How much does it cost to meet with a fertility specialist?
Well, the quick answer is that we blew about $700 in 2 hours yesterday!!! Yikes! That’s a ton of money for 2 frugal people who pay close attention to where every dollar that we make goes. Let me tell you about what it was like exchanging all that money for the elusive information that only medical tests can provide.
Two weeks ago, my wife, Amanda wrote an extremely brave article about what it’s been like struggling with her inability to get pregnant over the last two years. (You can read it here. She also provides an update on her feelings at the end of this post.)
I’ve been doing the best I can to help her get through it, but it hasn’t been easy for either of us. She’s a woman who has powerful emotions about these things. I’m a guy who’s pretty successful compartmentalizing my emotions, and only allowing myself to think about the emotions I can control in life. At times it’s felt like we’re speaking different languages, and fighting different monsters on our own unique adventures. Amanda has eagerly been wanting to be a mother. I’m happy and content with wherever we are in life. I try not to think about what we don’t have. But for my wife, it’s been hard to remain happy when she seemingly can’t have what she really wants.
So after 2 years of trying, we finally decided together that it was ok to do something about it. We both believe it’s better to know the root of the problem you’re dealing with, rather than feel lost and confused because you don’t know what your problem is. So we set an appointment with a fertility specialist that our primary doctor recommended. We wanted to get some insight with what’s going on, rather than fearing the worst and feeling alone and lost in the dark of the unknown.
This is what our first appointment with a fertility specialist was like:
I could tell my wife was nervous and afraid when we walked through the front doors of the clinic. Even though the waiting room was inviting, I could tell she was afraid that she’d be told that she was broken, damaged woman. The receptionist smiled and handed us the insurance forms. Being a money-minded man, I was nervous about the costs I was about to face.
We have a lot of money, because we monitor and evaluate where every dollar of ours goes.
“The consultation will cost $265.” She said, “Unfortunately, insurance often doesn’t pay for infertility appointments.”
Since we only have catastrophic insurance to protect us from being financially wiped out due to medical expenses, I was immediately confronted with the decision: How much is learning the reason why we haven’t been able to get pregnant worth? Was that information worth $265? Was it worth more? I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I wanted to know, but I was afraid of throwing hundreds of my hard-saved dollars into a search for information that may or may not work.
I looked at my wife. I could immediately tell in her face that $260 was chump change to her. Learning more, and understanding more, was worth way more than the stress of feeling alone and confused. So we signed the paperwork, and took a seat in the waiting room.
Ten minutes later were invited inside the clinic to meet the doctor, a woman fertility specialist, in a private office. Amanda said she wanted to learn more. I said I was nervous about the costs involved. The doctor told us fertility is an inexact science and a difficult issue to understand. There is no simple test to take. Fertility is more like solving a complex puzzle that doesn’t have a clear starting point. You just have to start gathering information and putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
“Doctor offices sound and look expensive to me, which makes me feel uncomfortable.” I said. “We’ve been lucky the last five years and haven’t had many medical issues or expenses. I’m a goal-driven man, who likes to buy assets that I can touch, feel, and sell with my money. So I’m a little out of my element here paying a lot of money for information that may or may not solve our problem or help us understand what’s been going on.”
The doctor seemed to understand me, and feel my apprehension. “You’re very right.” She said, “Tests and clinic visits can get expensive quickly. But it’s your life, wallet, and body, and these are decisions you will have to make to do what’s right for you.”
I looked at Amanda. “Our money is your money too. What do you want to do?”
Amanda looked back at me. “I need to know more.” She said. “I can’t keep doing this feeling like I am alone in the dark anymore. We save our money so that we can do important things with it. Investing money to get this information is worth it to me to try to understand why my dream of being a mother isn’t coming true.”
We both looked at the Doctor. My wife asked her, “So what are the next steps?”
The doctor replied, “We have 3 options we can take. One, I always recommend having the man examined. He’s the easiest to identify if there’s a problem with him.” She looked at me, “Would you be willing to do that?”
I shrugged my shoulders, “I don’t care. You can do anything you want to me. But you should know me by now, my biggest fear isn’t a test, it’s how much all of this is going to cost. I don’t want to throw thousands of dollars down a black hole of medical tests searching for answers that we may not find.”
The doctor replied, “I’ve heard a male exam can cost around $200-$300.” (Turns out it was $187)
My wife said, “Ok.” She looked hopeful. At least we were creating a plan, and getting answers. We were no longer at the mercy of worrying and feeling alone. “What else can we do?” She asked.
“We have two more options we can explore.” She said. “One option is that we have an ultra-sound machine on site. We could do an ultra-sound exam on you today to see if there are any internal biological issues going on that I can’t see on the surface.”
“What does that cost?” I asked.
“An ultra-sound is $250.” She said.
I nodded. I know we’ve been lucky with our health over the last 5 years, so it’s been rare we’ve had to pay medical bills. But I’m fully aware that this happens sometimes. Our emergency fund is always full to prepare for moments like this. Things happen. Life isn’t perfect all the time. At any moment, you have to be prepared to fork over money for things that help you stay healthy and sane, even if it doesn’t lead to building wealth.
I looked at my wife. She looked at me. I could tell we were in a position where the information we could receive was worth more than the $700 we were about to spend that day.
Amanda said, “My goal is to leave here knowing more. That information is worth more than money to me.” And so we decided to take the ultrasound test which took about 30 minutes.
The doctor met us in the exam room with the results. She said, “I at least have some good news. At least we now know a reason why you haven’t been getting pregnant even though you’ve been trying. I think there’s a medication can help your situation.” She smiled, and looked at me. “And you’ll be happy to know that the medication is relatively cheap at under $20 for a month’s supply.”
So she wrote us a prescription for the medication which we picked up at Costco for $13. And that’s where we stand right now. We paid $700 in the span about 2 hours, and we didn’t even get any investments, assets, or increased net worth out of it. But we got valuable information that helped us with an issue that we were struggling with. To my wife, that information was worth way more than the money we spent.
We’re not supposed to start the medication for a couple of weeks, but at least we have a plan. We asked for professional help for an issue we were struggling with, and we feel better now that we’ve done it.
In fact, Amanda wrote an update after first baring her soul about her feelings about last week. I’ll let her update you with what she’s learned through this challenging time:
A few weeks ago I wrote an article about an area I was struggling with. But after I did that, it was like a huge, heavy weight was lifted off my shoulders. Once I talked about it, I didn’t feel weighted down by the pain, fear, or frustration anymore.
I know we all carry heavy burdens in our lives. But the longer we hold those burdens in, the more trapped, heavy, and dead we can feel inside. We often are the ones who destroy our ability to connect or relate to the world around us. Rather than choosing a journey to find help, we often decide to disconnect, isolate, and eventually die away from the world.
Choosing to live this way is ugly and it’s a detriment to our future. To get better, we have to release the truth inside of us and share it with people who care about us and can help us. We can’t hold it in forever or it will eat us alive.
Hiding from our problems is almost identical to lying that our problems don’t exist.
We have to love ourselves first, and be willing to share and admit the truths we feel. Trust me, it is scary, but it is a wonderful and freeing feeling. I realize I feel so much lighter after letting go of the burdens I carry inside of myself. Once you’ve finally admitted your truths to yourself, the next step is to share it with someone else so you can let it go. Speak to someone. Invite someone to be your friend. They don’t have to understand what you understand. You just need someone to listen to you. Once you have spoken your truth out loud, that act of sharing will begin to create momentum for your healing.
The lie I believed was that I was a damaged, broken person because I was struggling to get pregnant. That lie crippled me from the inside out. It made me feel alone and detached from the world. The more I kept that lie a secret inside of me, the more the darkness of worry began to smother me. Because I chose to believe this lie, I lost the ability to feel and enjoy the parts of my life that have been going well.
I did this to myself because I was not dealing with my pain. I was hiding from my truth, just hoping it would go away, but instead it slowly destroyed me.
Here is the one big thing I have discovered in the recent struggle I have faced: I am not alone. I am not as lost as I thought I was. I am not the first person to struggle with the challenge I was faced with. You are not alone either.
I have wasted years of opportunities because I hid from my fears, and held worries inside of myself for far too long. I have lived inside an empty shell of my potential because I believed a lie that other people wouldn’t understand me.
Opening myself back up led me to find freedom again. The truth can set anyone free if they are willing to share it with the people who care about them. Thank you for being our people who care about us, and who we can share the ups and downs of our lives with.
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