Of the many comments and 'helpful' tips people have offered me regarding my experience with infertility, the one comment that hits home the hardest is, "If you can't afford to do IVF on your own, then you can't afford a baby!" I understand why people think this because I thought it too. The reality is that infertility treatments are expensive. In the past year, we have personally paid for 4 intrauterine inseminations (IUI) and a round of in vitro fertilization (IVF) along with all the doctor's appointments leading up to each procedure and the expensive medicines, shots, and pills that go along with each procedure. All of this was paid out of pocket. Nothing was covered by our insurance. There isn't a payment plan option. All money for each procedure is due upfront in one large sum! Needless to say, we've drained our savings and we are tapped out. We simply couldn't afford another round of IVF out of pocket.
Fundraising for Another Round of IVF
Knowing about our financial situation, I have an amazing friend who started a fundraiser for us. I was against the idea of it. Call it pride, call it stubbornness, call it whatever you want. I cried about it, I fought with my husband about it, I prayed about it. Finally, I started to come around. It took me awhile, but I finally agreed to swallow my pride and just do it. The response was amazing! I was blown away by the outpouring of love and support. People were thanking us because this was a way they felt like they could actually help us. Reading time and time again about another failed procedure and yet another negative pregnancy test, people didn't know what to say, what to do, or how to help. But this was a way they felt they could contribute. Honestly, I had never thought about it like that. I could hold my head high and not feel so ashamed and embarrassed about our decision to accept help. But, that doesn't mean everyone gets where we are coming from.
But Seriously - If You Can't Afford IVF, How Can You Afford a Baby?
The question still comes up, and I don't blame people for wondering. If we can't afford another round of IVF, then how will we ever afford a baby? Kids are expensive. I may not have any, but this I know. I knew I had to come up with some kind of analogy for people; a way to explain why we felt it was OK for us to fundraise for our treatment. A way for people to hopefully understand all that we've been through, and a way to compare all the money we've already spent in a way they could understand. If you've never been through this, it's hard to wrap your head around.
Think of Paying for IVF Like Buying a New Car
Let's pretend that you go to a new car dealership and you find the car you want. It's a little bit expensive, but you really want it. The sales person comes over to you and starts to make your dream car a reality. There's a catch though. In order for you to purchase this car, you can't finance it like you're used to with other major life purchases. You need to pay cash for it all up front. You think about it, and since there's no other way, you decide to save up and come back another time.
Oh, Did We Mention That There Are No Guarantees at this Dealership?
You finally saved enough money to pay for your car so you go back to the dealership. You're getting ready to buy the car, but of course, you want to test drive it to make sure it works. Nope! You can't test drive it - sorry! There are no guarantees at this dealership! You'll get the keys two weeks after you pay for it in full. So you pay your money (lots of money) and you wait your two weeks, you go back to the dealership, you get your keys and jump in your car. You're so excited! You turn the key and...oh so sorry, the key doesn't work. Your car doesn't start. You're pissed, hurt, upset. You go to the dealer and demand your money back. Sorry, no refunds. But he does ask you if you want another key. And if so, that will be another upfront payment!
My question to you is this - would you try again? Pay more money upfront with no guarantee because you really, really want this car? Most of you would probably turn away with your middle finger in the air at the dealership. You just 'wasted' thousands and thousands of dollars and have nothing to show for it - no car and no money. Why would anyone do it again? We did though. This is our 6th time trying.
Accepting Help is the Right Decision for us
So some may still judge, and that's OK. I won't judge you for judging me. I'm finally at peace with our decision to accept financial help. I feel confident that this is the right decision for us and I feel no shame in coming to this conclusion. Hopefully, our dream will finally come true because, after turning so many failed keys, hope is all that I have left. Accepting help from others is helping to keep our dream alive. Multiple failed fertility procedures can be financially devastating and this is why accepting financial help is the right decision for us.