The Trials and Tribulations of Infertility in Your Thirties

grandpa-8Some things you just know. I knew it was going to be a challenge for me to get pregnant. I didn’t marry until I was in my thirties and always had difficulty with my menstrual cycle. Either I wouldn’t have one at all, it was coming on full force or I had cysts or polyps.

My husband and I tried the old fashioned way for several years before we decided that we needed a little help. So I read books about “Getting Pregnant in your Thirties,” I tracked my ovulation, used test strips, took my basal body temperature, tried spitting into a fertility microscope, all without success.

It took 6 months to get an appointment with a fertility specialist. Ironically I broke my ankle the night before my appointment, but I wasn’t going to let anything keep me from getting there. It turns out that there isn’t a specific reason why I can’t get pregnant. Well, physically anyway I’m fine. I do have hypothyroidism which I take medicine for. Abnormal periods which I take medicine for. I have PCOS and a low egg count. My husband has what he refers to as “super sperm,” because he produces an abundant amount and the nurse always complements him on his high number, so it’s not his fault. He says, “Unless they’re dumb and just don’t know the way!”

Basically, unless you are rich or have good insurance, this process will take a financial and emotional toll. I’ve had up to 3 appointments in a week and those co-pays add up! Most insurance providers cover IUIs, but few cover IVF, which is much more successful. Why this is, I have no idea.

In case you don’t know, IUI stands for intrauterine insemination. You take a drug or injectables to produce eggs, then when they’re big enough, you’re injected with your husband’s sperm and wish for the best. There is only a 10-20% success rate using this method. I tried twice with the drugs and I’m on my first time with the injectables which have a slightly higher success rate.

I was told by my doctor that due to my low egg count and my age, I have a 1% chance of getting pregnant on my own, a 10% chance using the drugs and a 20% chance using injectables. I have a 50% chance of getting pregnant with IVF. So why not just go for the best odds off the bat you ask?

Well, it’s all about the money, honey. At my particular facility, the more IVF cycles you choose to buy, the better the price. I figured that the most reasonable option for us would be to try 2 cycles for $6,000. Neither of our insurance plans cover it, unfortunately. This is an amount we can reasonably save up for in my opinion. Also, my insurance will pay for 6 IUI attempts. I’ve tried 2 with drugs, I’ll try 2 with injectables and I will use my last 2 IUI drugs for in vetro. Otherwise, I would have to pay them out of pocket which would be several thousands of dollars.

Infertility is a stressful issue to deal with. They tell you not to be stressed when all it does is put stress on you. Not to mention all the hormones you’re pumping through your body will inevitably test your marriage! It’s easy to say “be positive!,” but sometimes that’s the only thing left to do.

Photo credit: conorwithonen / Foter.com / CC BY

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