IVF Doctor 2.0

Statistics say those fighting infertility will not have success with their first doctor.  If that makes me a statistic, I’ll take it.

Ryan and I visited the Kaiser IVF clinic in the SF Bay Area this week.  Why Kaiser?  I suppose we were both ready for a more corporate, big business approach to Ryan’s bent-neck sperm.  The first doctor, a small, local office, turned us away because she wasn’t sure IVF would work.   Since then, I’ve read some reviews stating she tends to back out of tricky diagnoses to keep her numbers up, and specifically isn’t well-versed with male factor issues.  Perhaps we just got the wrong doctor the first time? A larger office must naturally have more resources, more institutional knowledge and more cycles under their belt.  For a second opnion, we felt comfortable casting the net wide in the expansive network that is Kaiser Permanente.

The Good News:  We both liked the doctor straight off, he was personable, relatable and easy to talk to.  He told us Male Factor is one of the easier to treat diagnoses in the infertility world.  He said as long as sperm are moving, regardless of shape or morphology, IVF with ICSI usually works just fine with a healthy egg.  I distinctly remember the last doctor saying “They have a bent neck and swim in circles.”  Ryan has 0% motility, but obviously, under the scope, some were moving.  Also – this new doctor doubts whatever is up with Ryan’s swimmers is genetic.  He thinks it was a one-time thing in Ryan’s development along the way.  He also heard out our ethical concerns and shared what couples in the past have done.

The Bad News:  The doctor could not help us immediately, and told us first we need to go have an in-depth appointment with the Kaiser urologist.  Ryan already had a phone appointment with the urologist, but now we have to go in person and let Ryan get the ol’ physical exam and give another sample.  Any chance of moving forward with IVF depends entirely on what the urologist says.  Another downside is this office is a solid TWO HOURS AWAY.  In bay area traffic more like 3 hours.  And should we move forward, there isn’t much I can do to be treated locally, and will have to somehow schedule in regular time off and drive all the way there and all the way back a number of times.  Also, we have insurance through Kaiser, but IVF is not covered.  And during our appointment we learned this would run us $15,000-$17,000 including drugs.

But there is More Good News:  Kaiser apparently has the best of the best Urologists in the nation right here in the bay area, and Ryan likes him.  If anyone can fully understand our scenario, get Ryan to relax and open up and hear out all our questions and concerns, I have faith in this guy.  Also?  We sold our house – for more than expected – and suddenly there is easily $5 or $7 G’s we can set aside for our IVF fund.  If we don’t use it? Bathroom remodel.

That Valiant Efforts post of mine is mocking me.  For so long I’ve felt stagnant, like all my efforts at life just don’t get anywhere.  And suddenly the house sold.  We have positive encouragement from a  fertility doctor.  Ryan booked some cases with a new doctor now that he lost the last one.  I mean, I will move forward with trepidation, as usual, but it kind of looks like the dam is starting to leak and perhaps break away….

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