It’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement of picking a donor and getting her scheduled. Riding the emotional roller coaster of donor selection and the are we– or aren’t we– of reserving her and establishing the retrieval made it easy to forget about all the other details.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve addressed a variety of these details. We’ve made two separate payments to a national pharmacy for our donor’s medications. My husband and I both signed pages and pages of documents assuring that we understand the process (yep–been here, done this), consenting to the transfer (obviously), and acknowledging the many possible negative outcomes of IVF treatments (sure–damage, maiming, death). We also signed a second set of documents authorizing genetic testing of the embryos (and, again, acknowledging the limitations and possible negative effects of such testing). We also signed yet more documents agreeing to the use of donor eggs (this time notarized and mailed), and I signed a financial agreement outlining the very many charges and fees of the process.
Even after all of the agreeing, consenting, and acknowledging, today was another detail day.
I started the morning with a call to our clinic’s business office for billing information. I knew that full payment would be expected prior to our donor beginning her stimulation medications (which should be very soon) and that failure to pay in time would result in a cancelled cycle. Since I hadn’t received a statement (because of all the signing, I had been checking my email frequently), I called. The woman in the business office said they had sent the billing information through the portal on July 26. Somehow, I’d missed it (but I never did see the email notification about the message). She emailed me the information again.
The original statement was sent 7/26. The payment is due 8/3. If paying by check, the check must be mailed a week before it’s due (which was 7/27—really, clinic? one day to get this in the mail, really?) or overnighted. This resulted in a frantic transfer of money from one bank account to another, the writing of two hyper-ventilation-inducing checks, and an emergency, hour-long trip (one way) to town to overnight the payment (to the tune of another almost $25).
I also sent a message to our nurse to determine the tests I needed before our transfer as it has nearly been a year since the last tests. In August I’ll have to “re-up” my pap and physical and in September, my TSH, T4, and antibody screening. When I come up for the transfer, I’ll also have to have the entire battery of “communicables” (STDs) tests run, again so will my husband when he goes up at the retrieval. (Note: none of this is included in the package cost of the donor cycle.)
I followed up that message with a call to my local doctor to schedule the pap and physical appointment for late August (for my insurance to cover the exam and accompanying labs, the last test has to be at least a year old). I also asked our nurse to send the physical form (again–this is physical number three? four?). While, in theory, any general practitioner should know how to do a physical, the first time I had one done for our clinic, the doctor didn’t write good enough notes about all required areas, so I had to pay for a second physical with a different doctor.
I also got a better timeline from our nurse. We can draw up my transfer calendar on the first cycle day 1 after the embryos are sent for testing (which should be early September).
Remember, the eggs will be retrieved and fertilized sometime around August 16-22. Five to six days later, the embryos will have reached the blastocyst stage, and DNA will be extracted for testing and the embryos frozen. Testing can take up to several weeks.
Starting the calendar in September could cut several weeks from the timeline, with our transfer happening perhaps as early as October (instead of November-December). So while I run myself crazy trying to keep up with all details, our timeline grows shorter.