Giving life to the Journal again

by SI on January 16, 2014

It’s been one year since I wrote on this site. Soon after I wrote my last post on fertility treatments, I got pregnant with our little miracle.

I was dying to scream at the top of my voice from the highest mountain peak for the whole world to hear and share my joy but I was scared. I was really really scared. I spent almost every day of my pregnancy in fear of losing my baby; fear that something would happen to her; fear of all kinds. What if my messed up hormones cause a miscarriage? What if I am not providing enough nourishment to the baby? What if I pass on my PCOS to her? Will my obesity affect the baby in any way? Will all the hormones kick in at the right time to help me deliver the baby normally? After I have the baby will I be able to breastfeed?

Some people might think I am paranoid. May be I am. But the amount of time I spend wishing something, I couldn’t believe that it had finally come true. And if I share that it might all come crashing down. May be I will wake up one day and someone will laugh at me and tell me it was all a dream! If it is a dream, I don’t want to wake up and interrupt the dream. No, I didn’t think I had it in me to handle that. Hiding was easy.

In fact, I wrote articles pretty regularly but I didn’t have the courage to post. What if I jinx it? What if I share and something happens? Will I be able to handle it? I decided I couldn’t. It was easy for me to hide for the entire 9 months, have the bundle of joy in my hands and then share the news.

Now I have my little miracle in my hands – a beautiful baby girl who is looking at me and smiling; I feel blessed every single minute I hold her. Even now I have my fears – my PCOS is wreaking havoc with breastfeeding. It takes quite a bit of effort from my part to keep my supply up. But now I do it for her. I am channeling all my energy into providing the best I can for her and enjoying every moment with her.

In the last 12 months, I have explored and learned about a LOT of PCOS issues related to pregnancy and breastfeeding, effects of different medications, hereditary and environmental contribution to PCOS and a lot more. I will start posting those again. I have a newborn who needs me, so I am not going to promise ‘x’ number of articles every week, but I will post a lot more than I have ever done so far. I will share whatever I have learned that might help other cysters. Some of the article timing might be a little confusing because I originally wrote that while being pregnant. I will note the timing at the top if it is one of those articles.

A very Happy New Year to you all!

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I have not talked about the financial implications of PCOS so far, but it has become too big for us to ignore. Our insurance, like most insurance, won’t cover any fertility treatments so anything related to fertility we pay 100%. Just in the last one week we have spent $1339.98, yes in just one week! And we have not even ventured into the more invasive treatments like IVF.

Thankfully, we expected this expense and have saved for it. But it would have helped us so very much if I had known the actual cost of each treatment and drug. I would have saved better and not worry about running out of money. So when our doctor’s billing statement included a laundry list of basic fertility treatments and their cost, I wanted to share it with everyone. I chatted up my nurse to get more cost information for advanced fertility treatments. It gives me an idea of what to expect, hopefully it will be helpful for my fellow cysters who want to have a baby in the future.

Note: These are prices my doctor charges. So obviously they won’t be exactly the same, but it should be in the ballpark. Even fertility treatment follow the law of free market right?

Cost of initial visit and fertility treatment evaluation

New patient consultations

Subsequent visits (they have visit “levels”, not sure what they actually mean. Our follow up visits are now charged at level 2. I am assuming if we move on more advanced treatments the level will go up)

  • Office visit Level 2 : $50
  • Office visit Level 3 : $85
  • Office visit Level 4 : $115
  • Office visit Level 5 : $155
  • Nurse consultation : $35

Cause of infertility evaluation costs

  • Semen analysis : $150
  • Pelvic Ultrasound to evaluate ovaries and uterus : $185
  • Hormone panel (blood test) : $150
  • Blood draw supplies (yes, they charge for this too!) : $25
  • Hysterosalpingogram (aka HSG, A painful dye test to check if there is any block in the Fallopian tubes) : $475

Cost of procedures to evaluate the fertility treatments

  • Follicle Ultrasound : $150
  • Obstetric Ultrasound : $185
  • Saline Ultrasound : $105
  • Uterine depth Ultrasound : $185

Cost of fertility drugs

  • Clomid/Serophene (Clomiphene) : ~$3/50mg tablet. I had 250mg per day for 7 days, it cost me a little more than $100. Also, most insurance covers Clomid, so your price might be a lot less.
  • FSH injectible (Gonal-F, Follistim) : ~$600 for a 600IU vial. My doctor started me at 75IU a day, which according to him is the minimum dose, they will slowly increase it, some women take 450IU. But for PCOS they usually don’t go that high as we might produce too many follicles.
  • Human chorionic gonadatropin (hCG) : $50

Cost of basic fertility treatments

  • Intrauterine Insemination :  $160
  • Endometrial Biopsy : $210
  • Cyst aspiration : $605
  • Ultrasound Guid. For aspiration : $315
  • Lamineria Insertion : $160
  • Cervical Dilation : $160
  • Follicle puncture : $1400
  • Hysterosonogram : $490

Cost of more advanced fertility treatments

  • 1 cycle IVF (Invitro Fertilization) : $8500
  • Cost of injectable fertility meds for an IVF cycle : ~$4000
  • IVF with donor eggs : $25000-$30000
  • In Vitro fertilization with ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) :  $10000-$15000
  • Frozen embryo transfer : $2545
  • Ultrasound Guid. Embryo transfer : $150
  • Semen Wash : $325
  • Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) : $8000-$15000
  • Gestational carriers (aka surrogate mothers) : $20000-$50000

Currently, I am taking the FSH injections 75IU/day (~$75/day) with Follicle Ultrasound and blood test monitoring ($150+$150) every 3 days.

As I said, the cost won’t exactly be the same everywhere, but this should give a pretty good idea on what to expect. 

 

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