donor egg ivf · financial · ivf · lawyer fees · San Diego Fertility Center · sdfc

I knew this was coming…

So even though we won’t have egg retrieval until July, I want to go ahead and get everything needed for legals complete so we don’t have to think about it. So I contacted the lawyer, explained that we had found another donor, and asked that we go ahead and start the process. So once she got the go ahead from the clinic, she sent over our retainer letter which we have to sign… along with $500 to pay the new donor’s lawyer.

UGH!!!!!!!!!!

When I read that, I just started crying. I knew it was a possibility, but when I asked Jenna all of those questions, it sounded as though there was hope that we wouldn’t be out any money. I just forwarded it to Ryan and said “I want to fight this.” The problem is, we don’t know who to talk to about it. This is a fee that doesn’t go to my lawyer, or SDFC, but to a completely different person with whom I don’t have any contact. I decided I was going to email Jenna about it and see if there is ANYTHING she can do – maybe she can talk to the donor’s lawyer and explain our situation? But Jenna is out of the office until the end of this week. I just didn’t even reply to Alison (the paralegal). I couldn’t. I’m just so tired of this mess.

But then she emailed us on Friday to make sure we had gotten her email. I replied to her and said “I’m sorry for my late response. We’ve been trying to figure out what to do because we weren’t expecting to pay another $500 for the donor’s attorney – especially since the ¬†last time we paid that $500 our original donor backed out on us. I’ll get back to you shortly.” It’s a little snooty. I feel kinda bad about it…kinda.

In the big picture, $500 isn’t all that much. But it’s just so frustrating that we completely lost $500 – I mean we paid that other lawyer to do a terrible job last time. It probably took 30 minutes of her time to have a phone conversation and not convince these people that they’re freaking out over nothing. So I’m going to complain about that. If nothing else, SDFC should cover the cost for us. Am I being ridiculous?

Today we have a phone call with an embryologist at SDFC. We just have some questions about PGS testing. We’re wondering if it’s really worth the $4,000, especially since we now have to pay $4,000 extra for our new donor. We originally signed up to do it for “family balancing” – basically we want a boy this time. But we are realizing that $4,000 is a steep price for that kind of thing. So we basically want to find out if we don’t do it now, and end up with another girl, could we do it later with our frozen embryos for a third pregnancy? I just felt a little sick to my stomach when I typed those words. Ya’ll I’ll be 36 in September – a THIRD pregnancy?! And I have had so many people tell me – “Another girl would not be the end of the world,” “Girls are great – boys are gross,” “But Anadine would love a sister.” Yes, I understand all of this. But when you can’t get pregnant easily, when you are 35 trying to have your second child, and when you have been through everything in the world to have a baby and you are simply trying to find any positive in the situation (and, yes, maybe gender selection could be that positive) then you have to consider it. I know the other side, too… Maybe we’re playing God too much. If we could get pregnant easily, the idea of having another girl would not hinder us from trying again. These are the debates we have back and forth all the time. I’m leaning more towards not having the testing done, but I’m also the frugal one.

I mean, y’all, we are crunching numbers right now. We found out we owe over $2,000 in taxes this year. Now we have this giant loan, added costs, and have to find the cash to get out to San Diego when it’s time. I wish I could just win the lottery. Or get a huge raise. Or get invited to ELLEN! HA! I mean, where’s Oprah when you need her?!

 

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ivf · IVF calendar · San Diego Fertility Center · sdfc

It’s the waiting that can drive you crazy

Warning: Crazy, Type A lady (me) shows herself in this post. You’ve been warned…

So I think I just come to this blog when I feel like I don’t have any control over what’s happening. Typing about not having control helps me feel in control – maybe?

We have checked everything off our list of to-dos. We have paid the clinic our $36,000, we’ve paid the lawyer the $1,700, we’ve gotten our blood work completed along with all the other tests needed. Everything is checked off our list, and has been that way since Tuesday. So now we’re just waiting to get the calendar…and the waiting is killing me! I’m actually a bit frustrated because I have even emailed my nurse to check in and tell her how anxious I am to get the calendar, and I haven’t heard back from her. Granted, I emailed her yesterday around 3:00 our time (that’s 1:00 in San Diego), so she hasn’t had a full 24 hours yet to reply, but she has had 24 hours since she should have gotten word that we are all set to go.

That wouldn’t be so frustrating, but I also emailed the financial lady on Tuesday to make sure we are indeed at a $0 balance. I haven’t heard back from her either. And she has definitely had a full 24 hours to respond. What’s going on over there in San Diego?!

I’m going to give them to the end of the day, and if I don’t hear anything from anybody by then, I’m going to call. I mean, even if they respond back to let me know they’re checking on it, right? Even if they are emailing me to tell me to get a grip and it takes a while – just give me a response! Maybe it’s because I’ve been spoiled. CCRM was always excellent at getting back to me within hours of an email. And if I’m honest, Nurse Hilary is usually just as good…but that’s also why I’m freaking out a little bit. Communication, people!!

I have to keep telling myself that we have plenty of time, and all will work out when it’s supposed to, but I just want a plan. I want to know when things are going to start happening. When do I have to start shots? When will Ryan go out to SD for egg retrieval? Will it work out for me (and maybe Anadine) to go with him? When will transfer be? I need to plan!¬†


UPDATE
I just received an email from Nurse Hilary (they must read my blog! ha!) that gave me a tentative schedule. She said we have to wait until the legal contract is completed to know for certain. See, I was under the impression that we just had to have the retainer and fees in for them to work up a calendar, and then the contract just had to be complete before egg retrieval. Ugh – it’s probably my lack of understanding, but still! She said assuming legal can get their stuff together by March 12, we can do an April 14 transfer. I would start my estrace on March 24 (birth control would be before that and would stop on 3/20). I would have ultrasounds on 3/24, 3/31 and 4/7 which would be perfect because those first two would be during my spring break and I wouldn’t have to take off work to drive to Jackson for them. It probably also means egg retrieval would be around 3/31, which is great (I think) because we will be in New Orleans two days before that and Ryan could fly out from New Orleans (way cheaper flights). Of course that’s the part that’s always iffy because egg retrieval is determined so much by how our donor is responding to the medications. Ryan would be pretty mad if he had to miss the concert we’re going to see. I don’t know – this is all still up in the air until we get the legal stuff done. I’ve emailed the legal girl to see how quickly they can get things completed. So now…more waiting. At least I have some sort of idea of what could happen. We may very well be looking at a May transfer – not the worst thing in the world – it would just mean more — WAITING!

donor egg ivf · ivf · San Diego Fertility Center

Checking Things Off

Okay, so since I last gave an update not much has happened, but a whole lot has happened at the same time. In a way I feel like I’m dealing with something to do with our cycle every day, but there still isn’t much to report. But I figured I needed to come in here and give an update anyway – before I forget anything.

1. I had a consultation with our nurse on the phone, but it didn’t amount to much other than us hearing each others voices and making a connection. She did send me an email with all of the things that need to be completed before our donor begins her cycle. So that’s basically what I have been up to.

2. Our donor went in on Dec. 30th to have the rest of her lab work, psychological consultation, etc. done. They say it takes about 2-3 weeks to get those results back. That’s when big (but hopefully not big) news will come in. That’s when we will really know if this is a go or not. So another week or so and we should hear something. Fingers crossed!

3. I went in to my doctor on Wednesday to have my blood work done. They’re checking for things from thyroid problems to communicable diseases. I’m expecting everything to be in the clear. After all, I just had these done a year ago. But again, fingers crossed!

4. I set things up with my old RE in Jackson to be able to go there for my ultrasounds when we start our transfer cycle. There isn’t an RE where we live, so I had two choices: one clinic that is about an hour away, but I don’t have a history with them, or my old clinic in Jackson, which is an hour and half away. Plus my parents both still live there so it gives me a home base if I should have to spend the night or something. I’m actually looking forward to seeing my old doctor again. I adored him, even though he didn’t ultimately bring me my baby. I also have to get a sonohysterogram done before our donor starts her cycle. I’ve had this done what seems like a million times before. It’s where they will push die into my uterus and look for any abnormalities on a sonogram machine. This is what I had done in Colorado when they found the polyp. I will call them and set that up when my next cycle starts (should be any day now) because it has to be done between cycle days 6-12.

Still to do:

1. Ryan has to get his blood work done. He works in a hospital, so he can just go over there at some point and have it done. I just have to keep reminding him!

2. We have to have a psychological consultation done by a therapist, who then has to send a letter to San Diego. Our nurse gave me permission to just speak to our priest (who I adore and feel comfortable with) so I just need to speak with him to see if he’s okay with doing it – I’m sure he will be.

3. We have to apply for a loan. This is a big one. And again, it involves Ryan sitting down with me and doing it. Not to sound like Ryan isn’t helping with any of this, but he has been super busy at work lately and we barely seem to get two minutes of time to get these sort of things done. Our money is due before our donor starts her birth control pills, so this is top priority!

So things are moving along. Hopefully we’ll be getting some results in soon and I’ll have more to share. I’m really excited about our donor though. I just hope it all works out!

CCRM · donor egg ivf · donor eggs · estrace · infertility · ivf · ivf grants · ivf loan · lupron · progesterone · San Diego Fertility Center · sdfc

SDFC Phone Consult

We had our phone consult with the donor coordinator (Jenna) at San Diego Fertility Center yesterday afternoon. She was incredibly informative, was ready to answer all of our questions, and really put our minds at ease. I don’t have a single doubt that if we chose to go to SDFC, we would be in the best of hands for completing a donor egg cycle.

She walked through the process with us, detailing each step of a donor egg cycle. We would have to do a trial run cycle, in which I would start estrace (estrogen) when my period began to increase the lining of my uterus. I would have to have 3 total ultrasounds (one baseline and then 2 more at one week apart) to check to make sure my lining was increasing. Throughout that cycle I would increase the estrace gradually to see how my uterus responds. Then I would take progesterone to make my period start, start birth control pills to link up my cycle with my donor’s cycle, then begin to process again to build up my lining to prepare for transfer. Estrace and Progesterone: my two least favorite of the drugs! And then when I actually do the cycle, they will add in lupron (the shot that burns as I remember it!) Ah well, the things we do!

I asked if they had a bank of frozen eggs available. She said that they didn’t really do a lot of donor egg cycles with frozen eggs because the technology hasn’t developed enough to successfully freeze single cells. She said that they are constantly trying to develop new ways to make it more successful, but their thoughts are that using frozen eggs at this juncture does not have enough success for them to promote it. I found this information very helpful since that was one of the things I liked about the Chicago clinic ($15,000 cycle for a frozen donor egg cycle). I remember Dr. Surrey at CCRM saying something similar, so it’s easy to trust her: they have found great success with freezing and thawing embryos, but eggs just don’t have enough cells to keep them viable.

Ryan asked her to explain what should make their clinic stand out above the rest. He explained that we were doing a little bit of shopping around, and while we love their customer service (so to speak) San Diego is certainly not our cheapest option in regards to treatment or travel expenses. She said that they are really the pioneers in donor egg IVF. She said that CCRM is known for their successes in IVF and embryo testing: they have an impeccable lab and are on the front end of developments in IVF treatments and protocols (exactly!). Basically what she said, although not in these exact words, is that SDFC is for donor egg IVF what CCRM is for regular IVF. Their founder started donor egg IVF something like 24 years ago, and the first ever donor egg baby is not 32 years old (I don’t know if those are the exact numbers, but you get the gist). Basically, they’ve been at it for a lot longer than most clinics.

So, right now, they are top on my list and I think Ryan agrees. He was very pleased with the consult yesterday. We both know it will probably be a while though because we have to figure out the money issue. SDFC does have an agency that they partner with a lot who does infertility loans. Jenna is supposed to send me some information on that. I’m also looking into grants some more because now I know that they will accept money from third party lenders (CCRM wouldn’t so I didn’t want to go through the grant process if they wouldn’t accept the money – a lot of grants want to pay directly to the clinic).

I also have to get this polyp removed before we can do anything else. I have an appointment with my new OBGYN on March 22, and we’ll hopefully be able to schedule the removal for soon after. It looks like this is going to be a pretty long process. I would be thrilled if I could get pregnant this summer, but it’s looking more and more like it will be closer to a year from now.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Advanced Fertility · Chicago · donor egg · donor egg costs · donor egg ivf · fresh donor egg · frozen donor eggs · infertility · ivf · ivf costs · San Diego Fertility Center · sdfc

Comparing Clinics

So I have been spending the last several days searching and comparing fertility clinics across the US. My head is swimming with information. I have gone on the SART website and checked the stats on any fertility clinic in any place that either a. has family in that city or b. would be a cool place to visit. I have looked into the top 5 clinics on the list of “best fertility clinics for donor eggs.” I have little notes all over the place for each clinic where I have jotted down prices, donor information, etc. It’s been crazy!

San Diego- I have continued to be in contact with the nice lady at SDFC. She has been incredibly helpful. We have a phone consult with her on Monday afternoon to discuss more specifics. The problem with SDFC is its location. Out of all of our options, it would be the most difficult for us to get to. It would probably be an expensive place to stay as well. What I do like about them is their large donor database, and obviously the friendly coordinator who has been so accomodating.

Chicago – Looking at the SART website, Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago’s numbers really look good. In 2015, they did 45 donor egg transfers with a 91% success rate. 45 isn’t a big number of transfers (compared to San Diego’s 88), but 91% success rate is hard to look past. The other pluses for this clinic is that it would be fairly easy to get to from here, and we have family in Chicago which means a free place to stay. The other thing about this clinic is they have a fairly large frozen donor egg bank. This would mean a much lower cost (I think the cost quoted on their website is $15,900) and a lot less planning (I wouldn’t have to sync up my cycle with a donor). I’ll probably post about frozen vs. fresh donor eggs at a later time – I really have to look more into this. I hadn’t even thought about it before I saw it on their website. The annoying thing about this clinic is the nurse I have been in contact with hasn’t been the most approachable person. Granted, I have only talked to her through email, but she hasn’t been very forthcoming with answers to my questions. I have just emailed back a questionnaire she wanted me to fill out, so we’ll see if we can get a consult scheduled with them soon.

New Jersey- They are the second on the list of “best fertility clinics for donor eggs” and their stats look good. I have called them and gotten some pricing. Their prices for their cycles are about the same as SDFC. Who wants to go to New Jersey anyway? I’m going to keep them in the back of my mind, but I just don’t really see that being worth it.

Dallas- I have emailed and called them. Still no response. I’m a little annoyed by that. Looking closer at their stats, they have an 88% success rate for fresh donor eggs, but only did 40 transfers in that year. I still think those are good statistics, and it sure would be convenient. I just want them to call me back already. The real deciding factor there would be the cost and amount of donors in their database.

So that’s what I have for now. I’ve looked at several other clinics, but these are the top 4 at the moment. It makes me sad to be officially saying goodbye to CCRM, but 7 donors in the database at $40,000 just isn’t going to cut it. We have a follow up phone consult with Dr. Surrey next Thursday. I’m debating whether or not to cancel it. It seems silly to pay another $100 to tell him we aren’t going to be seeing him again. Although I still have some questions for him regarding my Doppler test on my uterus. We also haven’t gotten the whole report on the semen analysis yet. I guess I should decide pretty soon what to do about that!

costs · ivf · San Diego Fertility Center · sdfc

San Diego Fertility Center

Just after I wrote my last blog post, I contacted both of the clinics I mentioned – San Diego Fertility Center and Dallas Fort Worth Fertility Associates. I went to their websites and filled out their online inquiry forms. No lie, 30 minutes after filling out the form for SDFC, I heard back from the donor egg coordinator there. I was pretty impressed by that (I still haven’t heard back from Dallas – I may put a call in this afternoon). The email the coordinator sent me was so nice and informative. She attached all the forms that would be necessary to become a patient and switch my medical records over from CCRM. She also gave me some price points for donor egg cycles out there. And, most importantly, she gave me access to the donor database. Y’all, their database is so much bigger! You can search for certain qualifications – hair color, eye color, etc. (it feels a bit like online dating). I did a search for Caucasians with blue eyes and there were 12! TWELVE! I know that may not seem like a lot to choose from, but compared to the 7 total donors (only 2 Caucasians) on CCRM’s list, I was quite impressed. I read through a few profiles, but didn’t do a whole lot of digging just yet.

As for the pricing, it is much cheaper than CCRM – although still very expensive. The baseline price for a donor egg cycle seems very reasonable ($18,700) at first glance, but then there are a lot of costs not included in that. For example, compensation for an anonymous donor is $5,000-$10,000. It also doesn’t include the cost of the meds – injections for the donor, progesterone for me, etc. – which ranges $4,000-$6,000. So we’re really looking at about $27,000 for one donor egg cycles at SDFC. It’s still much cheaper than CCRM, but it’s also still a lot of money! They have other guarantee plans, like I mentioned in my last post. For $26,278 you can have all the transfers from a batch of embryos necessary to get your pregnant or your money back. The only downside to that plan is they require you to transfer 2 embryos. Ryan is pretty adamant about not having twins. I personally would be okay with twins, but I totally support and understand not wanting it! Two would be very hard (you moms of twins amaze me)!

Anyway, we still need to talk to Dallas and see what they are all about. And then we need to start figuring out how to get all of this money. We are both a little overwhelmed with the idea and pretty stressed about it, to be honest. I can feel the tension between us and it kills me. I’m going to research grants and things, but I’m concerned people will be less willing to help since we already have a child.