from where I sit

I have been meaning to write a post about privilege for some time, because I feel very lucky in this process, and must also recognize how much of that luck is actually privilege.

At my third ultrasound at the clinic, when checking out, the receptionist poked some buttons and then cheerily said “that’ll be $305”, at which I blanched and said “umm… no… I have insurance?”, fearing that this was in fact the new rate, and I was in for a rude shock.  She poked a few more buttons and said “oh, yes, I see, that’ll be $56.60”.

This cycle cost us $422 including drugs, and that includes four ultrasounds because of my cyst and poky ovaries requiring a few more views.

I don’t know the cost of uninsured letrozole or progesterone, but allowing for that estimate, a non-insured cycle of this kind would have cost $2009, which is approximately my entire disposable income per month after taxes and rent.  That would become unfeasible relatively quickly, even with Pea’s golden job carrying most of the financial weight.

I do have insurance though, and in this country, that is a privilege.  Never mind that I believe it should be a right, and that I am used to it being a right: here it isn’t, and I am lucky to have the support that I do.  We also can afford my insured rate for this treatment. This is an added layer of privilege (and if we couldn’t, Pea’s insurance would allow us to switch clinics and get it for free.  Layers on layers, here).

I’m also a highly educated scientist, which I sincerely believe has let me navigate this system with greater ease (even when pulling my hair out), and interpret the diagnoses and information with understanding and context.  This is also a privilege: to not be confused by medical terms, to be an active participant in my care, to be able to weigh risks and options clinically as well as emotionally.  I’m not saying you have to be a highly educated scientist to understand fertility treatments, but having taken several courses on human pathology, and inhabiting a world of latin names and laboratory tests and experiments daily does not hurt.

I am infertile, and that is a challenge and a source of unhappiness.  I am a very privileged infertile though, and I try hard to keep that perspective in view.


One thought on “from where I sit

  1. Turia

    True, true, and true. I will never forget the woman in my clinic, hooked up to what was obviously an intralipid IV, saying to her clinic friend, “Yeah, I’m not sure what this is? Maybe Lupron?” It just blew my mind that you could be invested in a multi-thousand dollar process and yet have absolutely no idea what was going on.

    I am lucky I have you to read the scientific literature for me!


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