Insemination · IVF · Pregnancy

The cost of IUI and IVF

Apart from wanting to connect with and update family and friends around the world, the main purpose of this website is to connect with LGBTQ+ families who are trying to conceive, and families who are struggling with infertility. Having gone through both intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) to conceive our little one currently growing in G’s uterus, we know a lot about the process and procedure in Germany. We want to be completely transparent about the process, and more importantly about the costs, because trying to conceive with additional help is expensive! Hopefully this post opens your eyes to our world a little more, and you gain some insight into how much it can cost to conceive a child through IUI and IVF, particularly with no support from the government and health insurance agencies.

Disclaimer: This is our journey, and what you are about to read is what we went through in Berlin, Germany. Other couples in other cities and countries around the world, at different fertility clinics, at home, etc. may go through a similar or completely different process. We hope this post simply helps others to understand what costs might be involved in their process, should they find themselves identifying with two women trying to conceive a baby the unconventional way.

Administration costs: €1800 (plus tax)

We wrongly assumed that the upfront administration costs would cover a lot more than it actually did. We thought the ultrasounds, insemination procedure(s) and use of the equipment were covered in this section, but don’t be fooled by this upfront fee, because it didn’t cover a damn thing. We essentially paid this fee to register with the fertility clinic. It took a huge chunk out of our savings, but without it, we wouldn’t have been able to start the trying to conceive process.

Medical tests: €145.72

These costs were partly covered by our health insurance provider and were necessary before any treatment could begin. They tested for infections, blood type and risk factors, in addition to other important medical type things that I don’t know the translation for!

Sperm and sperm preparation for IUI treatment: €398.65 for the first three tries, and €410.55 for the following four tries. A total of €2838.15 was spent on sperm!

Doing the calculations now, I can’t believe we spent this much on sperm. And this was only for the IUI treatment!

Fertility clinic services for IUI treatment: €1982.10 for all seven tries

The cost of the services included each and every ultrasound, phone call, piece of advice given, check-up, vaginal treatment, insemination procedure, test tube used, blood test, acupuncture treatment, and the list goes on. Basically, every time they touch, talk or look at you, you have to pay. This was difficult to get used to at first, because we really couldn’t believe a lot of this wasn’t included in the administration fees, but in the end, it mostly made sense. The staff at our fertility clinic were always wiling to explain each invoice and what each part of the invoice meant.

Medication for IUI treatment: Approximately €355.65

The medication for the IUI treatment included many rounds of the injection that initiates ovulation (Brevactid), and hormone tablets such as progesterone and oestrogen. It’s hard to say exactly how much we spent, as we didn’t keep all the receipts.

Medication for IVF treatment: €619.73

Before the egg retrieval procedure could take place, G had to be injected with a fertility drug every day for 10 days in a row, which then allowed her body to produce more follicles and therefore eggs before ovulation. In addition, to ensure that her body didn’t dispose of those extra eggs, she had to use a nasal spray to counteract the use of the fertility drug. Brevactid was also necessary again, as was the use of hormone tablets.

Anaesthesia for egg retrieval procedure: €294.47

This basically covered the costs of having an anaesthesiologist present and working during G’s egg retrieval procedure.

Sperm for IVF treatment: €410.55

We had to fertilise those eggs somehow!

IVF treatment: €2462.02 for two cycles

The cost of the IVF treatment was steep. It included monitoring of G’s eggs through to fertilisation, follicle treatment, sperm preparation for IVF, acupuncture and the embryo transfers. Again, basically everything was billed to our invoice!

Cryopreservation: €600

After the egg retrieval procedure, we were able to freeze one fertilised egg ready for G’s second cycle should the first one be unsuccessful. This fee covered the cost of freezing that last fertilised egg (which would go on to be our little one currently in G’s uterus) for 6 months.

Sperm reservation for P: €297.50

With G now pregnant, we had to look to the future and reserve the same sperm for when I finally start trying to conceive. We want our children to be biologically related, so in case our sperm donor stops donating sperm, we had to reserve a batch for then.

FINAL TOTAL OF ALL COSTS: Approximately €11,805.89

We could not have afforded this without the support of our wonderful parents. G’s parents lent us money, and my parents paid for part of our holiday to the Philippines. We are so grateful to them.

Hopefully this post has given you some insight into the financial costs of trying to conceive a child in a same-sex family. This is actually the first time we calculated all the costs, and to be honest, it is quite overwhelming to think we spent so much money on this process. It wasn’t easy, and we did have struggles along the way, but we were both determined and stubborn as hell. We were not willing to give up on starting a family.

Thank you for all your love and support.

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Pregnancy · Week by Week Update

Week 20 update

At the end of 20 weeks, our little one is really starting to move around in “G’s” uterus. Visiting our gynaecologist for our monthly check-up, buying more clothes, and generally feeling flutters of the baby moving, were some of the sweet highlights for this week.

This week, our baby is as big as a banana.

Banana
Photo credit

Symptoms: Tired would be an understatement, vivid dreaming, frequent visits to the toilet, hunger.

This week was generally a good week in terms of pregnancy symptoms. Nothing out of the ordinary occurred, and apart from “G” being extremely tired, things went well. Having said that, she often felt like she could take a nap after lunch and after meals in general! Speaking of eating, her appetite was more than healthy this week! I am often the one to pack work lunches for us, and “G” often has to buy a second lunch from the cafeteria because my packed lunch isn’t enough!

At our monthly gynaecologist appointment this week, we saw our baby once again! It was so exciting, because we could really see him or her moving around! His or her tiny feet (which are currently about 3cm long) were kicking about. We desperately want to know the gender of our little one, as we want to refer to them as him or her, or he or she. Our gynaecologist thinks it’s a girl, but she’s not 100% sure yet, so we are hoping to get confirmation of the gender at our anatomy ultrasound (Feindiagnostik in German) at the beginning of 22 weeks.

We could no longer see our little one as a whole on the screen as growth is rapid now and he or she simply doesn’t fit.

After a really good week, we’re on the downhill stretch as we pass the halfway mark and look towards the second half of this pregnancy.

LGBTQ+ stuff · Pregnancy

Last names and adoption

With “G” 20 weeks pregnant, a million things are running through our minds. We have so many things to sort out before the birth of our little one in August, and it feels like time is just flying. We’re slowly buying things and preparing things around the house, but our to-do list just keeps growing bigger and bigger every day.

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Our marriage certificate is concealed in this super subtle book.

During all of this, a few things have popped up that make us feel uneasy. We feel discriminated against as a two-mum family. I don’t even know if that really is how we feel, because discrimination is too strong of a word here, but we certainly feel like we’re being treated unfairly in this situation. Even though we are married (technically it’s a civil union or a Lebenspartnerschaft in German), and pay taxes as a married couple, currently, “G” is the only legal parent of our baby. I currently have no legal rights when it comes to the little one growing in “G’s” uterus, and this infuriates us!

Once our baby is born, then the process of adoption can start. Yes, you read correctly, I have to adopt “G’s” baby. What’s even more degrading, is that it’s not even a simple adoption… it’s called a step-child only adoption. If you’re interested, you can read about LGBT rights in Germany here and here. Additionally, there is more information on how gay adoption is strengthening in Germany in a DW article here, however our opinion is that Germany is still far from providing equal rights to all.

After “G” gives birth, we have to go to the Jugendamt (Youth Welfare Office)  in our local area in Berlin, and apply for adoption. It sounds simple, but it is much more complex than this, and involves a notary, a written letter from “G” about her childhood, home visits, phone calls to “G’s” parents, and much more. This process could potentially take up to a year before I am the legal parent.

At the end of the day, we want what is best for our child, and this isn’t about personal gains or pride in any way. We want our child (and future children) to feel secure in their family, and know that if something were to happen to one of us, that they will be protected.

If this wasn’t enough for us take, we recently re-discovered that Germany isn’t a fan of double-barrelled names. When we got married in February 2015, we weren’t able to change our last names to a double-barrelled name because Germany wouldn’t allow it. It was a recent change in the law that couldn’t really be explained to us by the Standesamt (Registry Office). The woman who collected our paperwork said it was because they didn’t want children with double-barrelled names to grow up and marry someone with a double-barrelled name, and then just end up with a double-double-barrelled name. Who the hell cares?! What we could do though, was add my last name onto the beginning of “G’s” last name to create a double-barrelled name, but my last name had to stay the same. We agreed to this, because it is possible for me to change my last name in Australia, and it is simply not possible to change last names here in Germany. Again, I don’t know why this is the case.

Anyway, enough back story, it’s confusing. Basically, the reason I’m telling you all of this is because when our baby is born in August, he or she cannot have a double barrelled name. When we re-discovered this, our hearts sank. We wanted our children to have the same names as us.

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Until Brexit officially happens, this UK passport still means something here in the EU.

Upon doing some further research and speaking with colleagues at work, there was a glimmer of hope. If one of the parents is a national from another country, the parents can choose to use the laws of said country. As I am a dual citizen of Australia and the United Kingdom, we had two countries up our sleeves with laws that allowed double-barrelled names. I recently legally changed my last-name in Australia to ensure that we all had the same last name. “Horray”, you might think. “Congratulations!” But unfortunately, the story doesn’t have a happy ending (just yet we hope). You know that whole business of me not being the legal parent until the adoption goes through after the birth of our child? Yes, you’ve probably put two and two together… it’s going to have an impact on us being able to use the Australian or UK laws for our children… at least here in Germany.

This post seems ranty, and upon reflection, I can see that it is. We genuinely don’t know what to do though. We’re hoping to reach out to others in similar situations to us, and others who know more about this. We all know that members of the LGBTQ+ community face discrimination on a daily basis, but this journey to parenthood has certainly opened our eyes to some of the administrative struggles that same-sex parents have to face to simply get on par. It is still so apparent that equality is far, far, far away from being achieved.

Pregnancy · Week by Week Update

Week 19 update

Today marks the end of 19 weeks. “G” is blossoming whilst carrying our baby, although there have been moments of exhaustion, and emotional outbursts.

This week, our baby is as big as a mango.

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Photo credit

Symptoms: Tired, tired, tired, nosebleeds, dizziness, trouble sleeping and heavy legs in bed, quick bursts of muscle pain in the lower stomach area.

Once again, “G” is finding it difficult to sleep at night. She is now exclusively sleeping on her side, and this isn’t the most comfortable position. She often wakes up in pain or lying on her back and having to consciously roll over onto her side again. Our very good friend (you know who you are) has been so kind and offered to buy “G” a pregnancy pillow (Stillkissen in German), so my wife is looking forward to testing it out soon. This lack of sleep in the evenings doesn’t help her during the working week though, as she is almost always tired after lunch.

Additionally, “G” has noticed a stretching pain in her lower stomach area. These short bursts of pain are her body’s way of telling her that it is preparing for more growth in her uterus. All of her organs, ligaments, muscles and bones are moving, and this movement is causing some discomfort.

We had a midwife appointment on Tuesday, and we heard our baby’s heartbeat again. It was so nice and comforting to know our little one is still safe and sound in “G’s” uterus.

 

Pregnancy · Week by Week Update

Week 18 update

“G” is now 18 weeks pregnant, and boy is she starting to show. Her bump is beginning to expand, and this week I even noticed it through her clothes! Maybe a photo will pop up soon.

This week, our baby is as big as a sweet potato.

sweet-potato
Photo credit

Symptoms: Backaches, nosebleeds, trouble breathing through the nose, and trouble sleeping.

“G” has found little rest during the nights. She is finding it difficult to find a comfortable position and shouldn’t be sleeping on her back anymore. This is due to the increasing size of our little one compressing large veins that reduce the flow of blood to her heart. Our cats don’t always help the situation, and we’ll soon have to say goodbye to them sleeping in our bedroom, but for now, “G” isn’t annoyed enough to kick them out just yet. In addition to the sleepless nights, she is starting to complain of back pain, but who can blame her? She is carrying additional weight at the front of her body that she simply isn’t used to.

This week, “G” has started to feel something in her uterus. She describes it as feeling something tender going on, but finds it hard to explain. At our last appointment, our gynocologist said to expect movements this month, so “G” has been paying close attention to any unusual feelings in and around her belly area.

Our next midwife appointment is coming up next week, and we’re very excited to hear our baby’s heartbeat again!