Why OHIP Hates Me… What does fertility REALLY cost??

So my uterus and ovaries suck.  I’m a young women (26!), Dan’s a young guy (29!) and we cant’ conceive naturally.  It’s not like we waited until we were 40 to try and start having kids…  We understand the theory of the ‘maternal clock’ and thought we were doing everything right.

Until everything fell apart.

Throughout my story this far, I have detailed some of the emotional and physical pain we have been going through.  The endless questions and decisions with no perfect answers, the endless waiting for consistently bad news, and being sick in bed for the better part of the year.  Just to add a cherry on top, there is the financial side of things.  People always ask me about what’s covered by OHIP and what’s not.  Let me lay this out for you…

Different clinics have different pricing, so here is an idea of fertility costs in Ontario, Canada.

OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Program), our Provincial publicly funded health care insurance covers Ontarians each time we are required to go to the doctors, go to the hospital, or have surgery etc.  There are limitations to this insurance when OHIP deems something to not be necessary.  For example, if I wanted my boobs to be 3 sizes bigger to look ‘pretty’, I’d had to fund that out of my pocket.  However, if I wanted my boobs 3 sizes smaller (and I’m having back and neck issues due to their large size) OHIP would fund that.

Well fertility is something that would be in the first category.  Apparently, being infertile is not something the government cares about, nor is willing to pay for.

So when you walk into the clinic for the initial consult with the docs, OHIP covers it.  The blood tests and diagnostic testing in order to diagnose the condition, OHIP pays for.  However, even this has a limit.  My ultrasounds were paid for, however Dan’s sperm analysis was not.  I think that test ran about $100.  Ok, that we can handle.

Now, once the doctor diagnose me with PCOS and decide that due to my medical conditions, we would need assistance in conceiving, OHIP says- well that sucks, but sorry, can’t help you… Not our problem.

So onwards we go.  We then have to pay an annual admin fee of $220 plus tax to the clinic.  Next is a $300 monitoring fee.  This covers the clinic for the blood work and ultrasounds needed for monitoring your cycle.  An IUI runs you around $600 per shot (this includes the ‘sperm washing’ and insemination).

So at this point, for the cheapest assisted version of IUI we have a minimum of around $1220.00.  So, twelve hundred bucks… Well, if you’re anything like me, you are now thinking of all the things you would much rather buy with $1220 dollars.

But wait, we are forgetting the best part- the medications that you have to buy.  I know I’m not the norm… as it appears my body is revolting against the idea of having a baby, but the medications were the most expensive part.  In addition to the $1220 dollars for the clinic fees etc, add an additional $7500 just for the medications for our one IUI round.

Yep- that ‘cheap’ procedure just jumped from $1200 to $8700.  Now think of what you could buy with that… hell, that would get you a decent car!  But alas, it got me emotional and physical hell.  And an empty uterus. 

Now Daniel would pop in here with is positivity and start explaining that it isn’t wasted money.  We had a chance for it to work, we tried and gave it our best, and it didn’t work.  While that is disappointing, think of that the doctors learned about my body in this round! *Rolling my eyes…

In case you haven’t quite picked this up yet, this is a tad of a sore spot for me.  Throwing thousands and thousands of dollars into fertility with nothing to show for it but bills.

Next, moving into the big leagues of IVF, check out the pricing below:

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We’ve now already paid the monitoring fees and the admin fees for this year… but the IVF fee: $5800, ISCI fee: $1500, Embryo cryopreservation fee (embryo freezing): $850, and the and the Annual embryo storage fee: $240 are all needed to do a round of IVF. 

Dan and I lucked out (I guess you could call it that?) as we were in this very small percentage of the population that our round of IVF was at the subsidized rate of $3000 instead of $5800.  The rationale was that because I had too many embryos for IUI, it was actually cheaper for OHIP to pitch in $1800 bucks for a one time ‘donation’ to switch to IVF, than to pay for a high risk pregnancy and multiple births if I went ahead with the IUI.  Indeed OHIP, thank you oh so much.

So if you happened to total up the above, you’d see we’d be sitting at around $5500.  Enough for another small car, giant mortgage payment, or a super nice trip… Nope.  IVF. 

But don’t forget! The medications!  This cycle, due to it’s length and high dosages ran just over $12,000.  Yes, you read that right.  So we’re talking about $17,500 for a one decent shot to get pregnant.

I guess this is one of the hardest things for me… Paying for the procedures is one thing, but trust me, it sucks have to have to keep raising your credit card limits to buy the very medications that are making you so sick in the first place.

Dan and I spent our first 2.5 years of marriage saving every penny so we could buy a nice home and have a head start on our lives.  We knew kids cost money, so we tried to stay a step ahead.  We watched our friends and family go on extravagant trips, buy whatever they wanted and go out all the time.  We were very cautious about our spending.  We went out and spent money, but every penny was spent with a concerted effort to maintain our savings.  Why don’t we live in Quebec, or The Netherlands, or Australia… or any of the a zillion places that assist in fertility costs??

To be honest, it sucks.  It sucks that we are infertile… when everyone around you is having babies.  That’s hard enough.  However, it sucks even more that we have now spent our savings on trying to get the one thing we want more than anything else in the world- a baby!

In the infamous words of my Grandfather, “It’s only money”.  And, it is.  We still have our health, each other, plus amazing friends and family.  And HOPE… hope this will work. 

 

So I try my best to focus on our blessing instead of our complaints.  However, sometimes I just need to vent.  Venting complete.

We continue to press forward…