Thursday, August 14, 2008

Itty-bitty scary StyleyGeek

The couple who I am donating eggs to and I had our first joint appointment with the IVF doctor yesterday.

All of these people need better pseudonyms. Geekman suggests calling them Flappy, Flappy and Dr Flappy, but while those are excellent parrot names, people are a little harder. Well, actually, the doctor is easy. She comes across as friendly and competent, but also a little intimidating. So I'm going to go with Dr. Intimidating. As for the couple, (for secret reasons known only to myself, nya ha ha ha!) I'll call them Claudia and Rob.

Anyway, the upshot of the appointment is that all of my tests came out perfect, the examination the doctor did on the spot showed that I was perfect, my answers to her rapid-fire 20-questions game (Do you drink? Do you smoke? Do you take vitamins? Do you floss? (Yes, seriously: apparently it's important)) came out perfect.

A little unnervingly, Dr. Intimidating dictates her patient notes while you are there in the room. ("Donor is in perfect health and clearly highly intelligent." She turns to me and says, "You're scary.")

So apparently I am scary. It turns out this is not just because I am so awesome that I scare people. People who are young, fertile and "itty-bitty" (her descriptor, not mine—I would have described myself as "slim" but hardly "itty-bitty") have higher risk of side-effects from the fertility drugs. But it sounded like she had a sensible plan for taking that into account with regards to dosage and monitoring and so on, so that's cool.

So Dr. Intimidating ran through the stages of the procedure with us, took ten minutes out for a seriously engaged and well-informed discussion about linguistic theory (see: "intimidating") and to ask Rob about his latest physics research, and then charged them $400 for the appointment. I think that might just about cover the latest payments on the white leather lounge suit in her office, but possibly not the hand-painted wallpaper in the foyer.

Actually, I'm kind of surprised by how much of this IVF treatment is covered by the public health system here. I always thought of IVF as costing the parents-to-be tens of thousands of dollars per cycle. (Well, I guess it maybe does in the USA). Here, the actual costs are as follows:

Preliminary tests: $350-ish
IVF clinic fee: $3950
Appointments with doctor: $250 per person for initial consult; $150 thereafter. Usually there are three or four appointments per cycle.
Medication: $4000+
Anaesthesia: $400
Surgeon's fee/other day surgery costs: variable
Total: around $10,000 (+ day surgery fees)

What the couple themselves have to pay:
Preliminary tests: $40-ish
IVF clinic fee: $790
Appointments: $30-ish for initial consult; $15-ish thereafter
Medication: around $400
Anaesthesia: around $80
Surgeon's fee/other day surgery costs: variable
Total: around $1500 (+ day surgery fees)

The rest is covered by the public health cover that all Australians have. Seems like a very good deal!

Anyway, the next step is counselling, which is scheduled for the week after next. "Just to see if any of you are crackers," says Dr. Intimidating.

Meanwhile, I am scary.


Bardiac said...

So you two sort of have a weird mutual admiration thing going?

Congrats on all the good health, at any rate :)

Tom said...

Oral hygiene is quite a hot topic of research. Oral health seems to be associated with lots of health outcomes, including various forms of heart disease and stroke (but nobody knows whether this is causal).


StyleyGeek said...

Tom, yes, that's what she said. I found it surprising.

Bardiac, you mean the doctor and me? Because we both found each other intimidating/scary?

Bardiac said...

Yes, Styley, that's what I meant :) I was being jokey and all. (Except about the congrats part, because good health is a wonderful thing!)

Tom said...

Actually, this has given me an idea for a research proposal. I think we could do patient level record linkage between people's dental treatment and their treatment for heart disease across the whole regional population here.

Psych Post Doc said...

Congrats on the good bill of health.