I can't wait to hear from the fertility doctor's office...

Because I have a few choice words for them.

Last year, my wife and I tried to have a baby by in vitro fertilization. This was pretty much going to be our one and only shot at having a baby with our own genetic material. We had to borrow the money from relatives, which came to over $10K all together, but people can be pretty generous when they’re going to be grandparents.

So first, we go to the office for the pre-IVF consult, they show us all the costs, and they tell us that we’ll have to pay off our bill before they’ll even begin. That’s about $900 that we hadn’t planned on having up front; we’d been paying it out, and if they’d told us that we needed to pay it off, say, a few WEEKS ago, our relatives could have lined up the extra cash. Instead, we get it sprung on us just before we intend to start (these things have pretty delicate timing, after all) that we have to dig around for more cash. Great, fine, whatever. So we pay the up-front cash they want (just shy of $9K), spend the rest on all the very expensive drugs we need, and set to work.

IVF means shots. A lot of shots. Sometimes four a day. I hugged my wife and told her how brave she was every night. When she was in tears from pain, I convinced her we needed to keep going, and gave her the shots anyway. I wouldn’t wish “sticking four needles into your crying wife” on anyone. But we did it, all of it. And she went for the monitoring visits, and all was well.

They harvested the eggs earlier than expected; we only went for four of a scheduled six monitoring visits (this is important later). They got five eggs to fertilize, and three of them took off like gangbusters. And then, they called and said they weren’t dividing. Great. So we sit through one day of waiting hell, until we hear from the embryologist the next day, and whadaya know, they’re right where they should be. Guess the embryologist checked them just before they divided the previous day, so he just thought they weren’t progressing. Whoopsie, sorry for shattering all your hopes for a day.

So after that fun roller coaster, they do the transfer. All three fertilized eggs were placed back into my wife. By this time, we’re doing more shots: progesterone, which is packaged in a thick oil and requires a thick needle to inject. Those really, really suck. Anyway, ten days after the transfer, she gets her blood drawn for the pregnancy test, and she’s pregnant. Relief! It wasn’t all for nothing! We have a very good Thanksgiving.

The week after Thanksgiving, my wife goes in for another blood draw, to make sure her progesterone levels are rising. Bad news: the level, which should be doubling every day or so, has dropped from 68 (over 50 means "pregnant) to 7. It was a “chemical pregnancy”. All for nothing. No baby for you.

So, basically, what we had was a first trimester miscarriage. It happens, and we’re sad about it, but that’s not what this is all about. That’s just background. What this is really about, is the doctor’s office.

I’m sure that, when IVF works for people, they’re so ecstatic that they just forget about all the background bullshit. But now, all we HAVE is background bullshit, and I’m pissed. A couple of days ago, we got a bill from the fertility doctor for $90. What? So we call for clarification. Apparently, checking your progesterone level, something they routinely do after IVF, is not included in the $9000 we’ve already paid them. Strange way to run a fertility business, but whatever. And there were a couple other office visits as well, which are fine, not an issue. About the same time, we get a letter from my insurance company. They’ve paid for my semen analysis. But wait: the semen analysis was one of the things we were required to pay up front, before they would let us begin the IVF. So, they got paid twice for doing one job.

My wife called to figure out what happened there. The billing clerk, or whatever the hell she is, haughtily goes to check, and comes back and says, “Well, that insurance payment was received but not applied.” Say what? So, you just stuck it in your pocket or something? What the fuck does that even mean?

So now that we know just how ridiculous their accounting is, I’m bracing for a much bigger fight: the monitoring visits. Remember how I said we paid for six, but only went in for four? I want those other two back. They cost about $398 each, and I’ll be damned if they’re getting paid for doing nothing. We were told up front that if we required more monitoring visits, we’d be expected to pay for them. We were also told that, if the doctor thought in the middle of the cycle that we should do IUI instead of IVF, that the difference would be refunded. So, the cash we gave them up front was clearly just an estimate of how much the services would cost, not an actual flat-rate “here’s what it costs, no more no less” amount. Come hell or high water, I’m getting that goddamn $800 back.

I expect a fight because one of the doctor’s husbands is the office manager, and other patients have told us that he is a notorious skinflint who won’t give up a cent. A friend of my wife’s, the one who referred us to this doctor, recently told us an even worse story: the office told her, just a day or so before her HCG shot (HCG is the stuff you take last; it makes the eggs produced by the other drugs mature and release, or something like that), that they were not going to bill her insurance for anything, and she needed to come up with the money for the rest of her treatment up front. In other words, they told a woman who had already taken a full cycle of fertility drugs and reached the point of no return that they didn’t want to do paperwork, so if she wanted to continue, she had to pay out of pocket. I don’t know what the ultimate resolution for that one was, but I do know that her latest fertility treatment didn’t work either.

Words cannot describe the rage I’m currently feeling toward this organization. They are the only fertility specialists in town, so there’s no choice. And they take advantage of people at their most vulnerable and apparently hope no one will notice. They will get no referrals from me, that’s for damn sure.

For the time being, at least, my problems are strictly with the front office, the people who handle the money. I don’t say this lightly: what they are doing, and what they have done, is just plain evil. I wish them misfortune. I wish them lifelong infertility. I wish them unhappiness. I wish them failure in all their endeavors. I wish them discomfort in their waking hours and unrest while they sleep. I wish them loneliness and despair. I wish them forgotten and unloved. I wish them trouble and ruin. I wish them loss and heartache. I wish them dread and horror. I wish them wrath and dischord. I wish them want. I wish them ridicule. I wish them emptiness. I curse their hearts and tongues, their homes, their ancestors, their names. May they suffer and repent all their solitary days and crumble rapidly to dust. May their ashes scatter to the wind. May they know no joy to their dying day.

Very sorry to hear that. I hope you and your wife do alright. Is there no hope?

I know you probably don’t need advice, but get the doctors involved. If they actually try to bill you for this, talk to a lawyer. Most will do a opening consultation for free, and it’s possible there are actionable grounds (I don’t know, since I’m not a lawyer).

Lastly, although it’s probably too painful right now, consider adoption.

I feel your pain, in some ways. We’ve been trying for over 5 years with no luck. We probably won’t do IVF unless absolutely necessary, it’s more likely IUI. The success rate versus the cost just doesn’t seem like a viable option. Especially considering we don’t have any resources (monitarily wise) to help us. Our insurance is very vague about the whole mess as well, saying they cover “6 attempts”. At what? IUI? IVF? ICI? Does it cover testing and drugs? The hundreds of appointments needed before, during, and after?

It’s completely unfair and unrealistic for infertile couples. You spend all your money trying to get pregnant, then what do you have left for the birth and care afterwards? By time we are able to save up that kind of money, I’ll be too old to carry a healthy child.

The whole process is emotionally draining and it’s completely unfair to us. Irresponsible people have children left and right. People get help feeding and housing their brood. What about us responsible people who want nothing more than to have a child of their own but don’t want to go broke in the process? Is it fair to bring a child into this world when you don’t have the money to take care of it because you spent it all bringing the child here?

Infertility is an issue that doesn’t affect the larger portion of the population so no one cares to change things. The fertility clinics feel that they can charge you whatever they want because if you want it badly enough, they figure you’ll pay for it. The same with the service. We only have one clinic close to us as well and they aren’t covered under our insurance, so we have to pay out of pocket then submit forms to get some money back.

It’s a bad cycle and I hate to see someone else go through it. My thoughts are with you and your wife and I truly hope you get the baby of your dreams soon. I know this struggle is much harder than what people realize. The emotional aspect that the couple goes through behind closed doors is (to put it mildly) heart wrenching. No one should have to grieve this much.

Just got off the phone with the office manager. Still shaking with rage.

According to Bingo the Office Clown, the $9K we paid was an all-in-one fee that “included up to six monitoring visits.” I call bullshit. I’m currently combing the Texas codes to find anything I can to bring this bitch to his knees.

And we are currently looking at adoption; there’s no way my wife can go through all that again, the drugs, the shots, the waiting and worrying. We’re both actually quite attracted to the possibility of adopting a girl from China, where so many baby girls are unwanted.

As someone who got swindled into paying a dentist for “VaporCare” like you mentioned (hey, did I just coin a new term?) - that is, essentially paying for “up to x amount” of something but only getting about half of that - I understand your rage. I’m still in collections over a measly $200 with the same dentist over something that they flat-out told me I had already paid but they sent to a collection agency anyway - just complete and utter nonsense and flim-flamming.

That aside, my mind boggles at couples that will pay $10K+ for fertility treatments when they could just adopt. Some people, for whatever reasons, can’t make their own baby together. There are bazillions of kids out there living in shitty conditions that would love to be adopted by the type of people that are willing to spend $10K to have a baby. I’m not even talking about the Paste Factory Orphans of Uzbeckistan or whatever - I’m talking about right here in the USA, in foster care in your same neighborhood. I applaud the OP for deciding to to go this route - I just wish that more people would do the same instead of selfishly demanding to create their own child at whatever the cost.

As someone who is currently on her fourth round of clomid in a quest for her second child I feel for you.

While we were trying to conceive our first I went though something similar with an idiot Reproductive Endocrinologist. He was supposed to be covered under our medical plan. As it turned out he wasn’t; it was his partner. The stupid receptionist didn’t tell me about this. After a few dozen phone calls I wound up with a $900 out of pocket bill. I sent him a check and a very nasty note.

The story had a happy ending. Dumb-dumb told us we’d never conceive without IVF. All my husband really needed was a minor operation. Six months later we conceived our only child with nothing more than a great night of sex.

Infertility sucks enough without having to deal with greed. My heart goes out to you.

VC03, please piss off. You are an insensitive cad. If you want to pit people who have fertility treatments, please start your own thread.

As for the OPer, we feel your pain. It must be something about fertility clinics. Ours screwed us several different ways. They did some medical testing, and didn’t reveal to us (until after we quit trying) that one of the results they obtained made IVF risky. They also lead us to believe that we would be able to freeze some of our embryos so we could try a second time; but even though we created 5 or 6, none of them survived. They treated this like it was purely routine, and not at all a big deal, which seemed to me to betray an unforgiveable inability to understand what we were going through. I, too, wish a slow painful death upon them. It wouldn’t have been so bad, except none of the treatments worked.

Finally, we ended up adopting. I’m glad we did, but it took going through the pain we went through to get ourselves in a place, mentally, where we could consider adoption as an option. The result is happy–our daughter is now 19 months, and I couldn’t love her more if she were our own flesh and blood. But I am still bitter about the things we went through on our road to parenthood.

Yeah agreed. In between making nasty comments about people facing infertility have you yourself adopted any foster kids? Or are you just spouting off in an ignorant manner? Because having looked into it I can tell you that most adoptions are not that much cheaper or emotionally easier than many fertility treatments.

FYI, the reason we’re going through fertility treatments right now is because my insurance will cover the cost up to 50k. Said insurance does not cover adoption.

You’re kidding, right? I’m not pitting anyone - I’m applauding the OP. Get a life.

My sympathies to you and your wife. And I wish you better luck in future.

And to anyone who asks why you would pay “so much” money for the chance of having a child-- ask them what their car cost.

People who complain about “the crazy amount you spent” on a desk chair that you sit in for 4-6 hours a night, or the kitchen tools that you’ll use for the next 30 years, are one thing-- people who would prod you about it when you spent the money to try to create a family are a hundred times worse.

Selfish?? You insensitive twat.

Watch yourself here, dickface. It’s not selfish to want what millions of other parents can have easily. How’s it selfish to want to feel a baby growing inside of you? To go through labor and delivery? To want to feel every single aspect of having children? Adoption doesn’t work for everyone and not everyone wants to adopt. That doesn’t make them bad people.

Why should people who have no control over what their bodies are doing be deprived of something others can get easily from 2 minutes of spreading their legs? Why should I just have to suck it up?

You, and many others who don’t understand what it feels like for people like us, think it’s so damn easy to say “just adopt”. I get really, really fucking sick of hearing that. How about you adopt every damn kid you can, then start running your fucking trap? I don’t want to hear that shit about other options. How about we don’t allow YOU to have your own fucking spawn and adopt instead? You have no clue what people like us go through. Until you, and people like you, adopt first don’t tell me what the fuck I do with my life and don’t make me feel guilty about the choices in my life.

Fuck off, VC03.

Max Torque, I have a friend who adopted a little girl from China last year. It was a long and slow process, but totally worth it. Best of luck to you guys.

And keep fighting. I second the advice to at least talk to a lawyer. You guys got screwed up one side and down the other. I don’t know how people can be so callous in the face of something so deeply personal for their patients.

VCO3, embedded in your “praise” of the OP was this gem (emphasis mine):

Totally inappropriate and downright mean, given the context.

Max Torque, I’m so sorry about what you and your wife are going through. I wish you all the lunck in the world in finding Texas code to make them pay up. Although the cost may make it unreasonable, you might also consider contacting a lawyer about this clinic’s billing practices. They’re clearly unethical, and could very well be illegal as well. I very much doubt that health insurance companies willingly and knowingly pay for a procedure that a consumer has already paid for out-of-pocket. It strikes me as fraudulent for the clinic to accept two payments for the same service.

Max, good luck - keep records on all this, I hope you nail these people to the wall.

Sorry to hear you and your wife went through such hell.

Hey Maxie. Keep trying to get those assclowns straightened out. Somehow, I think all of those years to become Max Torque, Esq., might help.

Best to you and the wife. Keep your smiles on, if you can.

Wow. Aren’t you the bitchy little cunt?

If you fly off half assed like that all the time you probably shouldn’t have kids anyways. Sounds like it’s all working out for the best.

“People like us”? “People like you?” Good grief.

You have to suck it up the same way anyone born with a disability has to suck it up. Cursing at the more fortunate doesn’t raise your IQ if you are retarded. And it certainly won’t bring back an MS sufferer’s central nervous system. At least the infertile can walk and lead normal lives without constant agony.

Not being able to conceive fucking sucks. No one disagrees. But at least there are actual options. Adoption, fertility treatments, etc. What is more important, having a child to raise for life or feeling something squirming around in your uterus for 9 months?

While VCO3 might have been a little insensitive, you flew off the fucking handle. Don’t blame other people for not validating your choice not to pursue certain routes towards building a family.

Er…sorry about all the trouble, Max, and good on everybody who is considering adopting. Since there *are *plenty of baby girls in both China and India that are completely unwanted.

Depending on the adoption agency you go through, $10K could be a bargain compared to the adoption fees.

I’m actually starting to get sceptical about that. I know a couple who adopted a baby girl from China (absolutely adorable, by the way) and it took several years, lots of money, and a month-long trip to China. I think the demand for babies is starting to outstrip the supply, even of Chinese and Indian girls. Adoption no longer seems to be so simple.