Our Infertility Journey

infertility-story

Long Story Short

We got married in July 2011 and started trying to conceive in March 2012.  In February, 2013 my husband was diagnosed with low sperm volume and poor motility.  I  received a diagnosis of luteal phase defect, and I also suspect mild endometriosis (thought that has never been confirmed).  Since April 2013, we’ve had 3 failed medicated intra-uterine inseminations (IUIs), and one canceled medicated IUI.   Our first round of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) with intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) resulted in a chemical pregnancy (early miscarriage).  Next, we did a frozen embryo transfer cycle which ended up negative.  Then we did a 2nd fresh IVF cycle which turned out negative.  Our 3rd and most recent IVF resulted in a pregnancy and our daughter was born in December 2015.  We have multiple frozen embryos in storage which we will use in the future when we try for a second child.

Long Story Long

The following is a detailed breakdown of our trying-to-conceive timeline.  We have no insurance coverage for infertility diagnosis or treatment, so we’ve paid everything out-of-pocket.  I’m included the amounts we paid because I want to educate people about the financial aspects of infertility.  Please keep in mind that we do live in one of the costliest areas in the U.S. in terms of healthcare, so the prices we’ve paid may not accurately reflect what other pay people in different parts of the country.

July 2011

  • Got married.  On birth control pills.

March 2012: Started “Trying” On Our Own

  • Stopped birth control pills and started actively “trying.”
  • Started pre-natal vitamins.
  • I had regular cycles, but periods were painful and I spotted for 3-5 days before each period.

April 2012-December 2012: Continued Trying On Our Own

  • Went to my general practitioner in April for my annual “well woman” exam and told her we were trying.  She did some blood work and told me I should have no trouble conceiving.
  • I read at least ten books on conception and fertility, from both Western and Chinese medical viewpoints.
  • I started tracking my cycles using the Basal Body Temperature (BBT) method and Ovulation Prediction Kits.  I realized I had a short luteal phase and this was probably affecting my fertility.
  • We received negative pregnancy tests each month (9 total).

December 2012

  • I started acupuncture in hopes of improving my fertility.

January 2013: Started Infertility Testing

  • Went to OB/GYN for a “fertility consult” ($234.78).  She ordered a sperm analysis for my husband ($211), which revealed low sperm volume and poor motility.
  • Made our first appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) ($160).  He ordered several tests for me and a repeat of the sperm analysis ($190).  The second sperm analysis confirmed the initial diagnosis.
  • I continued going to acupuncture on a weekly basis ($25/visit).
  • Total doctor visits: 3 for me, 1 for hubby
  • Total out-of-pocket costs this month: $920.78

February 2013

  • Cycle Day (CD) 3 blood work results came back normal ($246).
  • CD 21 progesterone blood work results came back normal ($130).
  • CD 26 blood work results came back normal ($239.40).
  • CD 26 endometrial biopsy reveal luteal phase defect ($465.30).
  • Hysterosalpinogram (HSG) showed that my tubes are normal and open ($555.57).
  • 2 acupuncture visits ($50)
  • Total doctor visits: 7 for me ($72), 1 for hubby
  • Total out-of-pocket costs this month: $1,758.27

March 2013: Started Treatment

  • We’re supposed to have our first medicated IUI, but our RE has to go out of town unexpectedly.
  • 3 acupuncture visits ($75)
  • Total doctor visits: 1
  • Total out-of-pocket costs this month: $75

April/May 2013 : Failed Medicated IUI Cycle

  • Baseline ultrasound ($100)
  • 100mcg Clomid, Cycle Days 5-9 ($18)
  • 1 monitoring ultrasound ($270)
  • OvidrelHCG “trigger” injection, Cycle Day 11 ($140.99)
  • Double IUI, Cycle Days 11 & 12 ($780)
  • Crinone progesterone suppositories, Cycle Days 13-28 (donated from RE)
  • Estrace inserts, Cycle Days 10-28 ($8)
  • Pregnancy blood test, Cycle Day 29.  Results are negative. ($130)
  • 5 acupuncture visits: $125
  • Total injections: 1
  • Total doctor visits: 5
  • Total out-of-pocket costs for the month: $1,571.99

May/June 2013: Natural Cycle

  • 3 acupuncture visits ($75)

June/July 2013: Failed Medicated IUI Cycle

  • Baseline ultrasound ($350)
  • 100 mcg Clomid, Cycle Days 5-9 ($25.17)
  • 2 monitoring ultrasounds ($480)
  • Ovidrel HCG “trigger” shot, Cycle Day 11 ($62.17)
  • Double IUI, Cycle Days 12 & 13 ($780)
  • Estrace inserts, Cycle Days 9-28 ($8)
  • Crinone progesterone suppositories, Cycle Day 14-28 ($260.24)
  • 3 acupuncture visits ($75)
  • Pregnancy blood test, Cycle Day 29.  Results are negative. ($130)
  • Total injections: 1
  • Total doctor visits: 5
  • Total out-of-pocket cost for the month: $2,170.58

July/August 2013: Failed Medicated IUI Cycle

  • Baseline ultrasound ($310)
  • Femara, Cycle Days 5-9 ($4.49)
  • 2 monitoring ultrasounds ($480)
  • Ovidrel HCG “trigger” shot, Cycle Day 13 ($104.37)
  • Double IUI, Cycle Days 14 & 15 ($1,020)
  • Crinone progesterone suppositories, Cycle Day 16-31 ($244.99)
  • Pregnancy blood test, Cycle Day 31.  Results are negative. ($130)
  • No acupuncture this cycle
  • Total injections: 1
  • Total doctor visits: 7
  • Total out-of-pocket costs this month: $2,293.85

August / September 2013: Natural Cycle

  • No acupuncture this month

September / October 2013: Canceled Medicated IUI Cycle

  • Baseline ultrasound ($240)
  • 150mcg Clomid, Cycle Days 5-9 ($24)
  • Monitoring ultrasound ($200).  The ultrasounds showed that I was responding poorly to the Clomid.  We decided the odds weren’t good enough to do the IUI this cycle.  We decided to still use the Ovidrel trigger shot on Cycle Day 10 ($138.99) to force ovulation, but we would “try” on our own.
  • Estrace inserts, Cycle Days 10-24 ($14)
  • Crinone suppositories, Cycle Days 15-24 ($200)
  • Pregnancy blood test, Cycle Day 24.  Results were negative ($130).
  • No acupuncture this cycle.
  • Total injections: 1
  • Total doctor’s visits: 3
  • Total out-of-pocket cost this month: $946.99

October – December 2013: 2 Failed Natural Cycles

  • We took some time off to give ourselves a break and enjoy the holidays.
  • We had an IVF consultation with the RE in December ($120).
  • Total doctor’s visits: 1
  • 3 acupuncture visits ($75)
  • Total out-of-pocket costs for Oct-Dec 2013: $195

January 2014: Initial IVF Testing & Preparation

  • We purchased a package of 2 fresh IVF cycles with ICSI and up to 2 frozen embryo transfers (FET) resulting from each fresh cycle. ($16,260)
  • Baseline ultrasound ($240)
  • 2 acupuncture visits ($50)
  • Birth control pills (Paid for by insurance!  Yippee!)
  • Total doctor’s visits: 1
  • Total out-of-pocket costs for the month: $16,550

February 2014: Prepping for IVF

  • Hysteroscopy ($1,800)
  • Mock IVF transfer ($200)
  • 4 acupuncture visits ($100)
  • IVF Medications (Follistim, Gonal-F, Menopur, Medrol, Baby Aspirin, Ganirelix, estrogen patch, progesterone-in-oil, prescription-strength pre-natal vitamins) ($3,800)
  • Total injections: 1 (something to relax me during mock transfer)
  • Total doctor visits: 2
  • Total out-of-pocket costs for the month: $5,900

March 2014: IVF #1 – Chemical pregnancy

  • Did one fresh IVF cycle & transferred two embryos (already paid for)
  • 4 acupuncture visits ($100)
  • 3 beta blood tests ($455.50)
  • 6 estradiol blood tests ($944.64)
  • Prescription refills ($249.92)
  • 3 acupuncture visits ($75)
  • Total injections: 45
  • Total doctor visits: 12 (6 doctor visits + 6 lab visits)
  • Total out-of-pocket costs for the month: $1,695.06

April / May 2014: Failed FET #1

  • Transferred one frozen embryo (already paid for)
  • 6 acupuncture visits ($235)
  • 2 monitoring blood draws ($318.84)
  • 2 pregnancy blood tests ($327.73)
  • Medication (Lupron, Heparin, Progesterone-in-Oil, aspirin, pre-natal vitamins, prednisone , estrogen patch, estradiol ($747.46)
  • Total injections: 77
  • Total doctor / lab visits: 9
  • Total out-of-pocket costs for the month: $1,628.53

June / July 2014: Failed 2nd Fresh IVF Cycle

  • Transferred 3 fresh embryos (already paid for)
  • 5 acupuncture visits ($125)
  • 7 monitoring blood draws ($746.21)
  • 2 pregnancy blood tests ($260)
  • Medication (Follistim, Menopur, Medrol, Baby Aspirin, Heparin, Ganirelix, estrogen patch, progesterone-in-oil, prescription-strength pre-natal vitamins) ($2,673.88)
  • We also pre-paid a 3rd, future IVF cycle ($7,600)
  • Total injections: 90
  • Total doctor / lab visits: 17
  • Total out-of-pocket costs for the month: $11,405.09

August-December 2014: 5 Failed natural cycles

  • 2 follow-up visits with our RE (free!)
  • 1 phone consultation with reproductive immunologist ($300)
  • 1 urology visit for husband ($55.49)
  • OTC Supplements: CoQ10, baby aspirin (around $80)
  • Proxeed Male Fertility Supplement ($282.99)
  • Ovulation Kit ($19.45)
  • 7 acupuncture visits ($175)
  • Total doctor / lab visits: 3
  • Total out-of-pocket costs: $912.93

January -February 2015: On birth control pills in preparation for March 2015 IVF.  

  • Birth control pills (free!)
  • OTC supplements: CoQ10 (around $70)
  • Proxeed Male Fertility Supplement (around $140)
  • 5 acupuncture visits ($125)
  • Purchased our meds for March IVF ($2,894).  Check out my IVF Meds Unboxing video for a full run-down of the meds and costs.
  • Total out-of-pocket costs: $3,229

March 2015: 3rd IVF cycle

I’ve decided to stop adding up the costs of each cycles because it makes me too upset!  This cycle resulted in a pregnancy!  Our daughter was born in December 2015.  We have multiple frozen embryos in storage that we will use for a future cycle when we decide to try for baby #2.

Totals As of March 1, 2015

  • Acupuncture Visits: 61
  • Injections: 217
  • Doctor + Lab Visits: 78
  • Out-Of-Pocket Costs: $51,308 (rounded)

Source: Pinterest
  • Amanda Miguel

    I just found your blog and love it. I will have lots to read in the future as I only scratched the surface and have read a bit less than 10 posts.
    I suffer from unexplained infertility and just had my 3rd IUI failed. I have been trying for many years.
    You are doing a great job talking about everything, and I’m looking forward to keep reading about you and the infertility interviews you are doing. On the other hand I hope you get blessed with a baby and don’t have to suffer from this anymore.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Amanda. I’m so glad you enjoyed the interviews, and I appreciate what you said about how you hope I get a baby. Don’t worry, I plan on continuing blogging about infertility and sharing others’ stories even if/when I have a child of my own. Best wishes to you!

  • Pingback: Affording Infertility {Pray for Finances} | Amateur Nester()

  • Lisa… my heart breaks to know how long and hard you’ve tried for a sweet baby… Praying that this will you be your month and I’ll soon be seeing a beautiful baby bump growing on this blog.

  • Brittany

    I just found your blog–I’ve been struggling with infertility. Thank you for sharing your story and for all that you have put on this blog to help someone like me who is hurting and dealing with the brand new experience of all the tests and RE bills…
    Pray for me and I’ll pray for you.
    Brittany

    • Brittany, thanks for your prayers. I’m so glad the blog has been helpful to you. I pray that God would provide all you need to get through your journey and to become a mother. Blessings to you.

  • Stephanie Hansen

    I just found your blog this morning. After three miscarriages in 14 months, we will be starting IVF on September 11. According to my RE, I have an unusually low AMH level for my age, and IVF with PGS is going to be my best bet. I just ordered my medications yesterday and will receive them all tomorrow in the mail. My husband and I are hopeful but very anxious about the process. Thank you for taking your time to share your blog and your experiences. I look forward to reading more of your posts. Congratulations on your pregnancy and soon to be new addition to your family.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Stephanie. I’m so very sorry to hear about your miscarriages, and I pray that IVF will be successful for you. I know IVF can be so scary, and I tell everyone that the worst part is the anticipation. Try not to get overwhelmed by the box of medication and just take it one day, one shot, one step at a time. Hugs.

  • Liliana Ayala

    I just came across your blog today! We have gone thru 2 IVF cycles and a miscarriage at almost 12 weeks. It’s been such a tough road, and sooo much money! I find it so unfair that insurance companies don’t cover this. We have our WTF appointment on Monday, hopefully we can get some answers.
    Looking forward to reading more of your posts! Congratulations on your pregnancy, best wishes to you and your family!

    • Hi Liliana, I am so very sorry to hear about your failed IVF and especially the miscarriage at 12 weeks. I agree that it’s a tough road and insurance is a joke. I pray that you got some answers and good guidance at your follow-up appointment. Thank you so much for the well wishes and I hope the best for you, too! Hugs.

  • faithstars13

    I just came across this blog about a week ago. I am so excited to see that you finally got your pregnancy. Is everything still going okay? God Bless!

    • Thanks so much for being excited. Yes, everything is still going well and I’m due with a baby girl in December. God bless you, too!

  • trueloveminusone@blogspot.com

    Congrats…I love to find a happy ending at the bottom! Good luck with the birth!

  • Dannielle Rivera

    Congratulations! My husband and I have been married for 5 1/2 years and have struggled with infertility. Thank you for this timeline and the prices that you included. I am so happy that through everything the Lord blessed you with your daughter. We are patiently awaiting for the Lord to bless us with the honor of becoming parents one day.

  • Thanks for being so willing to share your story Lisa. This image at the end is so true too. So glad you have your miracle baby now! Thanks for joining the link up!

    • Thanks, Caroline. I love what you did for NIAW this year. The link-up was a GREAT idea!

  • Cami

    Thank you for sharing. We have been ttc for over 3 years now and have turned to Naprotechnology for help. The most difficult part is keeping hope. Sometimes I feel it may be easier to not expect anything and avoid getting let down.

  • Sarah

    Hi Lysa. Had a few minutes this morning to explore your website. You have offered so much hope and encouragement to so many. I enjoyed reading your story and the stories of others who’ve walked the road of IF. Thank you!