April 24-May 1 is National Infertility Awareness Week. As a 25 year old IF patient who may not have many years left with my own fertility, I wanted to share about my infertility journey and to connect you all to others who are going through similar circumstances.
What IF every state passed a law that would require insurance companies to cover fertility treatments and A.R.T. so that people like me and my husband wouldn’t have to choose between their mortgage or having a family?
My husband and I have had a multitude of conversations about having children. They started out simple (are we ready to have kids? yep.) and have become increasingly complicated (is he willing to consider having children that are not biologically related to either me or both of us? not yet.). Let me share some background for those of you who may not have read my story before.
I was married at age 22, and pregnant at age 23 1/2 after only two months of trying. Before I started trying to conceive there was always a nagging thought of, what IF there is something wrong with one of us? It was a tremendous relief to get pregnant so quickly.
But as quickly as it started, it ended. I was diagnosed at 12 weeks with a blighted ovum (a pregnancy where, most likely due to genetic reasons, a fetus does not form, only a sac is present). I was stunned. I had to medicinally abort my baby. Everyone told me, "you're young! You will have another one in no time at all."
And they were right. I got pregnant three months after losing my first and was elated... for three days, until the fever and bleeding at 4 weeks pregnant meant that all was not right. They followed my HCG closely and we were able to see our baby three times with a beating heart, although she was measuring smaller than I thought she should be. We saw her alive and measuring 9 weeks and they told us all would be well. And then I lost her three days later.
I refused to go through another miscarriage without testing. The Ob/Gyns who I saw all sounded a bit ticked that a 25 year old with ONLY two miscarriages would bother having all of this testing done, but I was convinced there was something wrong.
Thankfully, I didn't listen to those Ob/Gyns and eventually found my way to an RE who diagnosed me with poor ovarian reserve, a heterozygous compound MTHFR mutation and a septate uterus. Strikes 1, 2 and 3. Thankfully this isn't baseball, and I'm not out yet.
As of May 17, it will have been one year since I was last pregnant. Thankfully we did not waste that year trying solely on our own before seeking help; we have already tried Clomid for three cycles (let's just say that Clomid and my uterus didn't get along) and are now moving onto Injectibles (daily injections of HCG) to improve the quality of my eggs (without IUI or IVF, since my "piping" obviously works).
And now I get to my what IF. My husband and I have always tried to be fiscally responsible. We currently owe nothing to anyone and are planning on keeping it that way (except possibly a house one day). Our insurance, the best we could find from the government, covers exactly zero dollars for any infertility medication and zero dollars for even doctor's appointments, if they are related to a treatment cycle (which thankfully does not include "timed intercourse cycles," which is what we are currently doing). Although we are racing against a clock that no one can see, we will hold off on IUI or IVF (probably our best chances of conceiving) until we have exhausted the other options and until it is possibly too late.
Can you imagine what it would be like to never be able to conceive a baby of your own? Can you put a number on how much you would be willing to spend to be a parent? Infertility is a disease. Perhaps not a life threatening one, but it certainly affects your entire life. People get health care coverage for diseases that they gave to themselves (i.e. lung cancer from smoking, heart disease from eating poorly and not exercising). Why shouldn't infertility that we didn't give to ourselves be covered? Should we have to choose between fiscal responsibility or never being parents?
What IF you, yes, even those of you who get pregnant from one round of unprotected sex, wrote a letter to your senator asking them to pass a law to require insurance companies to cover fertility treatments? What IF they listened?
Please visit these links for more information on infertility:
RESOLVE: What is Infertility?
RESOLVE: National Infertility Awareness Week
Bloggers Unite: Project IF (Part 1)
Bloggers Unite: Project IF (Part 2)