Friday, January 25, 2008

Looking for Financial Advice

Hi everyone...

I'm looking for insight from other IF people who have been there, done that.

IF related expenses are stressing me out, and we haven't even accumulated them yet. Our insurance covers diagnostics but not treatment of IF. What that means is all the poking and prodding through now has been covered (except for my wretched HSG!--I still maintain that they should have paid me for enduring that nonsense!)--anyway, it's all been covered as they've tried to determine what the problem is. But once that is figured out, we're on our own, unless there is some other medical reason completely unrelated to conception that would necessitate the problem being fixed (which is where my surgeries for cyst removal come in). But right now I don't know if there's any realistic hope for that scenario if the doctor's suspicion is confirmed.

IVF runs about $15,000.

So does embryo adoption.

So does domestic infant agency adoption.

Any way you slice it, we're looking at $15,000 for a chance at having a child at the end of it.

That's really done a lot for our perspective. With every little luxury, we find ourselves asking "would we rather have this or a baby?" We've really cut down on our expenses and we're saving aggressively.

But this stresses me out on so many levels. First, I can't even fathom that much money. We make decent money for our place in life but it will still take a long time to save that much.

Second, it's hard for me to reconcile spending that much money when it only might produce the desired results.

Third, I have a really hard time not resenting the fact that we have to spend gobs of money on what plenty of other people get for free, including people who don't want it to begin with. I don't think about it often, but on the occasions that I do, it gets the better of me. It just gets me sometimes that this shouldn't be so dang hard. At every turn, there's a new obstacle! Sometimes I really want to ask why can't this just be easy!?

Don't get me wrong. I am not a money person (much to my husband's chagrin). I don't care about the amount. If I had it, I'd spend it on one of those three things and never look back. So it's not that I begrudge the expense itself (and certainly not the end result) and it's not like I'd sit around bemoaning all the things I could have or invest in with that $15000 instead. I've just never been wired that way. That's another of the endless ways DH and I are such a good fit--I tend to care too little about money and DH is a bit too squeaky (his word!!--his motto is "Frugal is fun!") anyway...so we enjoy balancing each other in that regard.

I struggle with wondering how do you balance that with living life? We decided last year that we were going to stop living like we were in a holding pattern. We promised ourselves that we're going to enjoy this season of our life and take advantage of our childlessness and do things that we couldn't do if we were more tied down.

I can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciated this last year of our marriage when we took that to heart and spent time traveling, sharing hobbies, going on dates and really just enjoying each other's company and relishing our companionship. I really cherish that and last year was my favorite year of our relationship. These kinds of things don't always have to cost money, but sometimes they do. Also, we both enjoy giving generously. That's really hard for both of us to give up. We want to continue making trips to see family and friends a priority and that too is hard to let go of.

It's just so hard to find the balance between so many goods!

I'm really not stressed about where the money will come from in the long run. I mean, I am a teensy bit, but I know that if God wants us to pursue one of those three options, he'll provide the means somehow. But I am stressed about knowing that we're walking the road in the mean time in a balanced fashion. Do any of you IF ladies (and gents!) have any practical suggestions? How do you maintain the balance in your marriage between planning for the future and delighting in the season that you're in? How do you manifest that in the tangible areas of life? Did you ever wrestle with the idea of committing so much money to a maybe? How did you reconcile that? Have you regretted any of the decisions you've made?

Right now I'm sort of afraid to move in any direction. I feel wedged in a valley between two insurmountable, mutually exclusive mountains. I'd really love any practical suggestions you have!

4 comments:

  1. I don't know what your diagnosis is or will be in the future, but if it's an underlying disease, why does insurance have to know it has anything to do with fertility? I'm not talking about IVF and adoption obviously, but if the cause of your infertility ends up being a treatable medical condition, you should be able to have that covered (for example, for me it was endometriosis and I'd need that fixed even if I didn't want kids).

    As for saving money, we faced the exact same thing you are talking about. We're saving for adoption and put $500 away each month (which we can do because we put ourselves on a tight budget). We plan to use this savings for the homestudy and any other upfront costs, but to take out a loan for the rest. We figure that's debt that we'll be happy to have. We also have heard you can get special loans for adoption. We also chose to do it through Catholic Charities because they tend to charge you a percentage of your income which ends up being lower than other agencies.

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  2. I like allyouwhohope's suggestion. Put away for the adoption, and then take out a loan for the rest. Continue with the IF treatments, but adoption seems more of a sure thing.

    Are you living as cheaply as possible? Have you considered the possibility of aggressively growing your at-home business or venturing back out into the workplace? If you worked outside the home, would you be able to put more away, faster? I'm sure you've looked at all these things, I'm just throwing stuff out there. :)

    I suggest setting goals, maybe by year or by month. "If we save 1500 in four months, then we will go out to a fancy restaurant and share time with each other in that way" or whatever it is that gives you joy. Just as with a diet, you can't expect not to stumble or splurge now and then... And set a timeline. How long are we willing to wait, do we continue IF treatments for two more years? three? Or do we begin saving for the adoption immediately, and if we have enough in four year's time...

    I do want to say one thing, and take this in the best light possible. You frequently seem quite stressed out or tired, and this isn't going to help your body be any more receptive to treatments. As a girl who struggles with her weight too, I'd say consider going to the gym or getting back on a regular exercise plan combined with healthy eating... (I'm not sure if you are or not). Your baby, wherever it is, unborn as of now, or inside you, will love a healthy happy stress-free mama.

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  3. I'm with allyouwhohope on this one--if it is a medical issue, then it shouldn't count as infertility treatment for insurance purposes. But, if the doctor does identify a medical problem, then be sure to stay on top of the insurance company. I have had to argue a few little things, and I made sure before surgery that my insurance approved the diagnosis codes.

    I don't know what your insurance situation is, or the specific diagnosis, but I'd think that a second opinion would be a good thing. This is just my two cents, and I don't know how much it applies to your situation, but it seems to me that an RE who uses IVF will be more likely to recommend it as a solution than a doctor who doesn't use IVF. I found a huge difference between my doctor (who does not use IVF) and the RE we saw locally. My doctor was far more interested in doing a thorough diagnosis and making sure that all of the medical issues were treated. The RE would do only minimal diagnosis and laid out a plan moving from medical treatment to IUI and then to IVF very quickly. The RE was pretty dismissive of our suspicions of endometriosis, PCOS, etc. In fact, my doctor identified and treated a whole lot of medical problems I had (including endometriosis and PCOS)--with the RE, these would have gone undiagnosed. So, it might be worth it to get a second opinion from someone who focuses solely on medical/surgical treatment, because they will be looking for medically treatable issues with great care.

    It might be worth just calling the Pope Paul VI Institute (www.popepaulvi.com) or one of the FertilityCare centers in Arizona (http://www.fertilitycare.org/locations/arizona.htm) to see what they say about your situation and whether there's anything they might be able to do medically. Of course, I really don't know the nature of the diagnosis you've received so far--and I'm not trying to pry!--so I hope this isn't totally irrelevant.

    I have also seen at least one embryo adoption possibility that is less expensive. I don't know anything about this program other than what I saw on their website, but the costs they list are much less than $15,000: http://www.embryodonation.org/index.html

    And don't forget the adoption tax credit! I think it's $11,000 now. Friends of mine who adopted domestically said that they basically broke even between adoption expenses and the tax credit.

    Sorry for the very long comment--just trying to think of anything that might be helpful!

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  4. i was in your shoes awhile ago when i really had no idea how we would get the money for if treatments. i did do some research and basically came up with a few things. for one, adoption is obviously more of a guarantee than ivf. but, of course it could take longer. there are some clinics that offer shared risk. in other words...you pay say 18000 and you get several tries for ivf. if it doesn't work, you get the majority of your money back. secondly, you can get low interest loans for adoption and some infertility treatments. look into it. finally, if you think about 15000 it sounds like a lot of money. clearly it is, but most cars cost more than that. think about it...how long do you have a car for? just food for thought!

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