Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Holy Big Pharma...To Infertility and Beyond!

This morning's mail brought our IVF plan with a complete list of meds (for now at least). Take a gander at this whopper of a list...

-Leuprolide Microdose (Lupron 40 mcg/0.1cc) 40 syringes
-Gonal-F (900IU) 4 Pens, 6 refills
-Gonal-F (300IU) 2 Pens, 6 refills
-Menopur (75 IU) 12 needles, 24 count, 1 refill
-Estradiol (2mg) 90 tablets, 3 refills
-Norco 5 (for pain) 20 tablets, 1 refill
-Doxycycline (100 mg) 8 tablets
-Medrol (4 mg) 16 count
-Ovidrel (250 mcg) 1 refill
-Crinone (8% gel) 18 applicators, 3 refills
-Dexamethasone ( 0.5 mg) 30 count
Sharps package (disposal unit, alcohol wipes, gauze, etc.)

-DHEA (25 mg/day) 3x/day
-CoQ10 (600 mg) daily

I feel like I've got enough fertility meds on order to fill up a spaceship and fly to the moon! No idea why, but when I saw this list I immediately got a picture of Buzz Lightyear in my head and couldn't help but think of him lifting off full speed ahead proclaiming, "To infinity and beyond!"

Except I guess in my case it's more like "To infertility and beyond!" If the world ends tomorrow, you can bet your sweet britches I'm taking my fertility meds with me. This stuff is like liquid gold I tell you! Once I saw the list it kind of hit home why they are so damn expensive. The meds alone for our IVF cycle will cost around $6000 thanks to my low AMH and DOR diagnosis.

The actual IVF procedure itself will cost another $10-11K (min.), although that number could easily grow if we end up needing ICSI (Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection), assisted hatching, or any other "add-ons."  If there is one thing I've learned about fertility medicine, it's that is ALWAYS ends up being more than the low ball figure they give you. There will always be an extra ultrasound, or an extra vial of meds, or an extra blood test needed. When you have zero fertility insurance coverage and are paying completely OOP, you pay attention to every dollar spent (at least I do) and so you know exactly how easily it can climb. Realistically, we know we'll spend $15K-$20K for this one cycle of IVF, which equates to a 40-50% shot at conception. 

Sound like A LOT of money for still having no guarantee of a baby? Well, it is.
However, without IVF we have only about 1-2% chance at conceiving on our own. It's been 4+ years since I stopped taking the pill and almost 2 years since we started actively TTC with the help of specialists. We've experienced 2 pregnancy losses and have uncovered quite a laundry list of issues on my end, which are presenting a multitude of reasons we aren't having success the good old fashioned way. We would rather not assume the definition of insanity by doing the same thing over and over again for the next year or 5 years, only to be stuck in the same place we are now. Btw, I'm totally sporting this T-shirt once I'm pregnant...

Infertility Maternity T-Shirt

Sure I could just start smoking crack (seems to work so well!) or there could always be a miracle sometime this decade if we kept trying on our own. Everyone knows someone who miraculously became pregnant in their 40's after years of trying. I mean, look at Sarah and Abraham from the Bible who became pregnant at age 90 or something! Well, waiting until I'm 90 is a road neither hubby nor I am willing to take, as I'm sure most of you aren't either. lol

I was kind of surprised to see that my RE has me doing the Micro-Dose Lupron Flare Protocol with BCP for the IVF. I thought I'd be doing the traditional Long Lupron protocol, but apparently after viewing my entire file he feels I am better off with a Micro-Dose protocol. I can't say I object to be honest. Ever since I learned about IVF protocols, I've been a little scared of being overly suppressed on the Long Lupron protocol, due to my DOR (diminished ovarian reserve) diagnosis and some other factors.

Even though I had my AMH re-tested recently at 1.8, it was 0.88 when taken 6 months ago, so they still consider me to be DOR based on my lowest measurable number. I also exhibit quite a few other signs of poor response. If you've followed my blog a while, you already know how super duper low all of my hormones have always been and how slow and late I seem to respond to other fertility meds, even though fertility meds in pill form aren't the best determinant in ovarian response. I'm guessing he looked more closely at ALL the pieces to this crazy puzzle and chose Micro-Dose for me based on everything put together.  He does not base protocol for any of his patients on AFC (antral follicle count) either. I did ask nurse Jamie for the rationale on this decision to switch to the Micro-Dose protocol just to be clear on his reasoning. I'll let you know what he says. At the end of the day, I totally respect Dr. Vaughn's opinion 100% and will just follow dr.'s orders.

I put together a rough draft of our IVF cycle and created a new tab at the top of this page titled "IVF Calendar" which will stay there permanently. (Click on each calendar to enlargen.) There are a few extraneous meds not listed there believe it or not, but all the key players are there for now. It will also change as we modify dosages and monitoring along the way. Now if I can backtrack for a moment...I realize I was just complaining about being on BCP's in my last blog post, but after seeing this big fat scary list of meds, BCP's aren't seeming so bad anymore!


  1. Ha, ha. Love the t-shirt!!! It's overwhelming isn't it. Well, it just means you're one step closer to your BFP and take home baby.

  2. So much to sort out! Good thing you are an organized person by nature! I am so excited to follow your IVF journey and know you are going to get that take home baby soon!

  3. Whoa! That's a lot of information and drugs! I'm thinking of you and hoping so much that this is your cycle!

  4. HA! You crack me up. Congrats on getting the drugs!

  5. This is so great!! Glad things are finally moving ahead... and I agree that it's better to be on the Lupron short protocol if you can. Also, it seems like a lot of drugs, but a few of those are just vitamins/supplements basically, and you may not need all of them in the end -- I ended up purchasing two drugs that I never used. Anyway, here's hoping this leads to plenty of eggs!!

  6. That tee is awesome, I want one! I'm so excited for you and can't wait to follow along in this cycle. I have a fabulous feeling that this is going to happen for you and it couldn't happen to a more wonderful gal. Thank you for all your positive thoughts and continued support. xo

  7. Wow, you are getting so close! I am so excited for you to get started and be on your way to your very sticky BFP! That list of IVF meds does look quite overwhelming. I remember that well. However, it's not quite as overwhelming as when you actually receive them and lay them out on the counter. Yikes! Praying for you everday girl!


  8. LOVE the shirt lol!!! I've seen many ones similar and would one day like to own them all. And, regarding all the drugs. I was shocked when the box arrived. And, even more shocked when I had to go buy MORE drugs. Hopefully, it's all worth it in the end. I wish you nothing but the best, Emily xoxo

  9. Good luck! It's a lot to take in for sure but you can do it!

  10. The t-shirt is awesome! I am really excited for your protocol and even more excited for you to get started and announce that BFP. Your HCG test is the day after my anniversary, so super exciting!

  11. Right there with you with the DOR. I've done the short protocol twice now; I got cancelled the first time with the long protocol. SUCKED. Glad your RE is skipping that step with you.

    Also? So wishing I could wear that shirt. SO MUCH.

    1. I had another thought re: the protocol choice. Drop me an email, if you're comfortable doing that.