Infertility, Our Infertility story, Surrogacy

One door opens, another slams in your face

January 29, 2012

Good news: Another woman has come forward and volunteered to be our surrogate and it looks like it’s serious this time.  (Three other situations have fallen through.)
Bad news: She has ridiculously terrible insurance and basically the whole 9 months and delivery wouldn’t be covered.  This means we can’t afford it.

After all this time, this is getting old.  Just when something amazing happens, it just as quickly does a 180. I don’t want to give up, but how do you know when enough is enough?  When is it giving up vs. letting something take over your life?  I’m so frustrated and so confused.  How do I know what is the right thing to do?

Surrogacy seemed impossible way back when, when my doctor first mentioned it.  Impossible and also crazy, as in we didn’t need to do that, to go to that extreme.  That’s only something you hear about in the movies. But, at one point, IUI and IVF seemed extreme and hopefully unnecessary, too.  Fast forward six years and surrogacy became our last option for a biological child.  Sure, some part of us wanted to pursue surrogacy, but we just had one little problem — no surrogate!

So, we started pursuing adoption.  Then, lo and behold, someone told me that a very close mutual friend was considering being a surrogate for us.  We were shocked and humbled, and started delving into researching how all of this would work.  WOW! Let’s just say it’s complicated.   So, we got derailed from our adoption path as started thinking about surrogacy.  In the end, it did not work out for complicated reasons, but we still are grateful and happy that our friend even considered it.

We got serious about adoption again.  I created a Facebook page and a website. I finalized my home study research and picked an agency and I started working very diligently on the home study.

We had our first home study visit scheduled for mid-January.  But, right before Christmas, another woman volunteered to be our surrogate.  It came totally out of the blue and we were again shocked and amazed.  She seemed pretty serious about it and so we started once again researching everything.  We also made the decision to postpone our home study meeting because we don’t need a home study for surrogacy and we knew if we went the surrogacy route, then we’d need every penny for that.

We met with the surrogate, I found an attorney, talked to my doctor, found a counselor…

Then, things came to grinding halt when we got the details for the surrogate’s insurance.  She called and they do not exclude surrogacy, but it’s a moot point because her insurance can hardly be called insurance at all with its $10,000 deductible! Yes, $10,000!  My heart sank.  With no prenatal and delivery coverage, adding $10,000 to the already high price tag to do this is just not possible for us.

So, I wanted to find out just exactly what would all of the prenatal and delivery costs be.  I called the major hospital in our area and they were the biggest bunch of no-good, helpless, uncaring, inept people I’ve ever talked to.  No surprise there.  Nobody could give me an estimate or even an idea of how to go about getting one. After 6 phone calls to various offices, I was getting nowhere fast and just in tears with frustration.  I called the other hospital and my doctor and they were able to swiftly and efficiently help me.   But it wasn’t good news.

They estimated approximately $15,000 for all of the prenatal care.  Since she has a $10,000 deductible, we know we’d pay at least that much and probably more.  I asked about uninsured and the total was $6500.  I could not believe it — what a huge discount.  Then, I said, “Can I choose to be self-pay and just not use insurance at all?”  They said no, that would be insurance fraud!  That’s insurance fraud? I think not…I think insurance fraud is providing a completely useless policy to someone that makes everything more expensive.  I think insurance fraud is charging 1/3 the price to one person and full price to someone else. So, we literally would be better off if our surrogate had NO insurance.  That is the state of our healthcare system!  It infuriates me.

So, I thought, forget about her insurance.  MY insurance is the one who needs to be paying for this.  After all, it’s my baby, not hers.  I just want to use my benefit that everyone else gets to use.  My benefit that I pay for.  I read my policy and it did not mention, nor exclude the situation of surrogacy.  But, I called and they said no.  They couldn’t give me a good reason why not, plus this is some drone on the call floor.  I am now in the process of writing my letter to my insurance to ask for authorization.  I have spoken to an insurance consultant and she thinks I need to get the support of local Senators and/or Congressmen to have a better chance.  So, that’s what I’m doing.  Some days, I feel ready for a fight and to take this as far as I can and I think, they better watch out, they are messing with a very passionate infertility advocate.  Other days, I feel so tired of fighting.  I’ve been fighting and clawing my way through this for years and it’s exhausting.

So, I plan to fight this, but I don’t know if that helps our situation right now.  Who knows how long that could take? Do we ride this out and see what happens or do we get back to our adoption plans?  We will soon have enough money to use a local adoption agency, BUT only if we withdraw ourselves from our IVF program and get our refund.  Once we do that, there’s no going back and no chance at surrogacy ever because it would then be even more expensive and just not possible.

We don’t know what to do and feel in limbo yet again.  So, if it wasn’t going to work out, why was this surrogate put in our path?  Why did we have to get our hopes up?  Why did we have to get sidetracked from our adoption plans?

We just don’t know what we should do and could really use prayers for guidance and wisdom.

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P.S. I started a Facebook page for myself and for this blog and where I intent to discuss infertility issues, etc.  Please join me!  I would love to chat and connect with you all on Facebook.

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  • jaclyn

    I’m so sorry about this! Would your insurance cover the birth fee if you adopted or do you have to pay for that out of pocket too?

    Best of luck to you.

  • jaclyn

    Oh, and please don’t take my previous comment as to mean you should pursue adoption instead of a surrogate – that’s a deeply personal decision and you should choose what is best for your family. I just literally don’t know anything about the finances and was curious about if insurance helps with adoption costs.

    • Whitney

      Thanks, Jaclyn. No, insurance would not cover anything to do with an adoption. Depending on the agency, situation, and birth mother’s insurance, we may have to pay her medical expenses.

  • What a struggle. I really hope that something somehow works out for you. The truth is you get an A+ for all your efforts. Some door, somewhere, somehow just has to open.

  • This is tough. I don’t think anyone can make this decision for you, or even help you make it. It’s going to be about what you feel in your heart is the right decision for you and Erick. I know for Joey and I it was a matter of money, time, and guarantee for us to choose adoption over IVF. We only had enough saved to try one and we wanted a baby as soon as possible, so if IVF failed, we would have had to wait several years in order to save the money to try and adopt. We also knew that if we stuck with adoption, there would be a 100% guarantee we would have a baby. It was almost a matter of making a pros/cons sheet and looking at it from a completely non-emotional and analytical perspective, if that makes sense.

    Sending you both lots of peace as you make this decision. Either way, I’m excited for whatever option you choose and I’ll be here supporting you 100%.

  • I’m so sorry…what an impossibly difficult situation. Sending prayers that you feel led in the right direction.

  • I have read in other blogs that surrogate agencies tell you NOT to ask your insurance agency specifically if they cover surrogacy or not. Because they will always make every effort to deny you.
    even if they don’t have any such policy on the books.

    perhaps some think that’s insurance fraud but I’m in complete agreement with you about what is and isn’t fraud. Our system is so screwed up. Basically, I think Intended Parents should cover the costs of IVF for the surrogate and then it’s just like the surrogate got pregnant on her own.

  • Jess

    I agree with you 100% about the fact you guys wouldn’t be committing insurance fraud… it’s the system that makes this impossible that’s the true fraud here.

    I think, as Katie said, that it’s a positive/ negative balance sheet kind of thing. Since you seem very interested and passionate about the idea of surrogacy, I’d hate to potentially close the door on it forever by removing that money from your IVF plan. Whereas you can adopt for many years, I would guess that your window for surrogacy is smaller. And would be harder to save for…while I am sure it feels terrible to be waiting and having nothing going on, you’ve had “3 bites” in a relatively short amount of time. However, it’s up to you and which way draws you in the most- and which will cause the least regret down the road. Which is highly personal.

    In the meantime, I am sorry that you have to endure these trials and having your hopes brought up only to be dashed….I hope an answer finds you soon…

  • Karen

    To paraphrase from a better mind than mine, brick walls exist to stop those who don’t want something bad enough. I’ve created a map of my path to being motherhood. Like you, my preference is to have a biological child with my husband. For all women, the years wherein that is even possible end, realistically, in the early 40’s. Probably even earlier. So, I’ve only got a couple of years left for it to happen, if it’s going to happen. I’ve taken some time off, even though time is not my friend, after my last miscarriage because I needed a break. If I am not able to have biological children with these last couple of years I have left, I will pursue fostering to adopt ( which honestly I plan to do even if I do somehow manage to carry a pregnancy). You know the uncertainty of all this, for me, it helps to have a “plan”, as much as it’s possible to have a plan when you’re living in a world where your plans never work out!

  • Karen

    Also, I don’t know what your financial situation is, but I read a lot of infertile couples borrow quite a lot of money from a bank or family. The risk,of course, is that you borrow a lot of money and still don’t get what you want. But, most of us are pretty desperate and willing to go pretty far. No one has stepped up in my life to surrogate for me, but if I had to borrow to make it happen, I would. Surrogacy, you probably know, through an agency is $80,000 to $100,000. Whatever the case, I wish you and your husband the best, you have inarguably been through too much already.

  • april

    I ran into a similar problem while trying to be a surrogate for a couple last year. I lost my insurance (which was crap insurance anyway) while we were in the process leading up to the transfer. We looked into just buying an individual policy for me. Most insurance companies do not even have maternity coverage like that but blue cross blue shield has a “rider” ( I believe that’s what it was called) for maternity coverage, that you can add on to your policy. Of course there were lots and lots of different plans to choose from ranging from about $50/month up to a couple hundred, and then the maternity add on was approx $150 (for the one we looked at) but the cost of it changes according to which policy you’re adding it to. You would potentially be looking at 300ish a month but blue cross blue shield is good insurance. With the maternity rider you have to have it for a year before you use it but since most ob’s charge a lump sum fee at the time of delivery that includes the cost of all the prenatal care you would really only need to purchase the policy 3-4 months before becoming pregnant. It’s expensive but still less than the prices you were looking at paying straight out and if it hasn’t changed from when I had it maternity is covered 100% by them (atleast with the policy I had) I paid $100 when it was all said and done when I had my son and that was for an unrelated test I ended up needed while I was pregnant. I agree that you should be able to use your insurance since its your baby but if you can’t make that happen this could maybe be an option for you to look into. Good luck!