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I have Satan’s 800 number. It’s 1-800-AETNA.

January 27, 2012

At the end of 2009, we got a call from the egg donor coordinator at CWRC, Alyssa, who wanted to know if there was anything she could do to move the process along for us. We were finally ready to go financially, and I was feeling renewed physically and mentally. But, it was time to call my insurance company, Aetna, again.

My first call had been in July, 2008 to get “pre-certified”  (i.e., to give them a heads-up so they could be prepared to deny my claims), and now it was time to check back in to let them know that treatment was about to begin. Most of the pretesting consists of “routine” diagnostic testing and is covered for anyone, not just someone seeking IVF. But once we matched, the rest of the treatment would need to be approved so that we could get reimbursed for the $7,500 that my company’s plan allowed for one cycle of IVF per lifetime. Having given Aetna more than a year to come up with a good denial was a big mistake, because when I called I was told that although they did cover IVF, they only covered women under age 45. So, the fact that my doctor and my clinic has an amazing success rate in women over 45, and the fact that I had passed all the pretesting and was considered a great candidate for IVF mattered not at all. Not to beat a dead horse, but who is making my medical decisions? Me? My doctor? Nope. Seems like the insurance company knew better. No woman over 45 could EVER get pregnant, so let’s deny it.

I considered going to the director of benefits at my company to complain, but I didn’t want to be in the position of telling my company that I was planning to get pregnant (which would lead to maternity leave). While annoying, this stupid nonsense on the part of Aetna was not going to change our plans at all. We were fortunately able to come up with the full 30K, so we chalked it up to the ridiculous way we’ve allowed insurance companies to control our healthcare system and moved on. Weirdly enough within a few weeks, my company switched insurance carriers, and this carrier did cover IVF up to $10,000 with no age limit, as long as it was performed by one of their “preferred providers.” And as it turned out, my clinic was one of those providers. We had lost about 6 months, but in the end it turned out to save us 10K.

After I became pregnant, we decided that I would go on D’s insurance through his job instead of both of us carrying our own insurance like single people. Turns out, D’s company has Aetna! So, after they turned me down for IVF treatment because I could not possibly get pregnant, they got to pay for my OB and delivery! It makes me happy to think about it. Oh, and Aetna, fuck you. Wow, that felt so good.

It was finally time to tell Alyssa to go ahead and start looking for a match for us. Because I had waited so long (my first screening blood work was done in October, 2008), my doctor required that I repeat most of the tests. So, more delays. And then suddenly, it was 2010, the year I would turn 50! It is really just a matter of months, but since we had our first consultation in mid-2008 at age 48, I had hoped to be a mom before I turned 50. Where had the time gone?

At last, in February we got the call we had been waiting for. Alyssa had a potential match for us. If we were ready, she would pass the file to our doctor and call the donor in for some retesting of her own. The donors must repeat all the STD testing they undergo to qualify in the first place.

Then we got to “meet” her. We had a conference call with the doctor, and he read us her file. I can’t or won’t discuss anything about her for many reasons, but mostly to protect her privacy and my son’s privacy. There are many different places where a young woman can choose to become an egg donor, and the fact that she chose a program that was totally “blind” means that she never wants to be identified. What we know about her is enough for her to recognize herself if she ever stumbled upon this blog, so I’ll say that she was perfect in every way and in ways we hadn’t even thought of, and leave it at that. One of the most overwhelming moments for me was realizing that I won’t ever be able to thank that young woman who made all my dreams come true. Whatever your reasons, you have done a beautiful thing, and I am forever grateful.

The matter of my son’s privacy is a bit trickier. I wanted to tell my story on this blog, but obviously, my story becomes his story, and I don’t have the right to tell his story without his permission. You might have noticed that I use his name and my husband’s name, but not my own, and I’ve removed my name from the comments you’ve all been kind enough to leave. The “first degree” of people obviously know who I am and who my son is, but if these words ever reach beyond immediate family and friends, I’ve tried to provide at least some privacy for my son. (I did ask D’s permission to talk about him and identify him by name.) I hope some day my son will forgive me.

Next time: The First Needle or Who Knew Pulmonary Embolism Could Be So Amusing?

© 2012 Grayhairedmom

Have you been through IVF? What’s your story? I’d love to hear from you. Contact me at or leave a comment here!

From → IVF Treatments

  1. grayhairedmom permalink

    Reblogged this on grayhairedmom and commented:

    Here’s a reblog of a post from last year.


  2. roben permalink

    By any chance, have you heard of any programs in NJ that are extremely successful?


    • grayhairedmom permalink

      First of all I wish you the best of luck! Feel free to email me directly if you have questions or if you just want to talk, it’s

      I don’t know directly of the most successful in NJ, but I think Columbia will supervise other doctors so that they follow the same protocol. Are you near enough to NYC to come in for the initial consult? The phone number is 646 756 8282.

      And finally thank you so much for commenting and letting me know that this helped you! It’s why I’m doing it.

      Please keep in touch!


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