Another Rejection in Infertility
Man alive, it’s been a rough couple of weeks. In March, we were given hope that our insurance company might change their minds and give us the opportunity to do IVF. Since then, everyone’s been asking for an update and we’ve been like, Join the club!
During the surprise call from our fertility doctor, we were given some instructions for how we could move forward while we waited to hear back. First, Jk would need to do another sperm test to prove that the first one wasn’t a spoof. He would then need to meet with a urologist, or male fertility doctor, to analyze the results. Our fertility doctor and the urologist would work together to appeal the rejection from our insurance company.
So over the weeks, we spent way too much time in doctor’s offices. I met with a female reproductive doctor for an exam to be sure that if we got approved, my body would be good to go. That visit led to more blood tests (always), but eventually I got the thumbs up.
Jk went alone to a few more tests and then together we met with the male reproductive doctor. We learned that Jk’s results consistently indicated abnormal sperm morphology (or shape) and suuuper low sperm count. Translation: having an abnormal shape could prevent his sperm from ever reaching my eggs; with the slim chance that they ever did make it there, low sperm count would decrease the odds of the eggs getting fertilized. Basically, our odds of getting pregnant naturally are *thumbs down*.
Ultimately, the doctors believed that Jk’s tests results would provide a very compelling argument to our insurance company that we should qualify for IVF. We waited, waited, and waited some more. We heard nothing. I knew eventually we would get results, but my patience grew thin. When I reached my breaking point, we called and asked for an update. We were told that our insurance company had ONE employee in charge of making the fertility decisions and she was out of town. Hope you had fun in Cabo, Carol!
Finally, on a Monday morning while I was working, I missed several calls from the fertility doctor. I knew he was calling with results. All at once, I felt hopeful and nervous and terrified. I just wanted an answer, no matter what the results were. However, I was working alone and couldn’t get away from the desk long enough to have a conversation, so I had my husband call the doctor back. A few minutes later, I got a text from Jk: Okay I talked to him. Basically [our insurance] does not take motility into account when considering infertility, which is not in line with other insurance companies. So [our doctor] and the doctor that performs the semen analysis are working together to appeal to change their policy.
Some people say that infertility is an emotional roller coaster—there are highs and there are lows. After this last month, what I’ve come to realize is that the highs are more like less-shallow lows. Even while waiting for good news, I was put through the wringer: physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I was poked and prodded by nurses; worked longer hours to make up for time lost at doctor’s appointments; I endured baby announcements and tolerated comments about how much time we have left. In terms of infertility, my high was a month and a half of waiting and anticipating another low. I’m not saying that I didn’t take time to relax, laugh, or have fun—I definitely did. I spent time with family and friends. I celebrated birthdays and graduations and I felt genuine joy. I guess what I am trying to stress is that enduring infertility isn’t all about that moment when you are guaranteed to have a baby. For me, it’s about the 99%-of-the-time struggle knowing it just isn’t time yet. In the midst of a hundred lows and highs, I am doing my best to not let one aspect of my life cripple me. I am trying to hard to “count it all joy” (James 1:2).