Let’s Talk Money

On this fine day, my first day past ovulation, let’s talk money.

Money has been on our mind recently.  First there were all the phone calls I had to make to inquire about the cost for outside monitoring at local clinics.  Then Bob and I were talking for days about his job offers and money and decisions.

It’s been daunting, to say the least.

As I have said before, UCSF’s IVF clinic is just down the street from my work.  It would be the ideal place to do my outside monitoring if we decide to go with the Irvine clinic.  I also wanted to meet with one of the REs there.  A lady that I met on an online forum has been banking her day 3 embryos there using mini-IVF with this particular doctor.  I would like to consult with him about the cost and the protocol so we can make an informed final decision of our clinic choice.  

So this is the lowdown.  Seeing the doctor for one hour for consultation and an ultrasound scan will be $325 as someone without insurance.  It’s reasonable and I am okay paying that.  The in-person consultation is scheduled for mid-July.  I can also wait for that.

The staff member responsible for outside monitoring was not available at the time of the phone call so she had to return my call.  When I listened to the voicemail, I thought I heard it wrong because she was heavily accented.  I left her a message requesting for an email confirmation of the fee schedule.

An outside monitoring appointment will cost $385.

Three Hundred Eight Five.  For a ten-minute appointment.  How in the world can they think that they can ask for this much?

Sticker shock.

The cost of blood work ranged from about $48 to $77 each, with $16 for each blood draw.  So imagine… every single time you go there for a monitoring appointment, it will cost at least $545.  Average three appointments per cycle.  You’re looking into $1635 for each cycle.

It is so depressing to think about it.

I was determined to find a cheaper place.  The next day I called two other clinics.  Clinic XYZ that Jane Allen’s RE uses charges $325 per ultrasound, but the blood work for each type of test is $135.  Clinic number three in the city is even more ridiculous.  The grand total of an ultrasound comes to $450 each, with blood work for each test being $110.  So you’re look at $595 to $670.  Per monitoring appointment.  Three times of that will be $1785 and $2010.

I got even more depressed.  

So turns out, UCSF is the least expensive out of the three clinics if you take everything into account.  I can still go to a Quest or LabCorp for blood work.  That should be a lot cheaper.  But in terms of taking time away from work, it seems to be the best to stick with one place.  UCSF is the most convenient.  I can also go back to my own RE who is one hour away.  She is cheaper and I trust her.  But can you imagine that drive for three times each cycle and then traveling to SoCal for retrieval?  Just the thought of it makes me want to puke.

It’s almost a crime to ask for so much money for such a simple thing.  What do they have to do?  Measure the lining.  Measure the follicles.   Nothing else!  Is it because I am in the Bay Area?  It’s just so….. depressing to think about the cost.

*****

Bob had been struggling with making a decision with the job offers that he had.

Here is the list:

1) Big huge corporation – It’s a contracting job.  Hourly rate is wonderfully high.  No benefits.  The team likes him so much that they immediately said they could request to have Bob hired as a fixed term employee for one year.  That would mean a salary for one year plus the full benefits that the company offers.  I know that this company offers great fertility insurance.  So we were very hopeful for a weekend… before the word came back that the team had already reached its quota for full term employees so the request got denied.  How disappointing.  The contract is for nine months only.  After that there is a very low chance that he will be hired on as a regular employee without having to go through the vigorous interview process.  So… most likely he will be looking for a job again in nine months.  But the pay is going to be so so good…. Imagine saving up money for donor egg cycles…

2) Small but established company that is far away – Bob likes the type of things that he’d do at this job.  But it’s so so far away.  He went to the interview for giggles as well as to gain as much experience as possible.  They turn out loving him.  They offered him a job with a decent salary.  But the drive is just too far.  Bob had done that before with his previous jobs and hated it.  This drive is going to be even more brutal.  After thinking a whole lot for days, he decided to decline.  The CEO immediately called him back and offered to let him work from home one day a week.  He also agreed to raise the salary by a few percent.  It was very tempting and Bob was very exciting for only driving there four days a week, until the next morning.  He slept on it, opened his eyes, and found that the commute at 7am would take an hour.  It takes driving on five freeways to get to this job, and the last freeway is notorious for being crazy.  In fact on that Thursday morning we checked, the traffic didn’t clear up until after 10am.  So even with leaving later like at 9, it will still take him an hour to get to work.  After struggling for one day, he finally said he didn’t think he could do the commute four days a week.  It was a very tough decision… and he had to decline the job, again.

3) Start up company in the city – He is also very interested in this job.  But because of his past experience in his previous startup company, he’s a bit leery about this company.  It is more established than his previous company.  It has enough money for another six months and its founders are currently looking for investors.  Bob at first got what we considered a lowball offer.  After a bit of negotiation, the salary went back up to be comparable but still less than the desirable level.  The great thing about this job is that commute takes only a mere 37 minutes with walking, public transportation, and walking.  Totally comfortable and doable.  He has always wanted a job in the city.  So this IS an answer to our prayer.

4) Another small company across the bay – This is also an interesting job.  It’s accessible by public transportation, which would take about an hour.  However, these people are very laid back.  They are slow in taking their time to get back to him with an offer.  At the same time, Bob had been pressured by the other two companies to respond.

Given these choices, Bob had had a few very stressful days.  The pressure was creating some stomach problems for him.  We talked for numerous times on the phone about these offers, what to say in the emails to negotiate for better terms, about the commute and evaluate what was more important.  I prayed.  He prayed.  And we thought for more.  Finally, we decided to forego the bunch of money that the huge big corporation offered.  We declined the far away job because the commute is just too brutal.  The small company across the bay is still taking its sweet time.  The final winner is the job in the city.  Not the easiest decision.  But we both feel at peace about it.  We are blessed with choices, so we’re thankful for that.  But boy, it was a very very tough decision.  It proves that money is not everything.

So, after three months of being unemployed, Bob has a new job!  Hooray!

*****

Glad we made a decision about the job.  The decision about outside monitoring clinic is still pending.  I will have several phone and in-person consultations in the next few weeks so we’ll make a decision about my next cycle soon.

We were good with baby dancing this cycle.  I went for my pap smear yesterday and my doctor commented on how much cervical fluid I had.  I guess it was my fertile time.  We acted on it last night and I got a temperature shift this morning.  I told my doctor that I was not counting on it to give me a baby.  She said… things happen when you least expect it.  I usually would get annoyed with comments like that but I wasn’t bugged by it.  I hope she’s right this time.  Maybe after all, we don’t have to decide on how much money to spend on anything if this is the cycle we’ll find success.  I really really hope so.

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14 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Money

  1. It is NOT just your area-if my monitoring appointments were charged outside of the IUI package price they would be $450-500 each, just for a 30 second ultrasound and an e2 and LH check. And I am in a pretty poor area of the country.

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  2. Congratulations to Bob on the new job, so glad you both have peace about this decision. Praying for you as you make your decisions about clinics in the next couple of months, but hoping that you don’t need it!

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  3. A huge part of me is seriously jealous that you live in a much, much, much more exciting area than I… But I’m learning there is give and take I guess. Or maybe I’m just trying to convince myself that my life here is good 🙂 Everything near me is, well, near me, no traffic, and way less expensive. But there is the give part too, as there is not a freaking thing to do here! And no exciting jobs like Bob is being offered. Good luck thinking through your choices and making the right decisions for the two of you!

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  4. Deciding on what is best is never easy or very fun! It sounds like your husband is quite wanted and will do well at the job you guys decided on! Congratulations!!!
    It should be illegal for such simple appointments to cost that much. It is just wrong how much we have to pay and how much they charge! I hope that you do get pregnant and don’t have to decide this!!!

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  5. That sounds like a lot of options and a lot of thinking. I’m glad you guys made a decision that you’re happy with. As for the money thing, it absolutely sucks to have to choose between having a family and going to the poorhouse. So unfair that we have to think this way.

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  6. That is amazing about Bob’s job! Yay! I hope this cycle is a miracle for you, lovely, especially considering those costs you are facing. It’s incredible how expensive monitoring visits are. The worst part is that some of those costs are driven just by demand…and the ridiculous uncontrolled nature of all human medical costs. Lots of prayers that you don’t need to spend that money, honey!

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  7. Yay, congrats to Bob on the new job! Yikes, that is just criminal about the clinics’ monitoring rates. I hope you find a place you both feel good about moving forward with.

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  8. So many stressful decisions but really happy to hear that Bob has a new job and that your plan for ART is coming together. The charge for the monitoring rates sound really high. Mind you, I never broke down how much we were paying our clinic for all the monitoring so maybe it was as much or more. Do you think they just charge the high prices because they know they can make people will pay them (maybe assuming most / all people have insurance)? Meanwhile, wishing you a lucky natural cycle!

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  9. Oh that’s great that Bob is now employed, that must be such a weight off your shoulders–not that I was overly concerned for him. That’s a ton of decisions to make, but I think that the short commute via public transportation is worth much more than salary. The stress of driving in bad traffic everyday can wear you down. Monitoring is so expensive. And outside monitoring is ridiculous. I think that I pay about $175, but I think that’s with insurance, which we just tapped out (most of the time we were self pay, but we used up our $5,000 lifetime max on this last cycle).

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