Why A Home Birth? It’s All in the Numbers

Freedom of Choice: For those who believe in women’s freedom of choice about pregnancy, it’s time to think about women’s freedom of choice in birth. Though there are more birthing choices are available than ever before (hospital, birth center, midwives, home birth), there are 11 states where it is illegal for a midwife to attend a home birth and everywhere women are still regularly pressured into birthing in the hospital by partners, mothers, friends who do not trust that a woman can make the right individual choice for her body and her baby. Though a mother might feel more comfortable and in control at home, the prevailing ignorant thought is that if you don’t birth at a hospital, you are a bad mother putting your child at risk for the sake of your own comfort and preferences.

Health Benefits:
The medical community has a lot to say about why a hospital birth is safer but they have not officially published any comparative studies as to why it might be safer. Hospital birth is definitely safer for mothers who have had before-birth pregnancy complications and are considered High-Risk. However, there is no known added risk of birth complication if a normal low-risk mother births at home, and in fact many studies show that the risks decrease at home. Read the rest of this entry »

Penny-Pinching Pregnancy: Saying No To Expensive Tests

We didn’t have much cash to start with, but we just couldn’t wait. And then it happened on the first try.

I’m 6 weeks pregnant but I didn’t get a blood test to confirm our pregnancy. Two weeks worth of intuition and symptoms, two pee-sticks and a missed period were enough for me. I don’t have a problem with needles, I just have a problem with unessesary tests- even if they only cost a $20 co-pay. The co-pays add up fast. Some of our friends and family won’t believe it yet because “you need a doctor to tell you.” How I feel about what doctors know and don’t know is a different post entirely.

All of my intense symptoms, rapid weight gain and our knowing that I released both one egg before our insemination and one egg from the other ovary right after means we could be having twins. I’d like to know right away, but our portion of the intra-vaginal ultrasound which could tell us right now would be about $60 ($300 if we had no insurance). We’re not totally broke, I’m just totally cheap. So I decided to only have an affordable test to check the HgC hormone in my blood. Only if it’s high will be go for the ultrasound.

I’d really like it if we can keep the ultrasounds down to two throughout the pregnancy- one at 20 weeks to find out the sex and to check that everything is great and possibly one 1 or 2 weeks before our due date to check on the baby’s position, etc. With a midwife feeling my belly weekly at that point, that one may not be needed. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Is Donor Sperm So Expensive?

In my last post, I lamented the fact that my wife and I are temporarily postponing starting our family due to the recession and the cost of sperm. If you have romantic ideas about buying sperm from a lovely bank and getting knocked up, you may not want to read on for fear of bursting your bubble.

The industry is one of zero regulation and very little competition. When it comes to big, emotional life-dreams, they could probably charge anything they wanted. It’s really hard to put a price on a baby, on life itself. While I’m livid that a little vial of the stuff we need is $500 a pop- we would likely even save up and buy sperm if it was $1000 a pop.

Supply and demand doesn’t factor in on this one in the usual way. There isn’t actually a lack of donors. There is, however, a lack of healthy, motile sperm that can survive a freeze. And there are even less donors that have viable pregnancies reported using their sperm. When you’ve found a donor that has the physical, mental and emotional attributes that you’re looking for, and you know his sperm works- you get attached and you’re probably willing to pay anything. That’s when you have your “If These Walls Could Talk Two” moment like Ellen DeGeneres and Sharon Stone and you’re crying “If only you and I could make a baby on our own! Why don’t you make sperm, Goddamn-it?”

It is not uncommon for the sperm shops to make only “washed” (tinkered with and sometimes twice as expensive) sperm available when it’s coming from a donor with known pregnancies. We would be buying unwashed sperm right now and doing with our midwife or at home if it was only available- but this is how the industry takes the most money it can from us. Whoever owns California Cryobank is making a killing. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy ending to Fertility & Finances category

Multiple fertility treatments: $15,600

Sperm donor and other fees: $5,000

Three IVF procedures: $34,400

Deciding to Adopt: $30,000

Becoming a parent: Priceless

Since many of you followed our story (fertility and finances) over the last couple of years, I wanted to let readers know that our darling newborn son arrived on Monday. His name is Sam. We’re home now and everyone is healthy, happy and eating every three hours.

Spending $85,000 never felt better.

Photo credit: stock.xchng.

Fending off the Consumer Economy: Expecting a Newborn Baby

“You will always be your child’s favorite toy.” – Vicki Lansky

I had a meltdown last weekend at Babies R Us. We were there doing research on the things needed come December. This is when our baby arrives. We’re adopting (in case you aren’t current with our two year fertility saga) and December is when the birthmother is due.

Friends, neighbors and family members have offered to host three separate baby showers. The sheer enthusiasm about our pending parenthood is quite sweet, but the concept of a baby registry is completely foreign to me. Hence, the trip to Babies R Us to get the lay of the land. And that land, my childless friends, is bizarre.

First of all, 90 percent of this world is composed of plastic (see Jennifer’s post on how to minimize the plastics found in the lives of our young children!). Second, it taps into the consumerist culture that personifies many Americans. Susan Gregory Thomas, the author of Buy, Buy Baby: How Consumer Culture Manipulates Parents and Harms Young Minds expressed some notable things in a Salon.com interview last year including: Read the rest of this entry »

Funds to Form a Family: Adoption process begins. And so does the check writing.

Adopting a newborn“However motherhood comes to you, it’s a miracle.” – Valerie Harper, adoptive parent

There’s a saying that, “Love makes a family.” Money sometimes makes a family on top of all that love. Or at least a deposit of $4,000 begins the process. Technically, it’s labeled a “retainer” and we wrote the check on Saturday morning to a law office in Los Angeles specializing in private adoptions.

We’re buying a baby. Read the rest of this entry »

Stepping Off Infertility Treadmill: Lesbians Consider Adoption

“We go through what we go through to help others go through what we went through.” – Emily Perl Kingsley

Lesbian adoptionJeanine and I found out last week that our third attempt with IVF was unsuccessful. It was painfully hard to hear the news since this try had a certain finality attached to it. We’re out of money. Or at least the money set aside to make a baby. $55,000 later and we still don’t have a baby.

As much as I’ve written and stressed out about the financial part of this journey, our sadness has nothing to do with the money. The money was well spent since we wanted our baby. Technically, it would have been Jeanine’s bio-baby, but I had romanticized the importance of Jeanine’s flesh and blood in our baby. Multiply these feelings 1000 times and you have an idea about the loss she’s mourning at the moment. It’s a heartbreaking time and I’m not sure how long it takes to get over something like this.

Prior to this latest IVF procedure, we planned ahead and signed up for an open adoption seminar this past weekend. Ever since reading Dan Savage’s book, The Kid, I’ve thought open adoption is the way to go when it comes to adoption methods. Jeanine needs more convincing. Read the rest of this entry »

Lesbian baby-making and expense of donor eggs

“Love and eggs are best when they are fresh” – Russian Proverb

Donor eggsYesterday, the FedEx driver and recognizable sistah, dropped off the latest batch of medication flown in from the Freedom Fertility Pharmacy in Byfield, Mass. Tucked inside was a credit card receipt for $2362.59. For many, that’s the equivalent of a house payment or two depending on where you live. For us, this is the first installment of moolah that we’ll layout with another round of IVF.

We’re approaching our third try and having the injections on hand is part of the preparation. After our second attempt didn’t work, Jeanine and I consulted our fertility specialist to regroup on the options and he immediately introduced donor eggs into discussion. Read the rest of this entry »

Lesbians and IVF: Coping with the Cost of Infertility

“The decision to have a child is to accept that your heart will forever walk about outside your body.” — Katherine Hadley

IVFJeanine and I have been trying to make a baby for over eighteen months and this latest round of IVF pushed us passed the $42,000 mark. We learned a couple of weeks ago that the most recent procedure wasn’t successful. We didn’t get pregnant. Negative. Nada. Technically, Jeanine’s levels registered a pregnancy for a couple of days, but she didn’t remain pregnant, so nothing. It’s disappointing.

As each month passes, we’re on the brink of becoming one of those crazy, desperate infertile couples spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the baby. Or not? Jeanine and I tried last week to have a frank discussion about dollar limits. In a weak moment, I was beginning to wig out about the money we are spending and she was still reeling from the emotion of another failed attempt. The experts all warn that financial stresses can intensify the burden of grief and loss. Read the rest of this entry »

Blogging for LGBT Families Day: Making Babies

“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” — George Santayana

BabyToday is the second annual Blogging for LGBT Families Day, where the LGBT community and allies come together in support of our families. Queercents offers a couple of posts on the topic of money & family. Here is mine:

So I haven’t written about our baby-making attempts in awhile. The longer it takes, the harder it gets to talk about it. Emotions aside, it’s costing us a boatload of money. We have been trying for eighteen months and just surpassed the $30,000 mark. Here are the previous posts that mark our journey:

Under our health insurance, neither of us have coverage for fertility treatments. Well, Jeanine had some, but it was minimal — about $2,000 and we blew through that early on. Everything else has been as they say “out-of-pocket” and the pockets set aside for the baby making process are quickly getting depleted. Read the rest of this entry »