The First Steps to the Next Step

I think I am slowly coming out of my cocoon.

My friend Jo continues to gently poke at me every single day in regards to contacting other REs for a second opinion.  So here is what I have done.

I contacted Li.fe IVF down in Irvine on my day off.  I chatted with the new patient coordinator about the process to cycle there as an out-of-town patient.  Bob and I went to the clinic’s IVF seminar in April 2013 and received all the paperwork.  I knew the clinic had raised their fees so I needed to know the new fee schedule.  The coordinator emailed me all the paperwork, which included the new fee schedule, all the pre-IVF screening requirements, registration and history forms, and explanation for their assisted reproductive technology and CCS testing.

For the first time ever, I actually sat down and calculated the amount of money it will take for us to buy a 3-cycle package there at Li.fe.  Of course it is not just the package fees.  It includes all of the following:

  • 3-cycle package fees
  • out-of-town monitoring management fees required by Li.fe, for three cycles
  • estimated cost for ultrasound scans and blood work at local facilities, about three to four times each cycle
  • estimated cost of medication for three cycles
  • plane tickets from SFO to Orange County (times seven assuming Bob only needs to go the first time, four round trip tickets for the three retrievals and three round trip tickets for three transfers)
  • hotel room times six (three retrievals and three transfers)
  • rental car times six (three retrievals and three transfers)

In the fee schedule, it didn’t specify the cost of freezing and thaw sperm.  From one of the high FSH forums, I learned that you can request for the sperm to be frozen at the first retrieval so that your partner doesn’t have to go give a fresh sample at every single retrieval.  I had to email the coordinator and ask about the cost.  And yup, there is a fee for that too.  I am sure frozen embryo storage also requires a fee.  

I calculated the estimated cost for going to Li.fe, which takes a 1.5 hour plane ride to get to.  Then I calculated the cost of doing three regular cycles with my own local RE Dr. E with the cost of medication.

It will cost us $20,000 less to fly to South California and bank our embryos than to go with my own RE again, for three cycles.


Told my friend Jo.  She said, “No brainer”.  I am sure she meant she’d travel to SoCal.

So that means that I will have to do a lot more hard work.  The list of out-of-town monitoring sites that Li.fe offers for the San Francisco Bay Area are all in the South Bay…  Very far from me.  One of the clinics is my own RE’s clinic.. but she’s also far away.  I wish I could just walk over to UCSF since it’s so close to my work.  I have been dreading picking up my phone and calling the IVF clinics in SF to see if they do out-of-town monitoring.  But if we’re seriously thinking about cycling down south, I will have to do that.

I will pat myself on the back though.  I have done more planning and calling around than I ever wanted to do in the last three months.  And guess what?  I also scheduled phone consultations with those two REs that I said would contact for a second opinion.  One is scheduled for June 21st.  The other one on July 8th.  This is a start, isn’t it?

One of the problems I have with traveling to SoCal for my cycles is that I will have to take off two days for retrieval.  It will be difficult to figure out in advance which day to book the plane tickets and it’ll have to be a last minute cancelation on my clients.  I hate to cancel on them so much.  But I’ve got to do what is important to me.  So I’ll have to handle telling my clients’ parents about the reason for my cancelation.  Maybe I am thinking too much about it.  Maybe it’s going to be fine.  It just stresses me out a little having to think about coordinating the logistics.  I also run the risk of ovulating before retrieval.  

And the thought of cycling all over again is still daunting at this moment.  

You guys… I am going to turn 40 next month.  I know I shouldn’t let fear take over.. and I believe I am not.  Otherwise, I would have started my cycles again shortly after our chemical pregnancy.  When I got married at 36, I never thought that I would be childless or not pregnant at age 40.  But the thought of me approaching 40 without a baby doesn’t do my emotions any good.  

Today I survived going to my first baby shower in a very long time.  I went for only 30 minutes since I also had to attend my infertile pregnant friend’s baby party.  I wanted to go to support my friend Anna who struggled to get pregnant and will give birth in August.  I actually had dinner with her last night so I don’t feel too guilty only going to her shower for 30 minutes. I am glad I had a reason to escape the second part of the shower which was the present opening part.  It would’ve been a lot harder for me to sit through the whole shower smiling.  The second party was at a Chinese restaurant with a 10-course meal.  Bob and I sat with a bunch of ladies who were my friend’s former coworkers.  The conversation turned to one of the ladies’ grown kids and whether or not they would get married any time soon.  One of the ladies said, “Don’t wait until you’re 40 before you have your first baby.”  

I was sitting there thinking…. Uh.. that’s me.  Forty years old and no babies.

I didn’t react much to that though.  Bob was concerned that I was offended.  But I was not too affected by it.  In a lot of people’s eyes, 40-year-old is old to have a baby.  I didn’t want to wait until 40 but if this is the path, then what can I do?

Anyways, I am back in the game.  I started taking my prenatal vitamins and all the supplements again.  I even placed an order for more.  My friend Jo gently challenged me to stop drinking coffee.  Her argument is, since I have to pay so much money and put so much effort into making a baby, why not also give up something that may influence the outcome?  So… I am taking up the challenge and haven’t had my daily morning coffee at home.  I arranged for my medical records for all of my IVF cycles to be sent to me and one of the physicians.  I am doing what I can do right now to put my toe in the water for the next chapter of my life: IVF #5.  

We still don’t know what the solid plan is.  But it’s the first step to explore all the different options.

Maybe things will change if Bob gets a job that offers fertility insurance.

We shall see.