Financing Infertility: "Hey, Buddy, Can You Spare $10,000?" (Wednesday)

(Start with Tuesday if you can. I was brilliant on Tuesday) So what were we talking about? Oh right. How the cost of infertility treatments singlehandedly flushed us straight out of the middle class and into the East River. I had swimmer’s ear for weeks.

We bypassed “lower middle class” altogether. And the only thing I remember about the poverty line is that I cut my face on it on the way into the dumper.

Twice a month, we stood helplessly in the middle of a painful transaction:  Our automatic payroll money getting direct deposited into the fertility center. Our excitement as the first and the fifteenth approached was always short-lived. “Here it comes! And there it goes.” 

No sound brings me inner tranquility more than the “whoosh” of the bank drive-thru cylinder sucking a nice crisp cheque out of my car window and into my account. For months upon months I had no “whoosh” in my life unless you count the haunting echo of us floundering in the toilet.  

The sound of the clinic siphoning out my pay while it was still warm, was more like a blood-curdling scream than a gentle “whoosh”.  Something like Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

It seemed like the cost of everything even remotely related to the fertility treatments was so far up the stratosphere, I couldn’t make sense out of any of it.

“Well, one round of IUI is $4000. And the medications will be $2700. And the free consultation is $86.50 and if you don’t want to walk down the 16 flights of stairs, the complimentary elevator ride is $10 and the coffee in the waiting room is $3 and the cup is $2  (Buffet charge…No sharing please.)

Luckily they gave away free syringes at the  local pharmacy to ensure that IV drug users and IVF drug users didn't share needles (with each other or any combination thereof.) 

We constantly felt like tourists trapped in the trappiest of tourist traps. “Oh, IVF, beautiful beautiful. Last cycle I have left. Normally $200. For you $80,000.” 

Each round of IVF cost like 6 gigabyte pesos or something. I think altogether we were billed for the equivalent of five million American, seven thousand Canadian and a zillion Australian dollars. And, even though I was born, raised and inseminated in the US, I remember one IUI cycle had to be paid in yen, another by traveler’s cheque, and yet a third by 401K. (I rolled it over from my account into theirs).

I paid for some procedures using yellow monopoly money, and others in a combination of Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese UPC codes and Delta airlines frequent flyer miles.

I wasn’t overly concerned. I figured that at some point Ashton Kutcher would jump out from under the cashier’s desk, say we were being Punk’d and hand us back the nine katrillion rubles we had overpaid.

My favorite payment story (and there are so many) is when I handed the fertility clinic cashier a personal cheque and she asked to see my driver’s license. You have photos of my uterus and a sample of my husband’s sperm on file. How much more ID do you need? 

I never realized that in some circles, the DMV was considered more reliable than DNA.

I don’t remember any DMV experts testifying at the OJ Simpson trial. Do you?

Listen, I gotta go. I’m going to a pool party this weekend and I have to lose two bathing suit sizes. I’ll talk with ya tomorrow.