First, I want to say that I personally believe that our first IVF cycle would not have been successful without prayer and the power of God. For me, I rely solely on the belief that God put this child (or children) inside my belly in order to follow through on his promise to me; his promise to fulfill the desires of my heart.
That being said, I have gotten a lot of questions about our IVF experience and thought I would share. If you're considering IVF, I would highly recommend it. For my husband and I, having kids was nonnegotiable. We decided to go forward with IVF, regardless of how it would affect us financially.
How much does IVF cost?
It can definitely vary! And for those women who are lucky enough to have insurance that covers it, you are a lucky dog. My insurance didn't cover a single penny. Boo hoo. In total, we spent around $12,000. There were two separate payments: the medication, and everything else. The medication cost us around $3,000 and was sent to us through a fertility pharmacy. Everything else was included in a "package" through my hospital, which was $9,000. The package included things such as the egg retrieval, the Embryo transfer, all ultrasounds, all bloodwork, etc.
How did you pay for IVF?
It's certainly taboo to talk about money in American culture, but I could care less. I am totally an open book. The first thing I want to make very clear: Ross and I paid for IVF ourselves. We didn't have any assistance from either of our parents. Second thing: "we paid for it ourselves", really means is that we're now $10,000 in debt to the bank because we had to take a loan out. We will be paying roughly $300 a month for the next several years for the loan. We used a part of our savings to pay for the remainder of the expenses.
How many doctor appointments are there?
There are a lot of doctor appointments during an IVF cycle. So if you're working full-time like I am, be prepared to be out of the office quite a bit. I am thankful because my supervisor is so supportive and allowed me to use my comp time & sick time for these appointments. I would encourage you to be open and honest with your boss/manager/supervisor with everything so that y'all can create a game plan for 'catching up'. If I had to guess, I would say that I had roughly 10-15 doctor appointments during the IVF cycle. Your body needs to consistently be monitored to ensure the medication is working appropriately. Your doctor will decide if you should lower your dosage, or increase it.
How many injections are there?
My first injection started on August 27th, and I still take them today. I will be taking them for another month. Get used to stabbing yourself, or make your husband do so. The needles gradually get bigger, so it's a fairly smooth transition. In total, I know I've definitely been stabbed far more than 100 times since August 27th since some days we took 3-4 shots.
Do the injections hurt?
Honestly, you get used to it, especially the first few shots (Lupron). However, since I am still taking them, my body has started to get annoyed with me. It have been bleeding more and more lately. I will be a happy camper once I can stop the injections fully!
What did you do to prepare your body for IVF?
I did anything and everything to prep my body for a successful cycle. Here are just a few things that come to mind:
1) Stopped caffeine intake
2) Zero alcohol
3) Cutback on the sugar
4) Only used unscented body products (ex: body wash, lotion, etc)
5) No self-tanner
7) No perfume
8) After the Embryo Transfer, I ate pineapple
When did you take your first pregnancy test?
My doctor had schedule me to do a beta blood test on 14dp5dt (14 days after our embryo transfer). I, however, decided to test at home on the Friday before just to "get it over it." That was 10dp5dt (10 days after our embryo transfer). Most pregnancy tests can detect hCG (the pregnancy hormone) on a test by 9 days after the embryo transfer.
Now that you're pregnant, what happens?
My doctor said that it's standard protocol to wait 3 full weeks from the first positive pregnancy test to do the ultrasound. This means that I get to wait again - ugh. I just want to meet my baby/babies! But, until our appointment, I am to continue taking progesterone injections.
For more details of our TTC Journey, go here.