What are the signs and symptoms? Often there are no signs or symptoms associated with an infertility problem. Listening to your body and getting regular checkups will help to detect a problem. Early detection and treatment of a problem are often critical in achieving successful pregnancy outcomes later.
If you are dealing with infertility, you know exactly what I'm talking about in the title of this blog. For those not dealing with infertility I'll fill you in. The cost is much deeper than your pockets.
The mental strain is, at times, insurmountable. I've spoken in previous blogs about the depression that comes with the territory and is only exacerbated by the side effects of fertility meds. Most of the time you feel like you may lose your mind at any given moment. You have moments where you just wait for someone to say the one thing that will bring you to tears and you are powerless to control their flow. You may lose friends or at least relationships may suffer as you retreat inside your personal pain. You distance yourself from your friends or even family as they all become pregnant and start families of their own. You don't want your jealousy to become so evident that you can't even begin to camouflage it. You can't just call someone up on a Friday night to hang out because your friends need to find a sitter. You may find that it's your friends who distance themselves because they are afraid they may say or do something to upset you, or maybe they're just sick of hearing about your fertility woes. They may be offended when you can't come to their baby shower. You no longer "fit in" with your friends because the conversations are all about what their kids are doing and you feel you have nothing to contribute.
Your relationship with your spouse may suffer. Your sex life becomes regimented, timed, and even awkward. Intimacy with your partner, the person who is supposed to share the burden with you, should never be awkward.
Infertility can cost your self esteem. You lose confidence in yourself as your body continues to fail every cycle. You may have a condition that causes obvious changes to your body. You may have a weight problem, which comes with it's own disgrace. You may have a hormonal imbalance that causes facial hair, acne, skin tags, skin discolorations. You struggle with your physical appearance daily until you just say "screw it. this is as good as it gets".
And of course, there is the financial cost. Intra-Uterine Inseminations can cost between $300-$700 per cycle. In-vitro fertilization can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $17,000 per cycle. Consider that some couples need at least 3 IVF cycles before achieving success. Usually office visits are not covered by insurance and often neither are the medications, or ultrasounds or anything else that may even remotely be "fertility" related. Then there's all of the ovulation predictor kits and all of the pregnancy tests because you know you cant just pee on one stick. You gotta use all of them in the box because "that one might be defective" or "maybe it's just too early", or "wait! is that two lines or just one?" Couples are often left with a loan to pay off, maxed out credit cards, and sometimes still are left childless and heartbroken. The heartache that you must endure feels unbearable most days. You know the commercials that say "Depression Hurts"? Well so does infertility. Like I said, the cost of infertility goes way deeper that just your pocket book.