December 12, 2012


Yesterday I flew to DC for my IVF orientation.  As with all things Army and fertility, it went poorly.

I contacted the Walter Reed program back in August.  They needed a letter of recommendation and any fertility work I had already done.  After they received it, they mailed me a "welcome packet."  I asked if they needed me to fax it or mail it back, and they said I should just bring it with me to the orientation whenever I came.

That was in August.

Since then, I have been in constant contact with their coordinator, continuing to get all the necessary bloodwork and testing done, since it all needed to be less than a year old and it's been three years since I started the process back before BabyGrok was born.  So while we were getting new sonograms and HIV tests and semen analysis and polyps removed and so on, I kept checking back with the coordinator to make sure that I was still on track to do the IVF cycle in January.  They kept assuring me that we were a go, that as long as all bloodwork was done by this week and we attended the orientation, we were fine.

So I bought a plane ticket and flew across the country to DC to attend a two-hour powerpoint presentation.  Oh Army, how annoying you are.

But it turns out that several of us at the orientation were misinformed as to how the process went.  Until you hand in that "welcome packet," no doctor looks at your chart.

Let me repeat that: No doctor in the program even knew I existed, despite all the communication with the program coordinator and the enormous amount of previous fertility and genetic work I faxed to them back in August.

So when I raised my hand to casually ask how having genetic screening on my embryos would affect my IVF timeline, the doctor did that thing where the cartoon wolf's eyes bug out and his jaw hits the floor.

The doctor takes me aside and explains that setting me up for PGD testing on the embryos generally takes two to three months.  Which means it's unlikely that I could be ready for the January cycle.

Oh, and my husband is going TDY after that, so he won't be around to try again in April.

So the "welcome packet" that got emailed to me in August, if I had filled it out and mailed it back, a doctor would've seen it back in August and coordinated with me to get all the genetic probes done to square me away.  But because the coordinator insisted that I bring it to orientation, and because she farted around and didn't answer my emails in time for me to attend the November orientation, I am stuck now with not enough time to get genetic testing done before January.

And in the course of our conversation, the doctor also asked if I was prepared for it not to work.  She told me that I needed to keep my expectations very low and that it was unlikely that I would get an embryo that we could use, and that I need to be prepared to give it at least three cycles before I expect success.

That's $45,000.

Now, if you have zero kids, no amount of money sounds like too much.  If I were as desperate now as I was in 2009, I would be willing to go for it.  But all of a sudden, I balked at the thought of spending that much money and the next nine months getting shots in the butt and taking hormones and basically living in DC while leaving the child I already have to go spend a total of 9 weeks in a hotel in DC.  All to try to have a second child.

I have been on this rollercoaster for SIX YEARS now.  We wanted to do IVF so we could stop the cycle of heartache.  So we could fast-track to success and be done building our family.  And now we hear that we need to be prepared to stay on the rollercoaster until next September, and oh yeah, the ride's gonna cost you as much as a 3-Series BMW.

So I thought I was starting IVF in two weeks.  Suddenly I was being told that I hadn't even been accepted to the program yet, that no doctor has reviewed my file, that we probably couldn't be ready to start in January, and that it wasn't even likely we would get a baby out of the process in the end anyway.

But hey, now it's time for you to pay the $500 non-refundable fee to reserve your space in the program!

I bailed.

We have a lot of thinking to do.

Posted by: Sarah at 04:19 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 That sucks.  I really have no words.  I have only the dimmest notion of how horrible this must be for you, but even that is more than enough.

Posted by: Sig at December 12, 2012 11:00 PM (OjLVw)

2  Prayers for you to come to the decision that is best for your family...and your peace with that decision, whatever it may be.  I am so sorry that you are going through so much. 

Posted by: Connie at December 14, 2012 05:55 PM (fTRr2)

3 Oh Sarah - my head is spinning and that is from just READING this - I can't imagine what it feels like to LIVE through it.   Yes you have a lot of thinking to do. But you will reach the right decision for your family.
One question - what if you did this privately (i.e. NOT through the Army)? Is that even MORE money? I would certainly think it would be quicker/easier. Not sure if that is an option - I've never seen you mention it.
In the meantime, give BabyGrok a big hug, enjoy Christmas and know you are loved all across the interwebs!

Posted by: Amy at December 18, 2012 12:05 PM (MRKBy)

4 Amy, unfortunately in this situation, it would cost twice as much and be less likely to work!  The Army way is a deal because you don't have to pay for meds or the doctor's fees.  But also, since they crank people through like cattle each year, they have a lot of practice and have higher than average success rates.  Nothing local comes even close to their success rates...

So this is one instance where cheaper = better.  But annoying.

Posted by: Sarah at December 20, 2012 07:33 PM (wxkaY)

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