Dollars and Sense of Family Building (our story)

[This post is part of an on-line discussion being hosted by Write Mind Open Heart and Baby Smiling. Talking about money is very hard for me. Please keep that in mind.]

There are many interesting anecdotes about the day that I was born. It is a day that involved Christmas parties, drunk doctors and a helicopter. Another little fact about my birth is that I happen to know that I cost $75.

Want to know the total of how much it cost to bring W into my life? Me too. I honestly don’t know. A large part of this is because a very significant part of the cost (my OB care and his actual birth) were covered by a state maternity plan. I have seen paperwork so I have an idea what the cost was. The C-section alone was easily a volvo or two.

So. Yeah. I have a lot of posts that you can read up on if you want to delve into that further. OB care and the cost of actually having a baby are ridiculously expensive. It is unfortunate that, because I was single, maternity coverage from the insurance company that I was covered under as an individual for several years was so expensive that it was impossible for me to have.

But I suspect what ya’ll might find more interesting is sperm and “how much does an IUI cost”?

Here is a breakdown of my cycles and a VERY rough estimate of the costs associated with them. I am including links to a pertinent post for each trying cycle beginning with IUI 5 as that was the first cycle I blogged about.

(Note: I self-paid all of my fertility treatments. Not a single aspect was covered by any insurance. Note part 2: I was lucky enough to never have to pay for any of my injectable medication. It was always donated to me from a clinic or from a friend from the internet.)

0. Doctor, Genetic testing, Girly labs work-up: 450

1. Doctor, IUI, sperm (donor A): 600

2. Doctor, IUI, sperm (donor A): 600

3. Doctor, IUI, sperm (donor A – low count, had to mix 2 vials): 800

4. Doctor, IUI, clomid, blood work & monitoring, sperm (donor A): 750

5. Doctor, IUI, clomid, trigger, bloodwork & monitoring, sperm (donor A): 800

6. Doctor, IUI, femar, trigger, bloodwork & monitoring, sperm (donor A): 800

* HSG [can't remember cost!]

* Exploratory Laparoscopy for endometriosis [after nightmare insurance battle ended up costing us $12,000. Yes.]

7. Doctor, IUI, femara, trigger,  bloodwork & monitoring, extra wash, combined two vials, sperm (donor B ): 900

8 Doctor, IUI, injectables*, bloodwork & monitoring, sperm (donor C): 950

9. Doctor, IUI, injectables*, bloodwork & monitoring, sperm (donor C): 950

10. Doctor, IUI, injectables*, bloodwork & monitoring, sperm (donor C): 950

11. Doctor, IUI, injectables*, bloodwork & monitoring, sperm (donor C): 950

12. Doctor, IUI, injectables*, bloodwork & monitoring, sperm (donor D): 950

13. Doctor, IUI x2, injectables*, progesterone, bloodwork & monitoring, sperm(donor D x2): 1450

14. Home insemination – supplies, shipping, 2 vials (donor E): 650

15. shared IVF/ cancelled [travel costs, bloodwork, monitoring]: 3000

16. IVF [travel costs, bloodwork & monitoring] (donor C): 3000

17. FET [travel costs, bloodwork & monitoring]: 3000 500*

(you can and should read all about how that FET happened at that price)

So let’s do some math (oh gawd!)…. looks like the tally here for 5+ years of trying to create motherhood was just over $30,000.

I know of women and families that have spent significantly more and significantly less to achieve parenthood so I won’t try and make that number anything other than what it is for me personally. For a woman who had virtually zero income (I made no money, nor did I ask for any money, when I was Millie’s full time care-giver) it was incredibly hard. I am lucky that the clinic that I went to for IUIs 1-13 had a billing program and 2 days before W was born we paid the very last payment due to the clinic.

So what will I say if W ever asks me how much he cost? Well W happens to have a Mother that is now and will always be incredibly open about the journey it took for him to get here. Part of that path involves finances (or the lack thereof). Part of the conversation to have with W will include what it means to want something and having to wait and save up for it.

Woven into this breakdown of my personal costs (and as I was going back through old posts) is another point I want to talk to W about- and that is the word “help”. One of the biggest lessons I learned while trying to become a Mother was that people generally want to help you, but you must ask. And I don’t just mean financially in this case, although I did financially receive help when I asked for it. I also mean with medical care. I learned to be very up front about my insurance situation. I learned to ask for generics. I learned to be vocal at every opportunity that I was paying out of pocket.

Finances are a huge part of what happens next for us. It would be wonderful to want another child and have that instantly happen without any financial stress involved in the creation. But that is not the reality for me.

How open do you plan to be with your (future) children about what it took financially to have them become a part of your family? Does hearing about how much other people have spent/ are spending help?

Visit Write Mind Open Heart for more perspectives on the Dollars and $ense of Family Building and if you write about it please add your own blog to the hop. (link up closes on May 1.)

Comments

  1. Mel says

    “I know of women and families that have spent significantly more and significantly less to achieve parenthood so I won’t try and make that number anything other than what it is for me personally.”

    I love the way you wrote that.

  2. says

    I have so much I want to say here, and I’m not even sure if I’ve actually ever commented on your blog before (although we did email briefly last year), but I do just want to say right now that the link to the blog hop is broken! Can you please fix and then I can join in AND may actually collect my thoughts and say something useful here as well :-)

    • says

      Argh – sorry! Posted too fast. For shame. And when I said ‘useful’ above, I don’t think I meant that. I think I need to go to bed and try again tomorrow.

  3. says

    I was blessed beyond measure to have outstanding insurance because I could not have afforded the meds it took to get Gabe here. The lovenox alone would have cost between $!000 and $3000 a month.

  4. says

    My sister cost $25 because apparently the hospital or insurance company was having a special on babies. My parents don’t remember how much I cost, but apparently more.

    Elizabeth cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000. I don’t know about Luke yet, I suspect he will be about the same. At least for his delivery, the testing I am now undergoing makes that a little different.

  5. Kelly says

    I am very fortunate to work for a large hospital system. While we have an HMO type plan (no choice in doctors or hospitals outside of the system), both of my children have cost me the $30 initial doctor visit to confirm the pregnancy and nothing extra. The inequity is the insurance situation is disturbing. However, I do have to note that any fertility treatments outside of drugs would not have been covered.

  6. Nikki says

    Wow, I’ve never added up how much B cost us financially. It almost cost both of us our sanity and it changed our relationship several times (both for better and for worse) but financially it was costly too, and I should add it up. I was lucky to have wonderful insurance with infertility coverage and without it we would not have been able to even start the journey.

  7. says

    Part of what I love about how W came to be is that he is in part a result of the concerted efforts of this community of bloggers. He is a representation of our love for you, and in turn, he is a representation of us.

    Love it.

  8. says

    Great post! After spending more than $100,000 out of pocket over 3 years (yes, and we are two teachers, not corp. execs) in unsuccessful fertility treatments, we adopted our daughter. Our adoption was about 1/2 as expensive than a typical agency adoption, because it was a private adoption, but it still wasn’t cheap. I’m not comfortable saying how much here, because adoption is never about how much a baby “cost”. Of course, none of us buy our babies, we pay for medical (or in our case, legal) services, but adoption has the stigma that you are buying a baby.

    When she asks, I will tell her she was priceless. I’d happily spend the IVF and adoption money over tenfold and more for the joy of being her mother.

  9. Shannon says

    The financial aspect is one of the reasons why I still haven’t jumped fully into the ttc world. Thank you so much for sharing. I wish some othe single mothers would contribute! :)

  10. says

    I’ve always known that ART is expensive. But I never really put numbers to it. Visiting the links here has me slack-jawed at just how high the costs really are.

    I am afraid to go back and see what we spent. I don’t think I want that number in my consciousness.

    Thanks SO much for sharing your thoughts her, Calliope!

  11. says

    love this. it’s so stark to see the numbers in b&w though, isn’t it? I couldn’t bear to do that. I mean I’ve done it each year for tax deductions, and in my head, but to write it all down, yikes. and I share mel’s love for your quote too.

    also agree with kymberli’s comment about the power of community. amazing, truly.

    but what I love most is how you will use W’s story to help teach him a critical life lesson. priceless.

  12. V says

    I’ve saved every bill and when she hits her teens and starts giving me lip, I’m going to whip them out and show her. In all honesty I think I”m close to $20000 for baby #1 and TTC#2 should cost around $8000, but our government gives me back 66% of it when all is said and done (this came in after I had L). I pay 20% for my meds and my work insurance picks up the rest. All other related health care is covered. I think I’m very lucky to be living where I am. In the end, I want my kid(s) to know this was no fluke, they were much anticipated, long awaited and in the words of another poster…priceless.

  13. Michelle says

    L–Our first cost us 20,000…I will start deducting from her allowance when she is older. I am of course joking about the allowance. F–Cost us 800 (first try WOOT) to create….2,500 to birth. We are lucky/blessed that we survived the financial struggle to make our babies. Even luckier that they chose us.

  14. says

    I never counted the full cost – even though much of it was covered by my health fund (I’m in Israel). I also intend to be very honest with my daughter when she is old enough and am blogging about the experience. The wisest comment I got from a friend, on this subject, was: Children will accept their own story and origins according to how you portray it. If your attitude is one of ‘isn’t it wonderful that we could do this and aren’t we lucky?’ then this will be their take on it too. But you have to start young.

  15. says

    OK, I’m back. I’ve now written my own post for the blog hop, but in essence I HATED the money angle of trying to conceive. It wasn’t the forcing reason why I changed paths, but it came pretty close. I suppose I personally struggle with a ‘whatever it takes’ mentality, especially since I am open to parenting without a pregnancy or biological link. I feel blessed and oddly disassociated from others in my position at the same time. When you look at how quickly the money can add up, and the toll that trying to conceive also has on the mind and the body, it’s a hard and fast rollercoaster ride.

    Will I now have to justify to my future children why I didn’t fork out the big bucks to conceive? Who knows. I suppose in the first instance I may need to deal with the fact that I tried to conceive at all!

    Thanks for this post and exposing me to this great blog hop!

    • says

      SO glad you participated, Jess! You bring up interesting stuff. The money aspect is the WORST part of it all (aside from the emotional torture and the obvious awful parts). Sadly the fact of the matter is that without money my son would not be here. And without money I never had a chance of becoming a Mother. Looking forward to reading your post!

  16. St. Elsewhere says

    “was that people generally want to help you, but you must ask”…that truly is a beautiful attitudinal change.

    I think I haven’t visited your blog often…but I now wonder why not…

  17. says

    I think I’ll always be a little “peeved” about having to do an IVF (and all those IUIs) because it has put us in debt now, when I want to enjoy my children and give them things….but I love the way you wrote this and looked at it from all sides.

    W came into this world in love, and nothing in this world is worth more than that.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post is in response to a blog hop organised by Write Mind Open Heart and Baby Smiling in the Back Seat about The Dollars and Sense of Family Building.  This is a blog hop that I might ordinarily have bypassed except that I think it might be a golden opportunity for a little cultural exchange which is firming up as one of my goals in writing this blog.  Thanks for the heads up, Calliope of Creating Motherhood. [...]

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