Wednesday, May 18, 2005

You Wanted a Kvetch, I'll Give You a Kvetch

Inspired by The Other Mother, Robin, I have decided to take her invitation to kvetch seriously. Here goes:

I joked in the last post about baby costs, but it is scarily true that this kid and subsequent kids are going to cost us a lot of money. Partner had a wee breakdown when she got home from work last night. I know it doesn't help that work happens to be the most stressful it has been in years for her, and that she feels like she's carrying a lot on her own. And then she thinks about taking time off to have a baby. There's no federally mandated paid-leave time when you own your own company.

For awhile now our life of wanton spending has come to a close, and of course, we aren't deluded into thinking that having children will be an economic boon to us, it's just we thought that extra tightening of the belt would come after having the kiddies. Nonetheless what we have painfully come to terms with is that we can't even tighten the old belt-- it's too big! Pretty much we need a new smaller belt. And it can't be a nice supple leather belt; the new smaller breath-squeezing-out-of-us belt isn't even pleather, it's vinyl. And colored shit-brown. You know the brown I am referring to, don't you? And we can hardly afford to even buy this stupid new belt.

I am sure there is something taboo about talking about how much your kid cost you. And ultimately, if insemination works with the IUI, we'll have gotten off lucky. Our health insurance, which we of course pay for as small business owners, actually does a decent job. But don't forget we're out-of-network with Expensive Aggressive Clinic, so many things are covered only by half, and we'll pay the other half until we meet the deductable. And others, like the IUI itself, the insurance will totally ignore.

To wit, I'll give a quick run down of costs associated with two lesbians, trying to have a baby using bought sperm and reproductive assistant. To start with, a brief list outlining the costs associated with merely getting half of the baby-making material, aka, splooge:

  1. Pick your donor: A limited amount of information is free online. But do you want to see a baby picture? Ha! That'll be $20. Want to hear the donor in his audio interview? Another $20. Read the long donor profile, $12. Get the Kiersay Temperament Sorter? $15. Or order any number of "combo" packes from $27 to $81 dollars. Keep in mind you will order several of these. After all, you are talking about the genetic material of your future kids.
  2. Buy the sperm. Do you want it washed? Ready for IUI? $355 a vial. If you think you want your child to be able to contact the donor upon his/her 18th birthday, the cost goes up to $455 a pop. Doc we saw yesterday says for each insemination, he'll use either one or two vials, depending on the quality of the sperm. I say it better be DAMN high quality for those prices! If you want to cancel, change, or exchange, it all costs money. Restocking fee, what? Keep in mind, each vial contains a whopping .4 to .6 cc's of sperm! Or more than 10 million little guys! When you think of it this way, we're getting ourselves a real deal!
  3. Ship the sperm. Uhg. If we lived closer, we could pick it up ourselves for a mere twenty-five dollars. Otherwise, we have no idea how much this is going to cost. We have to call them for this information. But we do know that we have to "deposit" $500 for the tank. Presumably, we'll get this back.
  4. Store the sperm. For all you hetereosexual readers, look fondly upon your partner's (or your own) gonads. Free storage! For those of us without sperm at our immediate disposal, we have to provide little apartment dwellings for them. Our clinic will hold a four-room dwelling for a year for $220. Sublets are okay. CCB will house our little swimmers for $335 a year, but it's unclear how many-- is this unlimited? Like a little sperm mansion?

Whew. Did you think this was the expensive part? Oh-ho-ho! How wrong you were! Before you even get pregnant, go visit at least two doctors in an attempt to find someone who will help you make a baby. Then get referrred to an IVF clinic. (See previous posting about how this clinic will make damn sure they will get money out of you at all costs.) The super (he really was great) doctor you see will recommend an ultrasound. $300. Perhaps some of this cost will be covered, perhaps not. Then he definitely wants an HSG done, in order to make sure this insemination thing isn't a futile effort. (The office staff was very reluctant to schedule this for Partner after she was finished ovulating, but as we pointed out, there's no worry about an impending pregnancy with us-- Don't forget, folks, we have no sperms!)

Provided these initial tests get the desired results, the path for insemination is cleared. Of course we had to buy little ovulation predictor kits, $25 for six. We got two boxes. Let's hope we use 1/12th of what we bought and save the rest for my turn at this grand game. Next month, with the help of God and a few policemen as my esteemed grandmother was fond of saying, Partner will start peeing a stick on day ten of her cycle. When the OPK turns positive, she will immediately, and very early (emphasized repeatedly-- early! early!) call the IVF clinic, who will schedule an appointment the very next day for an ultrasound. Another $300. If there's a dominant follicle, the sperm will be dethawed (about 2 minutes in the microwave... kidding!!), and squirted into Partner's uterus, via a long long needle through the cervix. Nurse Ratchett herself will do this for the bargain basement price of $550. If the doctor needs to be present for any reason whatsoever, or even if he sticks his cute little head into the room by accident while this is going on, the fee goes up!!

If this doesn't work, we'll try drugs, whereupon the pricetag goes up to about $2,000 a try. And if that doesn't work, IVF is the answer, and that pricetag starts around $9,000. (We'll move on to try our chances with my uterus before going there.)

I am quite sure that people don't grouse about this for a number reasons, some of which may be a general uncomfortableness with money issues. As I am usually the number one meshugana regarding money, it's funny I am so public with the costs surrounding our future children. But mostly I think people don't harp about it because it's probably considered bad taste to feel discomfort with how much any of this costs. After all, it's a kid! Kids are priceless! Right? .... Right?? See here how the cyrobank makes you feel about this. You just get done reading about all the fees and feel weary and downtrodden, and then click on "The 'Cost' of Children" and subsequently feel like a giant turd for resenting any of this. Of course, you'll do anything you need to finger paint, skip down the sidewalk in pouring rain, or go to Disney movies! (Are they really presenting this as an perk?) (And anyway, once upon a time in my life as a preschool teacher, I actually got paid for doing this things, not vice versa!)

And even though I am acting shitty about it, I do know it's worth it. But I can't be all green fields and flowering trees about the whole thing, not yet anyway. Not until I am sure this is going to work, and at that point, and that point only, will I be totally reassured. In a way this all seems so academic now-- that is everything I hate about academia, like the totally theoretical theory that doesn't seem to affect AT ALL anything in real life. Everything we've done so far seems like that-- but worse since we are spending thousands for this fanciful theory. I think that once the theory of a baby becomes reality, all of this kvetching will be forgetton, erased, and downright stupid.

Let's just get there already, eh?

7 Comments:

Anonymous Robin said...

Now that's a great rant. Very informative too. You get an A+.

12:54 PM  
Blogger Firefly said...

Oy Vey!
The truth is painfully amusing. Thanks for pointing out that I should enjoy getting paid to change nappy's and go to gymboree....soon enough it will cost me...but I'll let you try it out first!

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Robyn said...

great rant. i'm so sorry the costs are so high for you. we've been through this entire process twice now...and i KNOW that all of our prices were lower. considerably so. doing many if not all of the things you have described. all except fo IVF. yikeseroni! i just put it all on one big visa bill..and figured i'd pay it off by the time the boys graduate college. joking (sort of). wishing you both beginner's luck. time to get a home equity loan!

4:40 PM  
Blogger Savtadotty said...

Thank you for this informative rant. Now I can value my ex-husband for saving me twice as much (two children, the old-fashioned way) before the divorce costs kicked in!

9:25 AM  
Blogger Career Guy said...

I had no idea that all that was involved. Maybe I can offer a little hope: as long as your child is healthy, she won't cost you much until she starts school. that was our experience, but we did have lots of family support for child minding and such while we worked.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Katie (WannaBeMom) said...

John, I am strapping the kid to my body and will still work... And yes, the truth is painful, and get more so as the days go on. My best girlfriend's advice is to go have some crazy random sex when ovulating. Sure fire money saver, but possible disease catcher too. Yuck.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system as we are in a major crisis and health insurance is a major aspect to many.

12:30 AM  

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