As some of you may know, I travel for IVF. Traveling for IVF is a thing for a number of reasons, but the main driver is cost. The traveling I do for IVF however is just within the US. I travel because my insurance does not cover the cost of my medication or treatment and there are places that are significantly more affordable to do a cycle of IVF, just not within my own state. International travel for IVF is also common, especially for those using donor eggs.
All I want is to be able to go to the Dr and take the medication I need without a fight. Feel totally defeated right now.
— Angela (@radkitten) September 15, 2015
Above is a tweet from yesterday that pretty much perfectly sums up how traveling for IVF feels for me. I’ve already given up on ever making love to my husband to create a child. I’m okay, and at peace with the fact that my children will be created through science. What I can’t get over however is the absolute knockdown, drag out fight I mentally and physically have to go through just to get there. And while the majority of it is related to the finances of it, a good 20% can also be accounted for in the hours I spend on the phone between Drs offices, labs, and my insurance.
So what does traveling for IVF look like? Let me give you a run down.
- First step is finding the RE you are looking to use and setting up an initial consult for over the phone.
- Once that appointment is made, you will receive a fax number to give to your current RE to fax your records to the new office.
- You will have your consult. They will go over family history, fertility history, past treatments, bloodwork, scans. Basically everything they received from your local Drs office.
- You might get orders for more bloodwork or tests. Now comes the fun part.
- You have to find someone locally to do those tests. It’s been my experience that this is when the local RE’s really stick it to you. They don’t want to run the tests since you aren’t using them and you don’t want some random lab tech doing your HSG when they don’t do them regularly.
- You finally find an office that will do these tests. You go have them done and faxed to your new Dr.
- New Dr calls and goes over what they received. You plan your IVF cycle. You receive standing orders for baseline bloodwork, stimming bloodwork, and pregnancy checking bloodwork, baseline ultrasounds, and stimming ultrasounds for your cycle.
- You now have to call around to find out where you can have these done locally. If you’re unlucky like me, your old RE will do your ultrasounds but not process your same day bloodwork. You’ll end up driving 45 minutes between each location, one for ultrasounds and one for same day bloodwork.
- Once the cycle begins, you ping pong every other day from both locations between 5am and 8am. You then wait for a call sometime around 2pm from your travel nurse with your dosages for the next 2 days. Rinse and repeat for up to 15 days.
- Once you have triggered you take off work, pack your bags, and drive 6 hours one way to a hotel and sleep. Wake up the next day and go in to meet RE and see the office for the first time in person.
- Fill out all the legal paperwork.
- Write massive, soul crushing check.
- Get knocked out and eggs retrieved. Husbands drops his sample at the same time so everything is ready to go.
- You’re woken up and then you leave. Now you have one of two things happen. You are lucky and have vacation time somehow or you can just afford to stay and hang out for 5 days, or you’re like me and you have to drive home now so you can go to work the next day.
- You wait anxiously over the next several days to hear how your embryo’s are doing while also starting those wonderful intramuscular shots of progesterone in oil.
- Depending on how many embryo’s you have, etc, you either drive back out there on day 3 or day 5 to have some embryo’s transferred back.
- You then wait 9 or 12 days and go back to the bloodwork lab and wait for the results.
- You get yet another call around 2pm telling you to keep taking your meds or to stop the meds.
- If you stop the meds, let’s repeat this again in a month and a half.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful I even have the chance to travel for IVF so that I can afford it. But IVF itself is an intense and hard thing to deal with, without the added stress of travel. I wish my insurance company would stop treating my disease like a lifestyle choice and provide me the coverage needed for treatment so I could make this a less stressful process.
Until then though, it’s almost time to saddle up for IVF #2.