How Much Does IVF And Eastern Medicine Cost To Combat Infertility?

These IUI meds are a cake walk in comparison to IVF
These IUI meds are a cake walk in comparison to IVF

Today’s post comes from a reader named Melissa who is facing the expensive decision of trying IVF with her husband in order to have their first child. Infertility is a sensitive and grappling topic that many couples are facing today. We're having children later now due to our careers, and many of us are struggling to conceive.

Unfortunately, a lot of infertility issues are still unexplained and couples are left facing a foggy future of many unknowns. Even though IVF has enabled many couples to have children, it has also disappointed many others. How much would you be willing to pay to start a family if IVF was your best chance at having a child? Let’s take a look at the costs of IVF and the emotional and financial challenges couples like Melissa and her husband face when trying to start a family.

According to the Center For Disease Control, 6% of women (1.5 million) in the US are infertile. Other sources such as the National Institutes of Health say the percentage of infertile couples is as high as 15%. The numbers are significant and unfortunately I’m one of them.

Even though you don’t know me personally, chances are pretty high that you and your spouse or someone you know has also dealt with the struggles of infertility. The average couple trying takes around seven months to conceive. Meanwhile, I know plenty of couples who've taken years.

Speaking from experience, infertility is not an easy subject to talk about, especially the longer you try to get pregnant without success. But a lot of times people don’t realize how emotional infertility can be, especially if you never had any issues yourself or had a “surprise” or two. And to top off the roller coaster of emotions people like me have to deal with, it’s crazy expensive!


I decided to put myself out there because my husband and I are at a crossroads and sometimes writing things out can help when facing tough decisions. Our doctor recently told us that if we want to have a baby, our best option is in vitro fertilization (IVF). The first things that popped into our minds were “how much does IVF cost” and “can we afford IVF if it takes multiple tries?” While some people might jump straight to yes, we’re not so sure.

We’ve both done well in our careers making six figure incomes, but we definitely don't feel rich living in San Francisco. We aren’t into fancy cars, designer clothes, or 5 star resort vacations. Target is my favorite store, for example. We’re simple people but we are willing to pay a premium for things like great food and good service. We like to save, we’re already happy with just us as a couple, and we don’t like to rush into any major decision that involves money and well…life.

So to help in our decision-making process I’ve crunched some numbers on the various costs, analyzed some pros and cons, and also want to hear what your thoughts and experiences are. Ultimately we will have to decide which route to take ourselves, but I think it will be helpful to get feedback from other Financial Samurai readers with a decision this significant on lifestyle, health, and our finances.


To help you understand why we’re even considering the expensive costs of IVF, here’s some background on our situation. For a little over one year, we tried unsuccessfully to have a baby on our own. We didn’t take it too seriously at first but every single pregnancy test I took for two years was negative. I can’t even describe how frustrating and sad that was, and still is.

Last year, a few months before I turned 34, we decided it was time to see a fertility specialist. After my exam my doctor explained that I have endometriosis and large cysts on my one of my ovaries. My throat choked up and tears started to flood down my face when I heard the news. That was a tough day. But the good news was our doctor said at our age we still had a good chance to get pregnant despite my condition. We wanted to try the cheapest and least invasive treatment first, so we tried IUIs for about seven months. Our insurance covered the vast majority of the procedures and most of the medications, so we were feeling lucky. But unfortunately none of the IUIs worked.

While we could still continue trying IUIs using our insurance, my doctor doesn’t think it will be successful at this point, and time is becoming more and more valuable. She wants me to get pregnant within six months because my cysts and endometriosis could cause complications if I don’t get pregnant soon. Gee, no pressure right?

All this leads us to the present day, trying to decide if we should do IVF or not, which our insurance doesn’t cover at all. The good news is my doctor thinks we are good candidates for mini IVF, which is a lot cheaper than normal IVF, so we have more options but the downside is it’s also less successful.


Ok, so just how much does IVF cost? It can vary a lot between clinics and the specific medications and procedures you require, but the general range at my clinic is $13,000 – $24,000 for one attempt. It’s absolutely ridiculous! Most insurance plans like mine don’t cover IVF at all, which means we've got to fund everything ourselves.

Here’s a look at the summary of costs at my clinic for conventional IVF:

Conventional IVF Costs


Mini IVF is appealing because it’s much less invasive, less complicated, less shots, and less expensive. But the downsides are the success rates are lower that conventional IVF and there's also very limited chance to have enough extra embryos to freeze for a second cycle.

Here’s a look at the breakdown of costs at my clinic for mini IVF:

Mini IVF Costs


The success rates for IVF are another important aspect to consider because if you do the math, a lot of the times a single attempt isn’t going to be successful. Here’s a look at the success rates in 2012 for my particular clinic:

IVF Success rate

I’m just turning 35, so I figure I have about a 32-34% chance of having a baby in each attempt. That certainly isn’t high enough to get very excited about. It’s very hard to feel comfortable paying $15,000 for a 33% chance.

From a simple mathematical standpoint, one must therefore spend $45,000, or three attempts, before one is successful. Unfortunately, each attempt is independent of the next, which means we could be trying to bet on black at the roulette table while red keeps showing up. Just like investing, there are no guarantees.


As much as money is a huge factor in our decision, it isn’t the end all be all. We all know the major pro of doing IVF is being able to have a baby and raise a family. But here are some of the cons I’ve come with beyond the costs.

Time – I haven’t even mentioned the amount of time involved in doing an IVF cycle. There are a lot of doctor appointments, trips to the pharmacy, lab tests, and procedures involved. Fortunately we have fairly flexible work schedules, but the more time away we spend from work, me in particular, the less time I have to earn money.

LOTS of shots – Getting blood drawn is not fun. I just had three vials taken today. But injecting myself with needles is much worse. It seriously sucks getting up the nerve to shove a needle in your stomach, especially as someone who gets queasy at the sight of blood. The fear and unpleasantness of all the shots involved with IVF is one of the major cons I have with IVF. Perhaps you’d argue it gets easier each time you do it, but I still cringe at even the thought of injecting myself.

Emotional factors – Infertility is incredibly emotional. It’s frustrating, sad, painful, hopeful, and disappointing. We’ve come to peace that IUI didn’t work and having insurance helped us a lot. I worry that it will take a lot longer to get over the disappointment of IVF if it doesn’t work. Having a supportive partner or spouse is incredibly important.

Surgery risk – It seems silly now, but I didn’t realize that IVF is actually a surgery until recently. It makes sense when you think of how expensive it is. And as with any surgery there are always risks. The only other surgery I’ve had before was getting my wisdom teeth out, so taking anesthesia still freaks me out.

Chance of miscarriage – Even if IVF results in a pregnancy, there’s no guarantee I could carry a baby full term (life birth). I can’t imagine the emotional roller coaster of going from total elation of finally being pregnant for the first time to the devastation of losing a baby. There’s a delicate balance between staying positive while also setting expectations really low.

Ethical considerations – While I don’t want this article to spew into a debate over whether IVF is ethical or not, there’s no denying that some people are flat out against it. My husband and I don’t have any moral conflicts with IVF nor are we trying to have a giant family. But sometimes I wonder since I haven’t been able to get pregnant for 3 years now, perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be?

An unhealthy baby – Who knows whether IVF can affect the health of a baby, but what if we have a baby with abnormal symptoms? Would we end up blaming IVF or ourselves for going against nature? Taking care of a child is no easy matter and we will be full-on, committed parents. One of the benefits of IVF is the clinic can supposedly choose the highest quality embryos for insemination.

IVF Success Rate Chart


Although my doctor recommends IVF as the next step, there are certainly other alternatives. But of course, none of them are guaranteed either.

Chinese Medicine Herbs For Treating Infertility
Chinese Herbs

Chinese (Eastern) Medicine – One of my friends over 40 has had multiple miscarriages and was told by her ob-gyn that her only option to get pregnant was using an egg donor. After finding a Chinese Medicine infertility center, however, she was able to get pregnant and gave birth last year through the help of acupuncture and herbal medicine.

The process can be slow, roughly 5-7 months, and also involves weekly appointments. The combined use of IUI or IVF with Chinese medicine can be more effective than by itself, but it all depends on your condition. I’m leaning towards giving it a try. It can still get expensive over time, but by itself it’s a lot cheaper than IVF. The estimated cost of treatments is below:

Initial consultation    $120
Acupuncture               $280/month
Herbal Medicine        $272/month
1st month                $672/month
2nd month on            $552/month
6 months                 $3,432 total

Clinical Trials – If you can’t afford IVF, you can consider participating in a clinical trial. The difficulties are finding one in your area that you qualify for and of course there are always risks to consider when participating in any research study. One of my friends lived near a clinical trial, but didn’t qualify due to too many failed prior attempts at IVF. If you do qualify, the entire treatment could be covered and you may even be compensated on top of that. But this can range wildly depending on each study and the amount of funding available. I’ve considered doing a clinical trial, but admit the risks intimidate me, and I haven’t found one nearby yet either.

Adoption – Adoption is a fantastic option to raise a child in need and is certainly something my husband and I are considering. It’s not necessarily a cheaper option compared to IVF, and it can also take 2-4 years. According to Binti, the range of US adoption costs ranges from $20,000-$45,000 and international adoption costs are similar at $20,000-$50,000. If you qualify for the IRS adoption tax credit, you can reduce the expenses by $13,400 in 2015. But if your modified adjusted gross income falls between $197,880 and $237,880 the tax credit begins to phase out, and if you make above that range, then you don’t qualify at all. Adoption can be complicated too and it isn’t as easy as it used to be. According to CNN, international adoptions have dropped 50% since 2004 and many countries like China have become much more restrictive or closed down entirely such as Russia, Ghana, Guatemala, Nepal.

Surrogacy – Typically even more expensive than adoption is paying for a surrogate to carry your baby. We have thought about this option, and while it would be nice to avoid the challenges of pregnancy and giving birth, it feels way too complicated and unaffordable. The cost of surrogacy can range between $80,000-$125,000 in the US! That is out of the question for us but we might consider international surrogacy later. If you’re willing to deal with the complexities of long distance travel and government paperwork there are cheaper options in countries such as India for around $35,000. But there are many risks, legalities, and logistics to consider. Some international agencies have been shut down due to fraud in the past too, so don’t underestimate the importance of due diligence if you have the means to consider surrogacy.


My husband and I have the means to afford a few rounds of IVF without going into debt, but we’re not rolling in dough. I think the absolute max we would want to spend is about $30,000-35,000 (enough for two attempts), but I still wouldn’t call that “comfortable.” It’s incredibly hard to swallow actually! And IVF isn’t a walk in the park either though we can afford it. There are a lot of appointments, tests, unpleasant medications to take, side effects to cope with, and emotions to bear.

We will have to sell some of our stock positions to free up enough cash flow for the IVF self-pay invoices as we go, postpone a trip abroad, delay some work we wanted to do on our house, and maybe shelve some trips to see my parents who live out of state too.


As much as we don’t want to have to spend tens of thousands of dollars, we also realize that IVF won’t be a realistic option for us indefinitely. Our best chance for success is within the next six months and we don’t want to look back when we’re much older and regret not trying when we had the chance. Even if we pay for one or two attempts and fail at least we can always say we tried. And then we can take our time considering adoption and rebuilding our savings.

I put the below table together of the various options we’re considering sorted by cost. I’m leaning towards incorporating acupuncture and herbal medicine as a first step. It does involve a lot of weekly appointments and drinking bad tasting tea every day, but doing it in preparation of IVF could increase our chances of success with such an expensive surgery.

And who knows we could get lucky “trying” on our own in the months leading up to IVF which is why I’m counting the months of taking herbs and getting acupuncture in the count of total attempts. But the percent chance is probably quite low in the first 1-3 months. There are so many possibilities I feel pretty overwhelmed! Of course we don't have to decide our entire plan now, but it's helpful to think of the big picture especially in regards to time and the expenses.

Multiple options for IVF and the costs 2

How much would you spend to have a baby? (Pick up to three choices)

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Have you ever had infertility issues before? Let's classify infertility as taking two years or longer to conceive, if at all.

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Related: What Is The Ideal Age To Have A Baby?

Updated for 2018 and beyond. Melissa ended up having a handsome baby boy two years after this post in 2017 via natural conception. God works in mysterious ways.

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72 thoughts on “How Much Does IVF And Eastern Medicine Cost To Combat Infertility?”

  1. I want to tell all the women in the world with no child that there is hope for you all, because i was also a barren woman, i had no child for the past 12 years i consulted my doctor and he told me that there is no way on earth that i can ever getting pregnant, because of previous abortion i did for my ex husband, so i was confused and my husband was giving up and told me we should adopt a child, i was so sad in such way that i had to talk to a friend about adopting a child, my friend Said forget about adopting a child. She then introduced me to a spiritual Doctor. Marvelspelltemple @ gmail. com i contacted and explained everything to him and immediately Doctor Muna told me not to worry my problems will be solved, i believed and did as he instructed me, including applying her fertility medicine. After 4 weeks i went to hospital for a total test and i found out i was 2 weeks pregnant and today i’m a mother of an amazing twins.

  2. My best friend had three rounds of IVF in the US(multiple states) and were all unsuccessfully. She was in her early 30’s when she tried getting pregnant and started IVF in her mid 30’s . She tried all the Chinese herbal medicine and non helped. The physical and emotional toll was just too much for her body and she wanted to quit. But her husband really wanted kids and he convinced her to go through IVF one last time, in Thailand. She quit her stressful job (one reason she might not be conceiving), went to live in Thailand for a month, and long story short, she has two beautiful healthy kids at 39. They are fraternal twins, one boy and one girl. My friend probably spent close to $100K.

    IVF is expensive but when you see the faces of your kids, it will all be worth it. Sounds like you two have decent salaries(more than my friends combined), so the cost will be small compare to your lifetime earnings. You might just have to sacrifice a little in your current lifestyle to save up.

  3. nicoleandmaggie

    We faced infertility before but were able to conceive through a combination of Western medicine that isn’t in your choice set (though I did conceive with IUI, that resulted in a miscarriage).

  4. For those of you ladies who have had miscarriage(s) it might worth investigating your DNA; there is one particular gene that might be to blame. If your insurance covers the cost of a simple blood test you can find out if this might have been a factor in trying to conceive. The gene is known as MTHFR; and by race it affects as much as 20% of the hispanic population, in caucasians possibly as high as 12% and blacks up to 4%. This is something that might save you some serious money doing IVF treatments and deal with the true underlying problem–utilizing a relatively inexpensive fix (vitamin formulation) Read up on it.

  5. Hi Chad. Thanks so much for your comment. I’m sorry to hear about your loss. I understand it sounds weird you were relieved the second IVF didn’t work but I know what you mean. If I ever get pregnant I already know I will be worried for 9 months constantly paranoid that something could happen.

    Thanks for sharing your story with foster-adoption. How incredible you were able to adopt a pair of siblings when they were young so they could stay together. I’m glad to hear there are people who have had positive experiences with foster-adoption!

  6. Fantastic article. My wife had an ovary removed at 27 and we tried for several years for a child with no luck. Her other ovary has a completely blocked tube, even after several attempts to unlock it (years of acupuncture and herbs as well as surgery).We tried IUI a few times, just in case, but with a blocked tube there really is a 0% chance.

    The next step was the $15k IVF at age 30. We were pregmant on the first attempt but she had a spontaneous miscarriage and birthed our son after only a few months. We were devastated, but decided to try again at 31 – we were both so relieved to find that the second IVF didn’t work.As much as we wanted a chil, not going through 8 months of worry about losing a second child truly was a relief.

    We decided to foster-adopt a child who was born a few
    Omaha premature that was now 2 months out of the hospital. We became licensed foster parents and brought her into our home when our daughter was 6 months old. We officially adopted her when she was 9 months old. Her bio-mom and dad had a boy a few months later and we adopted him shortly afterwards as well.

    The cost: negative $96,000 for EACH of our children. Negative? Well, we did not know this until a few months after we adopted our daughter, but the state does not want your new child to a financial burden to you AND wants the child to have a forever family rather than a group home, for many reasons. The state continues a $250/month tax free stipend until the age of 18 per child ($4k/year) that increases when they’re in their teens. They also pay $500/month tax free directly to our pre-school until age 5- so 5 years of $6k/year schooling. If our kids decide to go to a state university in their birth state, that’s free too (not included in the $96k). Also, the federal government gives a $12k refundable tax credit for adopting a child from foster care, and the foster system covers all adoption costs (home study, attorneys fees, flights, hotels, counseling, training, etc). The state also covers special needs children for medical expenses and therapies if needed.

    Your decision isn’t easy.. The fact that you’re this prudent shows you’ll likely be an amazing set of parents. For us, every life is precious and we couldn’t risk losing a life when we could help one of the many children who were born into a bad situation. Our children are now 2 and 3; they know they’re adopted and that we picked them and celebrate that fact. Many friends say: Without you guys, where would they be? I say: without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

    Good luck!!

  7. Great post – sounds like the situation my husband and I were in just 7 years ago. While both chasing our careers I woke up at 34 and told my husband the same thing “Are we ever going to settle down and start a family?” We never took birth control and thought it was odd that we never conceived naturally (not that we were trying to specifically conceive) over the 4 years that we had already been married. We saw a specialist who ran some tests on both of us – and we found that hubby had low motility and low count. As for me, everything checked out fine but the Fertility Specialist called it “Unexplained Infertility” because we had not been able to naturally conceive after 6 months of proactively trying.
    We started with IUI and the first round worked. I conceived a girl, insurance covered only my medications the procedure cost us about $200 out of pocket. We ran into another problem when we discovered I had an incompetent cervix and lost my daughter at 17 weeks. We tried IUI about 5 additional times over the next year and none of them took. This is where we moved on to IVF. Again insurance did NOT cover the procedure, only the medication. Out of pocket it cost us approximately $9000. On the first IVF attempt, 2 were transferred and one took. At 12 weeks, my doctors recommended a cerclage and strict bedrest to prevent another loss like my first. We had both, but in my 22nd week I went into labor and lost my son, who only lived for 3 hours.
    While ready to give up altogether due to the emotional stress and constant life of scheduled appointments, medications, etc. our doctor recommended we stop trying because no human should go through such losses. On the other hand, our MFM told us about a procedure called an Abdominal Cerclage that could be done to eliminate the incompetent cervix issue, however few surgeons know how to do it. I researched the issue and joined Abbyloopers – a nonprofit organization supporting women with 2nd trimester losses due to IC. I found the #1 surgeon in the U.S. and scheduled a phone consultation to learn more about my issue. In 2011 we scheduled the surgery in Chicago, my husband and I flew to Chicago for the surgery. It was 100% covered by insurance and I had frequent flyer miles and hotel points that covered the entire trip. I was there for 2 days and recovered quickly – was back at work within a week. Husband and I went back to the drawing board putting money into our FSA account pretax to try for 2 more additional FET Transfers. Both didn’t take (well one did but we miscarried in the 5th week). FINALLY we said we are taking a break.

    We scheduled a 2 week vacation with friends and planned to have a crazy weekend in Las Vegas. Just 5 weeks before the trip, we found out we were pregnant – NATURALLY. Needless to say that our Vegas trip was horrible, I was sick to my stomach and irritable. However; we now have a healthy boy. Nearly 15 months later, we planned to do another FET Transfer to use our last 2 eggs. Just before we scheduled the appointment, we found out I was pregnant AGAIN, naturally.

    This has been a rough journey for us, we don’t understand why it has taken us so long to conceive naturally. We’ve always said that we weren’t going to be the kind of people who would do “anything” to have a family. We put a limit at one IVF round and then committed to using all of the embryos that we had, once we ran out, we would have called it quits. The transfers only cost us $1200 and the annual cryo fee is only $300. Luckily things worked out and we’re a late blooming family of 4.

    1. Hi Mrs N. Thanks so much for your comment. Wow what a long and emotional journey it has been for you guys. I am so sorry you had those miscarriages. But wow what a miracle that you were able to get pregnant naturally not once but twice! I’m glad your story has a happy ending!

  8. I think more women could see marriage more as an opportunity to grow as a couple. If you have spent more time for career, school, then I think there are more oppotunities up in the horizon why marfiage is not always about parenting or having your own child. The path you had taken lead to where you are today, i am sure more good stuffs has happened. We human is fantastic at creating a coping mechanism. The technology is there but effective or not or will it give worst impact to your body, who knows, why not try a surrogate ? Please dont see marriage as one type fits all life goals, trust there is a silver lining for each couple to have a child or not, more children or not. Men must evolve too, why marry when you get older, merely to have kids ? I hope not.

  9. I wasn’t sure which survey option to pick as I am dealing with unexplained secondary infertility. 3.5 years trying. Six months of clomid made me crazy sick. Then I did all sorts of tests and 5 IUIs. Nothing covered by insurance. Next step would be IVF with ICSI. The estimate they gave me for this was just shy of $30k for just the first attempt. For me since I have a kid already I think I will pass on the IVF. I still have a couple years left in my fertility window.

    1. Taking medications has messed with my hormones so I’m taking a break. That sucks you got so sick from Clomid. I did okay on Letrozole and so-so on Clomid. I felt like my ovary was exploding and I only had 3 follicles on my last cycle and 2 of them were small. I can’t imagine what the stronger stuff does. While that is unfortunate you don’t have any insurance coverage you are blessed to have a first child. $30k for the first attempt is very high. Maybe we’ll get lucky with changing our diets and trying acupuncture. I’m going for the first time this weekend. Hopefully it doesn’t hurt!

  10. Great discussion. One comment that I have is that if people think $20K or $45K is not affordable, then maybe it’s best not to have children. The cost of raising a child is several hundred K to $1M, depending on the schooling options. It’s definitely not cheap.


    1. To me it’s more like is it worth spending $35-45k on IVF that might not work or is it better to just put that money straight towards adoption. I agree that raising kids however you get them is expensive but it’s something we can afford.

  11. Hi Melissa,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. It takes a lot to share something this personal.

    Perhaps this sounds naive, but it seems to me that time is the one element you can’t buy and is absolutely the most important component that has to be considered in this decision. Easy for me to spew advice because I’m not in your shoes (yet), I think since you are able to do 2 rounds of IVF, I would pick the option that has the best success rate in the shortest amount of time, allowing you to try other methods if need be.

    Good luck, and I wish you and your husband the very best.

    1. Thanks Tiffany! It’s kinda funny that I feel less anxious about time now versus when we first started trying. Maybe because I stopped thinking about the race against time and started focusing more on work to keep my mind distracted and getting healthier.

  12. Hi Melissa,

    Thanks for your article. I’m another one who can relate to this as we had problems conceiving with no obvious reasons. We went the IVF route in Spain (lower cost than where we live, but still with good regulation from the EU). We are now blessed with a girl and a boy from different attempts.

    One idea that others have touched on, when mentioning diet, is the many environmental factors that can inhibit fertility. There are a lot of toxins that we are exposed to every day in our homes and workplaces and our diets are often chronically deficient of essential trace minerals.

    We made attempts to minimize these environmental risks for a time before our IVF attempts (i.e. to be as healthy as we possibly could) and I think anything that improves your odds before you start has got to be a good thing.

    There is a good article I found at that talks about reducing the toxins that you are exposed to at home and eating a better diet. I should point out that it is a site that is selling a program, but the information on this page is good.

    1. Thanks Mark! That is fantastic you were able to have two children through international IVF. I think you’re absolutely right that there are so many toxins we’re exposed to that aren’t good for us. Goodness knows there are so many signals in the air too, who knows what they may discover things like Wifi does to our bodies down the road. I already eat pretty healthy, but I can do better eliminating sugar and eating more organic vegetables.

  13. Hi Melissa,

    My wife and I was exactly in this scenario in 2011, after 2 years of trying with no success. We both checked out normal. Instead of wasting more time, told our infertility doctor, we would do a round of mini IVF w/ ICSI.

    Cost around $9K in the DC area. Like you said, it was 33% success rate. There’s a lot of factors too. Heck, the egg extracted didn’t even fertilized w/ ICSI. Our IVF ended there without it being implanted.

    Fast forward to today, we still don’t have kids. It’s not like we couldn’t afford it, our income is in the mid-200s. Now, we’re hitting in our late 30s, we just accepted our situation and moved on.

    It cost about $375K to raise a child, if you can’t have any. Not trolling, you kinda just earn yourselves $375K or more, that people with family could not. You can retire early as responsibility load just isn’t the same as others.

    Good luck.

    1. Thanks for sharing Ken. I know that decision to move on must have been difficult for you guys. I hope you guys have found peace with it.

      It is pretty crazy how expensive it is to raise kids, so yeah it’s a lot of savings and a positive to be able to use those funds towards other opportunities in your future.

  14. The Money Spot

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think you will come to a decision that is best for you and your husband. I am very intrigued by the Chinese medicine story.

  15. Good article Melissa! My gf and I were just having this conversation. She is turning 35 in September and I’ve read that the risks really start to rapidly increase after 35.

    I guess some of it is luck and some of it genetics, but always better to get the ball rolling earlier.

  16. Another possible route, which of course may not be acceptable or desirable to many, is to go overseas for IVF.

    The bloggers “Go Curry Cracker” have written about their experience doing this; it is worth a read.

    1. Thanks Derby. I think that would be a bit too much for us but it’s always good to know there are more options. Having options is what gives us hope!

  17. The Professor

    This is a fascinating article. I never knew about the costs of IVF or the success rate. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I’m glad you liked it! It was an educational experience for me too because I knew it was expensive but didn’t know exactly how expensive or what all the possible options were.

  18. Another alternative to IVF to consider might be diet changes. My OB found bilateral endometriomas on my ovaries (the size of a lemon and a lime) while I was pregnant with my first, and was surprised I didn’t have trouble conceiving. Pre-pregnancy I was eating a paleo diet for several months. Once I was pregnant I resumed a standard American diet (oh those pregnancy food cravings!). Postpartum I resumed a paleo diet and we watched as (I was also breastfeeding) my endometriomas resolve, which is apparently unusual.

    After experimenting with my diet I found wheat specifically causes painful periods for me and triggers my endo. I put this to the test as I was having trouble conceiving #2 while occasionally eating wheat, so I cut out wheat completely again and bam, pregnant again.

    Anyway, from anecdotal evidence I’ve read, wheat and dairy are two big endo triggers. And cutting them out or experimenting with your diet is a fairly cheap/free thing to try.

    My sister went through IUI and IVF and from what she told me it’s a tough road, but it got her to where she wanted to be (fertility issues were on his side). So good luck with however you try!

    1. You’re the second person to mention the paleo diet so that’s something I will look into further. I already try not to eat much dairy. Cutting out wheat could be harder but at least I know I don’t have celiac disease so perhaps it’s not too hard on my body, I dunno. But definitely worth the try to take them out of my diet. Thanks Sara!

      1. Melissa I highly recommend giving Paleo a try in concert w/acupuncture. It’s not a cure all, but it often does work. There are a lot of anecdotes out there of people dropping grains and becoming pregnant. I was doing paleo before #3 and that kid is my strongest, healthiest baby. You can have celiac or just gluten intolerance and not have any symptoms.

      2. My husband and I tried for a baby for a little less than two years before I was diagnosed with “unexplained infertility.” After some research I decided to try the Paleo diet, plus weekly acupuncture. We then got pregnant about 3 months later. An option to think about!

        1. Ok, now I’m convinced! I just did some reading up on Paleo and watched a Dr Oz clip. Will be tough for me giving up rice, tofu, green beans, and grains but definitely seems like it’s worth a try. I’m glad fruit is okay. :) Thanks for the encouragement ladies!

  19. It sounds like you have put enough thought into this and like you want to try IVF and I think you should. Let me tell you something- I make $50k a year in the DC area (very hard to live on) and I am not married. I became pregnant last year (complete accident I was taking birth control at the time). I never wanted children and I was in no shape financially to have a child. Now that I have a daughter I am so disappointed I had any doubts and angry that people suggested that I shouldn’t go through with the pregnancy. No job, money, spouse, or friends will ever amount to how much meaning a child brings into your life. At the end of the day, If you ask a parent would you rather have never had children or lose all ofyour money, they would say lose all their money. Money makes life easier which makes people happy, but it does NOT bring meaning. I would first try acupuncture, then try IVF twice, and finally go for the adoption if IVF does not work.

    1. Hi LG. Thanks so much for sharing your story. Your daughter is so lucky to have a wonderful mother like you. I have always been inspired by how hard single moms work and how much love they have for their children. Thanks for your suggestions. They are actually quite in line with how I’m leaning!

  20. It all depends on how badly you want a child. If having a child is extremely important to you, then $45,000 is not that much money. If you do not get pregnant after 3 tries then you need to believe that God does not want you to get pregnant. Not everyone is meant to have children. I believe our culture places financial independence above having children and we women are having to pay the price. If you talk to a doctor, the ideal age to get pregnant is 25 years old (at least that is what my doctor told me). Due to our culture we are all trying to get pregnant at 35 and now having a much harder time. It is unfortunate because having children is extremely important to me. You must keep in the back of your mind even if you do get pregnant there is a 10-20% chance of miscarriage and there are risks of still birth. In addition, there is a 300% increased risk of having a child with a chromosomal disorder after 35. Not to mention the medical risks of being pregnant and labor have on your entire body. These things do not stop me from wanting to get pregnant, but knowing the facts makes me able to face these challenges head on.

    1. Even if my body was fully capable of having a baby at 25, I’m glad I waited even if it means I may never be able to have a baby. Yes there are a lot of risks that are hard not to think about. I think if I ever can get pregnant, I will try hard to stay positive while also keeping my expectations low in case something were to happen, hopefully not of course. Best of luck with your journey!

  21. Having gone through the analysis shown above with my wife, I do not envy anyone in your shoes. Confronted with both male factor and female factor infertility we went through 3 rounds of clomid before biting the bullet on the 1 cycle of IVF. Due to the male factor infertility, we proceeded IVF adding the cost of ICSI 1-2k. We also elected for the genetic testing to reduce the risk of a miscarriage at a cost of about 5k. We did save money by using out of country pharmacies recommended by our clinic. The process took about 2 months to complete, from hysteroscopy to embryo transfer. Total cost was just at $20k for full fresh 1 cycle.

    At our doctors direction, we put (2) embryos in. We lost one at about 12 weeks, the other one, our son, was born happy and healthy at 8 1/2 months. Due to my wife’s PCOS, we have over 20 healthy embryos stored for future cycles. (Talk about ethics questions)

    My advice is to research success rates at each clinic, and then make an appointment with a doctor for a consultation. Some clinics will have success rates that are significantly above the national average. The clinic we selected had a live birth success rate of close to 70% for women under 35. If your curious, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology is a good source of information.

    1. Hi James. Wow 20 embryos is amazing! My doctor thinks the most number of follicles I will likely get from a conventional IVF is only 4-5 so there’s a chance we may not even have any embryos to freeze.

      That’s good to know about the length of your process and your ending price tag. Even though I estimate about $15k for ours, it’s totally possible we may need ICSI or something else which could get us closer to $18-20k.

      Congratulations on your son and thanks for your comment!

  22. A humble opinion:
    My hub and I started trying last September. I’m 35 and he smokes, we both drink (not alcoholics but some) and drink coffee all those are bad for fertility it seems. First I was sure I was going to get pregnant fast because I’m Mexican and my husband heritage is Irish (Stereotypes exist for some reasons, ok?). However it hasn’t been particularly easy, even when I have used several methods to track ovulation. Currently I’m reading a book called “Making Babies: A proven 3 month program for maximum fertility” by Sam S David and Jill Blakeway and it suggest to try acupuncture and herbs along with western medicine which I will try. I will try several methods before adoption but I think we will try to adopt before IVF. My in-laws by example tried long before they adopt. After the pressure of having children on their own they conceived 2 more boys (my husband included). I think you are young and maybe just need to relax all that pressure you were talking about. Endometriosis is usually diagnosed for sure (according to my OBGYN/Fertility specialist) when they do the procedure to look at the inside and correct the problem. The cysts can also be removed and you have a perfectly healthy ovary as well! My point is, I think you should read some books like mine and search for answers that solve the problems you have and not serve as a cover up for the symptoms.
    I hope it helps.

    1. Thanks Jezy. I thought things were going to be easy for me too because my mom got pregnant twice “by accident”. Strange how life unfolds isn’t it. I’m glad to hear that book you’re reading suggests eastern medicine in combination with western. I don’t think I’ll do IVF by itself. I’m leaning more and more towards eastern medicine first and then in combination with IVF if it doesn’t work out by itself. My doctor actually didn’t recommend I have surgery to remove my cysts which I was quite relieved about. The surgery freaked me out way too much and my cysts aren’t painful, thank God. Best of luck to you!

  23. Melissa, thank you for sharing and the detail cost of all the options. My husband and I have been struggle with infertility too. Currently, we’re also exploring IVF and schedule to see an IVF specialist in mid-April (after 2 months of waiting). I have been married almost 11 years, never took the pill and have actively been trying for 5 years. A little over a year ago, I finally got pregnant but miscarried at 3 months. The doctor couldn’t explained the cause as everything seems fine. Emotionally, it was very difficult for me, to the point that we relocated to another state, granted it was a good career opportunity for my husband. I also took a less demanding job to rebuild my body via weekly acupuncture and drinking herbal soups. The treatments does help. All the best!

    1. I remember how anxious I was waiting for my first appointment with our fertility specialist. We also had a long waiting period and each week felt like forever. I’m sorry to hear about your miscarriage. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking that must have been. I’m glad you have a less stressful job now and that you’re trying the herbs and acupuncture! Best wishes to you!

  24. I know you said you didn’t want to make this about ethics, but I thought you might be interested in an article that discusses (among other things) how couples who used IVF *thought* they would feel about any frozen embryos that might result and how they *actually* ended up feeling about them. Spoiler alert: changes in attitudes were the rule rather than the exception no matter what a couple said prior to the procedure. (I.e., the changes in attitude were not 1-dimensional). The only big takeaway that characterized how most people felt after the process was uncertainty: “Couples, he found, were confused yet deeply affected by the responsibility of deciding what to do with their embryos. They wanted to do the right thing…. ‘For many couples, it seems there is no good decision; yet they still take it seriously morally.’ ”

    You can read the article here–I first read it five years ago, and it still sticks with me:

    1. Thanks Claire. I can imagine things can get harder and uncertain when you’re actually face to face with a decision like that. Definitely lots to think about.

  25. Melissa, you should include reactions to the medications in your list of non-monetary factors. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is very unpleasant. It can set you back physically as well as financially as you may have to postpone and restart the process. Oh wait, cost found its way into this risk!

    1. That sounds very painful. I had a lot of pain with 3 follicles on my last IUI cycle. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have twice as many!

  26. I loved your post! You did the right thing putting it out there to ask questions…

    We had “unexplained infertility” at your age also…endometriosis, low sperm count, etc. I am assuming you checked his sperm count before all of this- that’s getting very common as a reason and don’t feel you are doing anything “wrong”…sometimes the whole process puts strain on a marriage.

    We did do IVF with ICSI and it worked the 1st try- WITH THE HELP of Chinese acupuncture so I would highly recommend that route- I did a few sessions of acupuncture prior to the retrieval and ended up with extra embryos. We did it again and I got my 2nd daughter, my 3rd daughter was natural- we got pregnant when my 2nd daughter was 6 months- so it’s true!!!! Stress has A LOT to do with it.

    Melissa- I wouldn’t have it any other way…yeah it was expensive, yeah it was heartbreaking and a long process which tries your patience. But now, when I look at my kids I appreciate them because of ALL we went through and you will too! You make a lot of $$, I would try IVF with acupuncture and see how many eggs come through the process. If you only get a few eggs and they don’t mature enough to implant them in…then you know your eggs are weak. If you get a lot of eggs (be careful NOT to overstimulate- it’s painful) and you get lots of embryos based on ICS then you are a great candidate for implants. Also- if you do get 2-3 embryos implanted in you- MAKE SURE you take progesterone shots in your butt to “hold” the pregnancy! That could be part of the issue too- a lot of us women are losing progesterone due to our foods, environment, stress, etc.

    I wish you SOOO much luck but looking back- I’d do it all over again. You can’t take it with you…

    1. I’m so glad to hear you tried acupuncture too and that it helped! It is very encouraging to hear success stories like yours and that it is possible to get pregnant naturally even after IVF cycles.

  27. I had a few miscarriages between #1 and #2 and I finally figured out myself that my hormones were out of whack (low progesterone). I read everything I could on infertility, started exercising and did a paleo-ish diet. I then had a surprise #3. Fertility, most of the time, is not an all or nothing thing, it changes based on your health, diet, etc. I don’t know what I would do in your situation but would probably try acupuncture/herbs first as they may help the endrometriosis.

    I do have a friend who conceived her first son via IVF on the first round. When she tried to get pregnant the 2nd time, she and her husband did 3 or 4 rounds of IVF and all failed. So she tried acupuncture and got pregnant naturally for the first time ever and now has two kids.

    Good luck and I am so sorry about what you are going through.

    1. Thanks J. I’m sorry to hear about your miscarriages. That is fantastic you have three kids now! Us women sure have it tough with so many hormones.

      That is very encouraging about your friends experience with acupuncture! Makes me want to try that route first before IVF.

  28. One option you didn’t mention is fostering a child. You can opt for short or long term foster care, depending on your county and its needs. My father as a retiree is considering this as a way to give back and make use of his free time and 5 bedroom house. It’s an incredibly powerful way to make a difference in a child’s life or many children’s lives – and it’s close to free as far as I know, especially compared with the options you list above.

    I have never tried to have kids yet (been married one year) but am in my early 30s and always wonder if I might face fertility issues. Regardless, I’ve always been interested in the idea of foster care at some point in my life. Adoption sounds great, but there is a wait list for a reason: rich people are lining up to buy newborn babies of their own. In many countries babies are essentially stolen from poor mothers to sell to wealthy foreigners who thing they are “saving” a child in need and don’t realize the parents are often coerced into giving up their babies.

    I’m not against adoption, just pointing out that fostering is a viable alternative if you’re willing to take a child several months or years old versus right out of the womb. It’s much more affordable and on top of that it’s arguably more impactful from a societal perspective.

    1. I’m intimidated by foster care which is why I am not considering it right now. I don’t know anyone who has tried it and had a good experience, which is part of my hesitation. Someone close to me was abused as a child and the effects it has had on her life even now as an adult are incredibly painful to bear. I’m not sure I could emotionally handle having a foster child in my care who had been through something traumatic like that. Maybe past abuse is a rare occurrence in foster care though, I don’t know.

  29. I do not know what you are going through, but here are some things to consider.

    Ask yourself these questions, will you regret not trying IVF in a few years when you still had the chance? If money and time and the pain is not worth getting pregnant to you, then maybe it’s because you “only kinda want it.” You can’t “kinda only” wanna be a parent. It has to be 100% or you’re have tons of regret. People who go into the rough patch of parenthood without regrets usually makes the best parent. Do you really want it or “just kinda want it?”

    Do you only want a biological baby only because it’s “not within your reach,” thus you yearn for it more? The reason why I say this is because sometimes people obsessively want something because they can’t have it easily. Since you are quite older, have you always wanted a child or is it just something that’s “now or never?” Was it being responsible and getting the finances in order first or more of a panic thing even though you’ve never imagined life with a child?

    Will you be okay with adoption? Do you believe that you will love an adopted child the same as a biological one? What bonds you to another person? Blood or your experience with that person?

    Have you and your husband talked about “what if something goes wrong?” (life threatening situations with IVF) What if the child has xxx disorders and requires constant care or if you had an emotionally devastating miscarriage? These are just some thoughts and there’s definitely a lot of soul searching to do. There’s no right or wrong answer, you have to figure out your path yourself. Good luck to you no matter what you choose. Just make it a route where you would be least likely to have regrets.

    1. Thanks Kim. Yes, lots and lots of questions to consider and many long conversations. Having a baby is not a simple decision by any means.

  30. We were infertile for 2 years, when I was in my early 30s. After a year of testing, my doctor prescribed clomid. I got pregnant, then miscarried at 7 weeks. More clomid, another pregnancy, but this one went all the way! When our beautiful boy turned 1, I went back on clomid. 7 months later, I was pregnant again, with our 2nd son. We were over blessed and done.

    But then, a few months later, I kept throwing up, and couldn’t lose the baby weight…And by the time I found out, I was in my second trimester with our baby girl! The young ones are 12 months apart.

    Now our oldest son is graduated from college and working in his new career, and the 2 young ones are away at college. So 25 years after our infertility journey started, we are empty nesters again.

    A few thoughts:

    Our HMO back then paid for almost everything, (as well they should…young bodies that are functioning properly reproduce, and the medical insurance should cover those that don’t.) But if it didn’t, we would have gone as far as we were financially able ourselves.

    When we finally started getting pregnant, we were already completing paperwork to adopt. We believed in “checking all the doors” to see which one would open to us.

    The hard fight for our children has made us treasure parenthood all the more. The kids see it and feel it, too. (The rugby-playing 20-year-old smiles and says, “Don’t worry, mom, I’m taking good care of your son.”

    So, as a previous poster said, go big. Keep trying all the doors, and see which one opens to you.

    1. What an incredible story, thanks for sharing! I really appreciate your comment on “checking all the doors to see which one would open.”

  31. I sympathize with your situation. My wife and I struggled with infertility because I had male factor infertility (i.e. low sperm count and motility). Infertility is one of the hardest things to deal with because most people don’t understand what you are going through. It’s different than dealing with a terminal illness such as cancer, because not being able to conceive, to outsiders, is not life threatening nor superficially that big a deal. However, for the couple trying to conceive it is very mentally draining and depressing because you see everyone around you seemingly able to conceive in the blink of an eye. And you are constantly reminded of your infertility by your friends’ children or your siblings’ children, etc. We were able to conceive using ICSI and IVF on our first try and our twin girls are now 7 years old. The reason for this comment is that we also participated in a third party IVF refund program, which may be an option for you if you have the financial means. Basically, we paid upfront for the price of two IVF cycles to the third party. The refund program basically provide for three (3) IVF cycles and, I think, three (3) frozen cycles. If none of the cycles are successful you get a refund of, I think, 80% of the initial fees. Big caveat, medications not included! We were successful on our first try (which is how these companies make money), but it gave us a peace of mind that we had at least three tries. And anyway, since we had twins we basically got our money’s worth. =)

    Funny enough, by the grace of God, we had two more children without assistance. We consider them complete miracles. Anyway, prayers to your entire process. I hope you and your husband are successful on your first try!

    1. Thank you for saying this, “It’s different than dealing with a terminal illness such as cancer, because not being able to conceive, to outsiders, is not life threatening nor superficially that big a deal. However, for the couple trying to conceive it is very mentally draining and depressing because you see everyone around you seemingly able to conceive in the blink of an eye.” So, so true.

      And thanks so much for mentioning the third party IVF refund program. I didn’t realize that options like that exist. Even without medications included that is a huge incentive to at least try IVF.

      Wow and now you have four children, amazing! You are blessed indeed. Thanks for your kind words and prayers Albert!

  32. I feel for your situation. However, I will say that I have two wonderful nieces that were adopted from China at ages 12 and 18 months. They’re now 13 and 16 years old, and I love them to pieces!! I have a cousin who adopted two boys from Latvia, which also worked out great.

    So, good luck with whatever you do, but I certainly can recommend international adoption.

    1. Thanks Cathy. I’m glad to hear your family has had great experiences with international adoption. Do you know how long the process took for them from start to finish?

      1. I think in for China, it ended up being about a 2 year process, start to finish for each child. China seems to have a pretty well-defined structure, at least with the adoption agency my sister worked with (Holt International). I think Latvia was a little looser, probably ended up taking more time.

  33. This is a tough choice. My sister-in-law is on her nth iteration of conventional. She lost one at 7-8 weeks and is currently at 7-8 weeks with another. A miscarriage can be very emotional and yet so common (our first was a miscarriage).

    My gut feeling is that your avoiding regrets section is correct. At 35, I would say go conventional once or twice. Thereafter, there is always adoption and/or eastern medicine. I am convinced that you can have a great life without children but they are also difficult experience to replace as well. Someone once told me “isn’t it amazing that someone can love you so much”, I said “isn’t it amazing that you can love someone so much”.

    1. I can only imagine how hard and incredibly sad miscarriage is. Even though I haven’t been able to get pregnant for so long, I know it will be harder to get pregnant and then have a miscarriage.

      I love your quotes! Thanks Austin

  34. I am going to preface this post with I honestly do not know what you are going through and I am sorry to hear that this is happening to you and your husband. While there are obvious financial considerations, I think you and your husband just need to sit down and talk about how you will feel if you did or did not try IVF.

    Will you be okay in a couple of years knowing that you didn’t try and had the money to do so? Will your husband be okay if you guys try and don’t end up having a baby?
    Are you and your husband willing to adopt? My husband was not….at least he is honest! lol

    There so many things to take into consideration, but in this case, I would push finances aside and discuss the more emotional ones.

    Good luck with whatever choice you both make!

    1. Thanks Kristy. Yes, that’s good your husband was honest about his feelings about adoption. :) Better to be up front about it before diving into a long journey together.

      It’s certainly not a quick and easy decision like “do you want to adopt?” “yes” “ok, let’s go get a baby.” There are a lot of emotions that come with it too and of course the biggest fears of being told you have a baby and then having it taken away. It’s emotional and more than a lot of people want to take on. We’re both open to the idea of adoption for us but aren’t quite ready to give up entirely on our own yet.

  35. Melissa,
    I appreciate you opening up on this extremely personal and emotional topic. My wife just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy after our fourth round of IVF. We began this path in 2009, when she was 37. In the end, after a detailed soul-searching along the lines you outline in your article, we chose to use a donor egg for this last, successful round. I don’t want to paint too bright a picture for you, but there is hope!

    While we never considered Eastern medicine, I empathize with the difficult continuum of choices that you face. We definitely felt the ticking clock; once you decide, there are no do overs. While I really hesitate to provide advise on such a complex and personal topic, looking back at our experience, I can only advise you to “go big,” whenever you can. If you are making you choice based on your health and your potential baby’s, that is an overriding guidepost you cannot quantify. (that is, you are comfortable with the procedures and their impact to your health, too) If you are basing the decision to economize the cost, you may regret it. There are a number of ways to help with costs: donated supplies, your parents (grandparents have a big emotional stake in grandchildren, too!), charities, and as you mentioned, clinical trials. Prosper even has a loan category for children / adoption. You may find you have to make changes to your lifestyle, at least temporarily, but that sacrifice can focus you on the outcome.

    My opinion is now highly colored by my hindsight–through all the risks, we so far are very successful. My wife had concerns with a donor egg, and whether she would bond with the baby. But that has proven to also be unfounded. In fact, we laugh when we see her reflected in the baby–“He has your hair!” (straw blonde)–he or she will be your baby!

    Whatever your decision, I also encourage you to reach out to other couples going through the process: whether you meet them in a class, or just in the waiting room. There is no better support than people who are experiencing the same step of the process as you are. They are like close classmates.

    Some final, specific pieces of advise: You are not limited to US sources for your drugs. You can save a lot looking at UK pharmacies, paying their national rate. Do be aware that you have to be specific about the kind of caps you want, though. Their standard is a sealed glass container, which you have to break the top. This requires a filtered syringe, so no glass shards get in the shot. (I know–shots can get worse!?!) But you can save 50-70%. Clinical trials are also a great way to reduce the cost–and you do have the right to know what the trial is about! Some are quite mundane (dosage A of a drug vs. dosage B)

    When it comes down to it, this is your decision, and a life-changing one. All I can really say is good luck, and my best wishes for your success.

    As a general aside, I have to agree that IVF is a strange medical process to go through, in the US. In no other setting do I see medical professionals who are cost conscious, who discuss not only total cost but also options. (when is *enough* medicine?) This is an artifact that almost no insurance covers these procedures. It gives me hope that other points in the medical system can adapt consumer behaviors to help manage costs. But there is an emotional cost to such decisions!

    1. Thanks for your long comment Matt and wow a huge congrats on your baby boy! It’s encouraging to hear stories of others who have also experienced our struggles who have happy endings. Sometimes it’s hard to maintain hope and the financial costs on top of that are a heavy weight.

      Thank you for mentioning the UK and non-US drug options. I never even thought about that. And thanks for the tip on the caps. Who would have thought taking medicine can be so complicated?! And I thought the Follistim pen was complicated! Congrats again on your baby boy and for sharing your personal journey.

  36. The financial samurai has done it again with this wonderful guest post. Most posts on this website have hit close to home personally and this one is no different (even yesterday’s umbrella policy post was timely as my wife and I just expanded our insurance to now include umbrella coverage).

    My wife and I were diagnosed with “unexplained fertility” after 3 years of trying and 5 miscarriages including 2 etopic pregnancies. After going through the exact same analysis this post goes through in terms of the costs, successful rates, potential regrets, etc. we decided adoption was going to be our path (in lieu of IVF, surrogacy, etc.) and began the long, invasive road at a local adoption agency. We decided this path since for us, getting pregnant didn’t seem to be the issue – it was more keeping the pregnancy past 3 months. By the way, not knowing WHY we could keep a pregnancy as it was “unexplained” was very difficult and in some ways more difficult than knowing what was wrong but that is another story for another day.

    We were fortunate to have another couple go through the adoption process with us although they went with a bigger agency that did a lot more marketing. It was reassuring to share experiences and feelings with friends who ‘understood’ and walked a mile in your shoes as it’s tough to accept that others with kids ‘get it’ or understand how you feel. We had high hopes going into our adoption plan (US domestic adoption) but as the months wore on and our agency showed no progress, we began to feel discouraged.

    Our friends who were also adopting joined their agency a year after we joined ours and were shown multiple times to birth moms and were selected shortly thereafter (approximately 8 month wait for them). The birth mom was due in 3 months. They got ready and prepared, met the birth mom and dad and everything was going well. On the way to the hospital to pick up their new baby boy, they received a phone call from their adoption agency that everyone who has ever adopted fears. The birth mom was no longer going to put the baby up for adoption. The reason – the birth father’s MOM was forcing her to raise ‘her’ child despite her not wanting to and recognizing she did not want to (she was young 22 years old). The birth father didn’t want anything to do with the baby and had other babies with other women and the whole situation was just a complete mess.

    We were discouraged by this news and with no communication from our agency, the hope of raising a child became less and less. We met up for dinner with our friends to discuss what happened in September. Almost one year to the day that our friends joined their adoption agency, they were done.

    On that Monday, they had an appointment scheduled with their agency to remove themselves from the waiting family list. They received a call on Saturday night for an emergency placement. By Sunday afternoon, they drove home from the hospital with a beautiful and healthy baby boy! This was an amazing turnaround for them and we were both very excited that it worked out well for them in the end.

    As for my wife and I, we are expecting a baby girl in early June this year and are overjoyed ourselves! (what happens in Vegas, doesn’t always stay in Vegas! ).

    When you are diagnosed with infertility as we were, one of the go-to things people say is “so and so was diagnosed with infertility and they still had a baby……” or “you’ll see, as soon as you start the adoption process, you will get pregnant……”. And these words hurt – a lot because it makes you feel even more isolated as even the infertile couples out there cannot relate to you since they were able to have a kid and you can not. The best thing to remember is almost everyone says those things coming from a good place in their heart.

    The bottom line I would like to share is infertility, medical treatments, adoption, etc. are all very invasive, time-consuming, expensive, life experiences that are very difficult because, like in investing, there are no guarantees of results. The two most personal examples I shared in this comment are living proof that it ain’t easy and I applaud Melissa in this post for putting into words what more and more of us waiting to have kids are experiencing and thinking about everyday. Thanks!

    1. Wow thank you so much for sharing your story. It brought tears to my eyes because there is SO much in your comment that I can relate to and feel in my heart. The “unexplained” factor is so incredibly hard. And wow what a rollercoaster ride for both you and your friends. The struggles of adoption are definitely in my mind and I know it will be just as hard as trying to have a baby on our own but in many different ways. Hearing that your friends got a call two days before they were ready to take their names off the list is truly a miracle. And I am so thrilled to hear that you are expecting a baby this June. I wish you all the best and hope everything works out okay. Hearing stories like yours about adoption gives me hope that we can keep that door open in our future.

  37. I wish you the best of luck. I’ve not been in your position so I don’t feel I can offer much in advice or anything. I will say, for the “Lots of Shots” part, when my sister had cancer and was going through chemo, she needed shots in the tummy at home 1-2x per day. She couldn’t do it (I wouldn’t be able to give shots to myself, either), but at the time I was working as a vet tech and was getting comfortable giving shots in general, so I was able to successfully do it for her so we didn’t have to run to the clinic each and every day. The doctor was fine with someone at home doing the shots after they taught me what I needed to know and I ended up not causing my sister any pain over the year (it took me a few attempts before I was not totally panicked by any bruising or bleeding I caused: “Jamie, it looks bad but it doesn’t hurt” helped at these times). So if you have someone nearby that you really trust who might be comfortable giving you the shots instead of you doing it yourself, that is always an option.

    1. Thanks for sharing your personal experience with helping your sister with her shots! I didn’t realize that chemo involved shots like that, wow. I guess there are many people with conditions like diabetes that require daily shots for the rest of their lives and cancer that requires shots during such a difficult time with chemo. So that does make the shots part of IVF not seem that bad even though it still is mentally difficult to inject yourself. That was very generous and kind of you to help your sister with her medications when she really needed your help. Thanks Jamie!

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