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Reduced Cost IVF: Clinical Trial
A blog by Megan Swanek, August 12, 2014
The total out of pocket cost for my first IVF was a whopping $17,000, a portion of which we financed. The disappointment of my negative pregnancy test was amplified by the fact that we did not have any embryos left to freeze. I was crushed knowing that it would be at least six months before we could afford to do it again.
Unless you’re lucky enough to live in one of the 15 states where IVF is covered by insurance, the procedure can be cost-prohibitive. We can’t all afford multiple attempts in the same year. Yet when you receive a BFN (big, fat negative) all you can think about is trying again. Once complaining about my three daily injections, I found myself desperately wanting to do them again.
My hope was renewed when a family member sent me information about the Ivy Study a clinical trial that offers IVF at a very reduced price: $4,000, including medication. We previously spent $4,300 on medication alone. I read over the narrow window of what they were looking for with cautious optimism: Between 35 and 42, check! Both ovaries, check! In good health, check! I viewed the state-by-state listing and learned there was only one participating clinic in all of California: HRC Fertility in Encino. For me, this is 120 miles round trip. Only an hour drive, but over two hours when you factor in LA traffic. Even so, at this price, I would be willing to travel out of state.
When I called to make my appointment, the soonest they had was two weeks out. “Are you sure you don’t have anything sooner?” Unfortunately, they didn’t, and I entered a two week wait of a different kind. When my appointment finally rolled around, I was eager to sign the consent, but learned I would have to wait until day three of my new cycle. At that appointment, they would check to see if I had an antral follicle count of at least 10, and make sure that my FSH was below 15.
More waiting! Another week went by and at my next appointment, I received the news that I had an antral follicle count of eleven. Whew! Now, I had one last hurdle to jump: My FSH level. This was a blood test and had to be sent to the lab, so I would not find out for an excruciating two additional days.
I woke up nervous and excited on the morning I was to receive the results. By 1pm, they had not called, so I picked up the phone and was transferred to my contact person. “Yes…I have your results here. Let me see…your FSH level was 6.8. You’re in the study!” Absolute elation! I called my Mom, then my husband, and then I took to social media to share the good news with everyone! I started on my birth control pills and am eagerly awaiting my next appointment on August 15th when I should be given the go-ahead to start stimulation medication. Thrice-daily shots, here we come!