When I look back, I always feel extremely grateful and lucky that I only had to do one IVF cycle to have Kaia. Through all of the IVF support groups, Instagram handles, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances I know who have gone through and are currently going through IVF, I know that I am not the rule: I am the exception when it comes to a successful IVF journey. Every single day, when I look at Kaia‘s face, I am so grateful that I have her because I know others are nowhere as lucky as I have been. Even though I only had one embryo that made it, that one embryo is now my healthy baby. And for that, I am beyond blessed. I read real stories of people’s endless IVF cycles, failed transfers, zero embryos that made it through genetic testing, and sometimes, I have broken down and cried. All these people want to do is start a family or expand their family. It’s not like they are asking for much, but given the environmental factors that we are facing in a very polluted world now, our eggs and sperm have collectively been compromised. And so, some of us face more challenges than others when it comes to conceiving and carrying babies to term. And because I can relate to that pain, as there were many moments in the last two years when I wondered if I would ever have my own biological child, I wanted to be able to help others in some small way.
I knew I had a lot of IVF medication left over from my single cycle last year. I was also fortunate from a financial standpoint and that I had Chris’s amazing health insurance that paid for the vast majority of the IVF costs. The total raw cost of all of the medication that I got was likely around $15-18K. What did I pay? Only about $300 out-of-pocket. When I looked at my remaining medication that would be expiring in the second half of this year, I realized that I had about $7000 of medication that was still sealed, brand new, and never used. This would completely go to waste if I just left it in my closet. It’s illegal to resell medication, and so that never even crossed my mind for a second… Even though I am sure that people would have bought it from me, and I could’ve made a decent amount of money. For me, to resell IVF medication feels very wrong, to play on the hearts and minds of those who are the most vulnerable. And so, in the one private IVF support group that I have continue to stay in on Facebook, I posted that I would be giving the medications away for free to anyone who would be willing to pick them up from my apartment here in New York. I asked for them to follow the honor code and only request the medication if they were a self pay patient. Of course, I got a lot of responses. Some of the people who responded lived as far away as Pennsylvania and Chicago. They were willing to either come here or have a friend or relative pick it up from me who is local. All of them asked if there was any way for them to repay me. I told them I did not want to accept any money… But if they really wanted to give me something in return, then I would appreciate something sweet, maybe ice cream.
Well, these women were very grateful and thoughtful, as well. They all asked me about what flavors of ice cream I liked and what brands, and so I rattled off a short list of flavors as well as brands that I liked. And now, after having given away all of my medication to three different self-pay IVF patients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, we now have over seven different types of ice cream that are sitting in the back of our freezer. We have Häagen-Dazs, Malai Ice Cream, Tollhouse ice cream sandwiches, and Adirondack Creamery. Is the value the same as value of the medication? Of course it isn’t. But none of that really matters to me. When I heard their brief stories of their own IVF journeys, my heart just broke. All of them have done multiple IVF cycles. One was on her fourth IVF cycle. Two of out of three of them have paid completely out of pocket… Just for the mere chance of having a baby. I have not forgotten the pain and suffering that I went through when going through the exact same process as they did. So I hope this little bit that I have done will help give them some hope for the future and help with the expenses.