We were married on October 7, 2017 surrounded by 112 of our closest friends and family, and it was easily the best day of our lives.
After our dream wedding we knew we wanted to start trying to build our family from just the two of us, and did what most call "not trying not preventing" for almost 7 months after we were married. We remained as optimistic as possible as we knew it could take up to one year for couples to conceive naturally. However, since nothing was happening and I was beginning to panic (like I do), we decided to take the next step and start tracking my cycles. This meant taking my temperature at the same time every day, tracking ovulation by OPKs (ovulation prediction kits), and so much more. After 3 months of tracking it was decided we should do some testing to rule out any common issues that couples can face while trying to conceive. One of these tests is a sperm analysis which gives cheap and quick results. Four days after the test was completed is when we were hit with the devastating news-- Sean had zero sperm count. Sean's doctor immediately suggested a second sperm analysis for him, and for us to find a fertility urologist as he would no longer be able to help Sean with our endeavor to conceive.
At the end of August Sean and I met with his urologist and he believes that Sean has congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens caused by a mutation in the CFTR gene. This affects only 1-2% of the population in the world. Not only does this mean that we could no longer conceive naturally and that IVF was our only path to a biological child, but that Sean is also a carrier for cystic fibrosis, which is an inherited life-threatening disorder that damages both the lungs and digestive system.
Because of the news from Sean's urologist we immediately sought out help from a reproductive endocrinologist, and settled upon Dr. Sanaz Ghazal at HRC Fertility in Newport Beach. The clinic we have chosen has some of the highest success rates in the nation for women of my age. It’s a no brainer for us to choose treatment with Dr. Ghazal, as her warmth of character and approach to infertility is exactly what we are looking for.
Only 15 out of 50 states have infertility insurance laws. In California the law only requires group insurers to offer coverage of IVF. Employers may choose whether or not to include infertility coverage as part of their employee health benefit package. Neither Sean nor I have any infertility coverage because our employers have chosen to not include it as part of their benefits package.
For some insight, 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. 1/3rd is female-factory only, 1/3rd is male factor-only, and 1/3rd is a combination of male and female factor. At this time in our process we are only aware of the male factor component, and we are waiting on my initial testing results.
While the emotional and physical toll of infertility is something we are learning to cope with as time progresses, we are not prepared for the financial burden of what is ahead of us. For those interested in costs, this is what we are looking at spending for a single cycle of IVF treatment with HRC Fertility:
$308.50 for pre-IVF testing
$350 for genetic screening to rule out autosomal recessive inheritance (cystic fibrosis, fragile X, etc.)
$3,000 for Sean's TESE (surgery required for sperm extraction)
$9,200 for IVF
$1,600 for ICSI (sperm injection into egg)
$5,050 for PGS embryo screening (to rule out chromosomal issues)
$1,470 for embryo and sperm storage (annual fee)
$3,000-$7,000 for required prescription drugs
$570 for anesthesia for egg retrieval
$360 for FET (frozen embryo transfer)
Total: $22,208.50 - $26,208.50
Now that we have the team of doctors we need to help us conceive, we are now looking for any help from our family and friends that can be provided. Any donation is greatly appreciated and received with a whole lot of love. We hope to begin our first IVF cycle between fall 2018 and winter 2019.
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