I really hate talking about money. We have such a love-hate relationship with it around here. We are desperately trying to get out of debt, and yet seem to run into it at every turn. We’re living on a shoestring budget but need to tighten up. We strive to be non-consumers in so many ways, mostly because we both hate materialism and commercialism. But we sure could use two new laptops and some hardwood flooring.
So when we started to do this whole IF thing, money naturally was a concern. For the first nine months, it was easy — no gurus, OB-Gyn copays only, and no meds. When we started with the gurus in September 2008, all my diagnostics were covered by insurance, with our copays and deductibles being our only issue. However, the minute I took the first Clomid, insurance stopped paying for anything but the drugs. All appointments were now on us. This still wasn’t a huge deal. Ultrasounds and blood work usually wasn’t more than $150 each month and we could fit that nicely into our budget.
Injectables and a planned IUI have changed all of that. I make no bones about telling people this whole cycle is on Visa. We had my old Visa almost entirely paid off, and it will most certainly not be by the end of this cycle. Which is why we’re almost at the end of our TTC mess. Unfortunately, it seems to be a huge taboo to talk about how much fertility treatments cost. I am over it, y’all. I’ve talked to you about giving yourself injections, and about all manner of personal stuff. I want this cycle of my infertility trial to benefit you by providing you with information. So I’m going to through some numbers at you in case you got here by Googling “how much does an injectable fertility cycle cost?!”.
Please bear in mind that these are the costs that I have been quoted. Your clinic and insurance are sure to be different. Your willingness to use internet drug sites might be a lot more…willing…than mine. I am just telling you what we have as a baseline.
Each visit to my doctor for monitoring includes an internal ultrasound and blood work to monitor my estradiol levels. My gurus tell me that estradiol, or E2, is an indicator of how well I’m responding because it’s produced by developing follicles. I typically have an appointment on the weekend and one during the week. Lately I seem to fall on Wednesdays and Sundays, or Tuesdays and Saturdays. Two visits each week. Each visit costs $217. Each week therefore costs $434. I have been eight times, I believe. Luckily, the insurance coordinator at my clinic called me aside last Wednesday and said that once I reached six GNT appointments, they no longer charge for ultrasounds. So each visit will only be $54 for blood work. Yay for being a big ol’ failure so far! In all seriousness, this has injected (HA!) new life into this cycle – we were within three visits of having to quit, and now have about 12 more until we are broke. If you are trying a GNT cycle, plan ahead for the number of visits you can afford and make it known to your doctor.
I have a vial of human chorionic gonadotropin waiting for me at the end of this cycle. It cost me $70 with insurance, and is one dose. I won’t be linking to any shopping sites for this as it’s technically an anabolic steroid and I don’t need that kind of traffic, thankyouverymuch.
I am currently on Bravelle. I order it from a specialty pharmacy because that is the only way my insurance will pay for it. However, I love this pharmacy and am seriously considering transferring all our prescriptions there because they have been courteous, helpful, and super-fast. Even when there was a little snafu that was not really their fault, they jumped in to help out. I was prescribed 30 vials of Bravelle, or 6 boxes. I have four refills, for a total of 120 vials. I am currently halfway through my second order. I pay only a $50 copay for each shipment, which includes all my syringes, needles, drug box, and alcohol pads. And shipping, as far as I can tell. When I ordered my first shipment, I asked the kind lady on the phone how much this would cost if my insurance had turned it down. She either told me $150 or $170. I can’t remember, so let’s err on the side of caution and say $150. PER VIAL, y’all.
Reality check: If I were to order all 120 vials that I may very well need without benefit of insurance, it would look like this:
30 vials x 4 refills = 120 vials
120 vials x $150/vial = $18,000
Wrap your head around that. That is just for drugs. Not for an IUI, not for monitoring visits, not for the $25 in gas I spend for each appointments. 18K for tiny vials of medication to maybe have a baby. I currently use 2.5 vials each night. That’s $375 worth of medication each night. My insurance may suck, but thank God for it!
Luckily, there are lots of sites online where you can order drugs for cheap. The cheapest site I saw listed Bravelle at $80. $80 times 120 = $12,000. So much more reasonable. Sure.
So you can see why this is a big deal. I hope this information has helped someone in some way, even if it’s put a kink in your plans. Knowledge is power, and information is a good tool to have at your disposal. I’ll do a similar post for our IUI when we finally get there. Which, at this rate, if probably going to be in about 2012…..