The Cost of IVF for Families in Alberta – #ABHC4IVF

This is part 2 of a series on Infertility. You can read my first post here.

The Cost of IVF for Families in Alberta

A common misconception is that people jump into IVF as soon as they struggle to achieve pregnancy. Because it is embarrassing to discuss your bodily functions to the general public, most people keep their struggles with infertility to themselves or a select few family members or friends. So what may seem like a snap decision is actually a big step after many other very big steps in the journey towards adding to your family.

In my case, the cost of the actual IVF procedure was $8050. My medication was an additional $3500, and thankfully our private insurance covered part of that. My husband has a great job, but to come up with this amount of money in addition to our regular household payments, we had to get creative.

In order to pay for the treatments and avoid going into debt, I managed to work 3 jobs. I had a part time job at an Interior Design center 3 days a week, worked nights and weekends as a manager at a retail store in the mall, and I would show apartments to potential renters (while hauling my 2 year old) in the afternoons I wasn’t working. It was a stressful and emotional time where I didn’t see my family all that often, I changed in my car, and hardly slept. I had to sneak some personal time in at work, errands on my lunch break, sneaking out of meetings to take my medication at the exact right time. This went on for months. We also had an online auction, asking companies to donate products and friends to bid and purchase these items. Looking back I realize I was just desperate to do what it took to invest in our family.

The Breakdown of Paying for IVF in 2011 

(taken from my information sheet from Calgary’s Regional Fertility Clinic): 

* $200 to register (be put on the wait list for IVF). This is non refundable. 
* Basic IVF is $6300 (This includes pre-treatment evaluation, consultation, organization of treatment, provision of all information, monitoring of ovulation during treatment, surgical and anesthetic fees, laboratory fees and all overhead charges.) 
* ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection)$1050 In addition to the Basic cost of IVF treatment. 
* Embryo cryopreservation $700 Includes the first year of storage. Since most patients will have embryos to cryopreserve this fee must be paid at time of set up. 

To summarize my thoughts on paying for this procedure, “I am just about to make the biggest purchase of my entire life (not including a house or car) for something everyone else gets for free, usually on accident, and doesn’t always want. Aren’t I lucky?”

Why Investing In Alberta Families Makes Sense: 

Due to the costs involved with IVF, I wanted to be able to get my money’s worth. When I was presented with the odds, based on my own health reasons, of getting pregnant we decided to implant 2 embryos. We were told that our chances of twins were 30%. When I became pregnant with twins, it was immediately considered a high risk pregnancy. I was referred to an Obstetrician and was sent for ultrasounds every 2 weeks to make sure that they are growing at the same rate, and one baby is not taking nutrients from the other. If I were not concerned about the financial investment, I would have only transferred one embryo and saved myself from the high risk pregnancy and premature delivery of my sons at 29 weeks gestation.

I am about to get on my soap box here. Yes, the $8,050 dollars we paid to get pregnant was significant in the eyes of one small family. However, the cost of high monitoring, an emergency c-section, 46 days in the NICU for 2 babies, and 2 ambulance rides far exceeds that cost. What surprised me is that after they came home, the amount of care that was still required compared to full term babies was still extensive.

To preface, my children are pretty much healthy. They have no major conditions or health issues that are long lasting. They were just premature.

They have specialists. OH the specialists. Cardiologists, Ophthalmologists, Physical Therapists, Nutritionists, and Pediatricians. I could go on. Because of their initial birth weight, my boys qualified for the Neo-Natal Transition Team. Nurses who came to my home twice a week for 6 months to weigh and measure the babies, answer any questions, and provide some guidance in terms of their growth and development. Now that the boys are over a year old, we are still at the Children’s Hospital at least once but usually twice a month for follow up appointments and monitoring. All standard procedure for preemies of their birth weight.

Can you imagine how much this is costing our health care system? Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful every day for the coverage that we have. Its life saving, and I will be forever appreciative. However, sometimes the thought crosses my mind, that if we were saved that crucial (to us) $8,050, and we had one full term healthy baby, that the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent in their follow up would be saved.

I am proud to be a part of the Generations of Hope social media team, as I 100% support publicly funded IVF.
All opinions are mine.

Feel free to follow the conversation by following @gensofhope or searching #ABHC4IVF #abpoli on twitter.

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