’s really none of my business) when they started seeing a fertility clinic. They told my wife and I that the clinic determined their issue to be a blocked fallopian tube and their recommended course of action was some type of surgery or IVF treatments, which they have been subsequently advised by the insurance company would be covered (at least, that’s what they told us and I really don’t see why they would lie about that). They haven’t yet started their treatments, so I don’t know how this will shake out, but they told us that they got confirmation of coverage for their IVF treatments (and I’m fairly certain that they submitted no videos or spreadsheets of their bedroom action…), but their diagnostic tests were covered – that I know for sure.

To be fair, my HSG test was apparently processed and paid out by the insurance co (we thought we’d test the waters), but we are still waiting on my wife’s internal ultrasound and blood work to be paid (which she had done before my HSG test), so it’s a little strange that it hasn’t been paid, yet. We haven’t yet tackled the reverse tests (the HSG for her and the ultrasound for me) because I’ve been traveling EVERY SINGLE TIME I’VE HAD MY PERIOD FOR THE LAST THREE MONTHS (can you tell that really irritates me?) and if I’m not home to make sure she does things – she…doesn’t do them. To be fair, she’s amazing with so many things (such as making dinner) so I can’t complain – but I’m definitely the “let’s get shit done” boss lady in our house. Doctor needs calling? I’m on it. We got overcharged at the grocery store? Give me the receipt, I’ll go complain. Car needs an oil change? I’ll do it. (haha, just kidding…but I’ll totally make the appointment to have someone else do it).

For what it is worth, the reason why we are each doing each test is because the clinic *thinks* the costs will be covered (again – see above. We’re cautiously optimistic), and suggested that if perhaps they find a genuine concern (such as the blocked tube) we can use that as leverage to pursue the same coverage for IVF, EVEN THOUGH the law is clear and says that the diagnostic testing is only paid after you demonstrate the 12 months of “trying” (which neither us, nor the other couple appear to have done). If they are going to balk and offer the coverage because of a different issue, I think that OUR different issue is just as important and should be considered coverable as well.

Soooo….all I can think, is that between the difference in messages once we pointed out our situation, and the stories we’ve heard from our friends, it feels like discrimination to me. In addition, the financial lady kind of scolded me when this all first went down, because she thought my final call to confirm the exclusions may have caused them to scrutinize our case and “realize” they have a legal loophole to exclude gay folk. My problem is: if you aren’t routinely scrutinizing ALL cases (such as our friends’) then don’t scrutinize ANY.

So we took the train into the city to meet with finance lady face-to-face (who I actually adore especially after she started out the meeting telling us how much she admires how much we are advocating for ourselves and encouraged us to “never stop fighting”) and she said that while she believes in our cause, she also doesn’t know if we will get any meaningful movement or payout from the insurance company in the time we would want to start pursuing treatments (basically now as we’d hoped to try to have our first – hopefully only – pregnancy attempt in August). Her recommendation was to pay out of pocket, which we can likely afford if we finance it (but it will make moving out of our condo and into a bigger home a bit tough in the foreseeable future). She provided us with all of the out-of-pocket estimates a little over a week ago when we spoke (I literally talk to this woman all the time – I feel like I should know her birthday so I can send her a gift), and we made peace with the fact that they have a package that is approximately $12K when all is said and done which includes one egg retrieval, two transfers, cryopreservation of any additional embryos, and ICSI (injection of the donor sperm into the eggs to form embryos).

After we rehashed all of the insurance company info during our face-to-face visit, we asked a few questions about that package so we could finalize our expectations as far as the cost (as there were a few small things we weren’t sure about) and she advised us, that the packages they offer are for transfer of your own embryos into your own uterus (so, not co-IVF/reciprocal-IVF). I’m thinking, “Um, lady: I really like you and all, but you KNEW we were lesbians when this all started, and I told you like 10x that we wanted to do IVF particularly as we wanted to go through the process TOGETHER. Why the $%@^ did you think I wanted to do a regular old round of IVF?”

So she said she didn’t realize that, and pulled us out their co-ivf package paperwork (a crappy sheet of paper with a list of all of the treatments instead of the beautiful brochure which highlighted the IVF packages in neat, detailed columns, with photos of cute babies and happy couples on the cover), which is basically 1.5 times the price (around $15k when all is said and done). Ok, so the clinic is doing extra paperwork because we are talking two people instead of one, but…IT’S THE SAME PROCEDURE!! HOW DID WE JUST SUDDENLY JUMP ANOTHER 3K? AND, now the sheet of paper loosely defined as a “package” covered a single round of “fresh” IVF, one retrieval, and no cryopreservation (we are waiting on a call back about the ICSI as she didn’t seem to think that was included in that “package” either as it wasn’t on the page). So in addition to the crappy price, it covered about 1/2 of the items.

Now, I started to tear up in front of this woman (who shouldn’t have been surprised as I called her and began ugly cry hiccuping the day I found out that the insurance company wouldn’t cover any of this), but held it together and didn’t full out sob…for now.

So we took their paperwork, and said our goodbyes, and agreed to touch base in a week or two after we had time to digest things, and she gave us a few other suggested options (asking the doctor if they can honor one of the packages for us as a kind gesture, etc.).

We then left and had dinner at a local market (Indian food for me, which is like…my favorite cuisine ever. And chicken and waffles for my wife…who hates anything remotely spicy and flavorful Indian food. And then we found donuts because…

  1. They are my favorite.
  2. We were near a really spectacular donut place
  3. We kinda had a rough day.
  4. Donuts. Do we really need another reason?

So that kind of made things better.

The next day, I called a lawyer recommended by a friend from college, as I am curious if there is ANYTHING we can do, so I am currently waiting on a call back. The receptionist listened patiently to my story and as I got to the part about being required to have heterosexual sex she gasped, and by the time I mentioned our friends’ situation, she interrupted me to shout, “OH FOR [HEAVEN’S] SAKE, THAT’S DISCRIMINATION!” Which made me feel so…not crazy and almost kind of vindicated for calling. Even if we have no legal recourse, I at least felt like a human being who was worthy of feeling enraged at the situation. Bless that lady’s heart. Fingers crossed for good news…

I am really trying to persuade my wife to pursue IUI instead of IVF but she feels really strongly that she wants to have a biologically related child (she was literally floating the first time we officially heard that IVF was a covered benefit), and she doesn’t feel particularly inclined to carry (and also had some past health problems that make her a little wary of it as well), and I am not quite as committed to the biology aspect but have wanted to experience pregnancy for as long as I can remember, so this just feels like a perfect fit. She said she would consider each of us independently carrying, but she would want to do it first as she is very concerned that by the time we have baby #2 (God, willing), her ovaries will be shriveled up like raisins, her uterus will turn to dust, and she’ll be incapable of getting pregnant (or something like that), so she is insistent that if we do that – she carry first (which is super selfish of me, but would be really disappointing as I have literally held my breath all year for the moment we can get started as I really want to experience pregnancy). I don’t know – IVF is just so ideal. It is the closet we will ever be to a baby that is OURS (raised in my body – feeling my heartbeat and warmth, and sharing my wife’s amazing DNA).

Anyway, I have so much more I could write, but this is probably already obnoxiously long, so until next time.