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Fertility Injection In The Stomach

Fighting For Pregnancy: A Detailed Look At Our Amazing Journey

Last Updated on January 7, 2021 by Mr. FightToFIRE

Not a surprise for the attentive readers as I dropped hints here and there, but in case you did miss it, I’ll proclaim it in big bold letters:  I and my wife are expecting a little one next year!

It’s very joyous news as we were trying since October 2019.

After waiting for the second trimester of the pregnancy we shared it with the family. Now that we are well into it, the chances of miscarriage diminish greatly (1 to 5 percent), so it’s safe to also share the news with everyone else, including you!

Baby ultrasound
A clear ultrasound of our little one, due May 2021.

Our (little) fight towards pregnancy

Reaching this life-changing adventure wasn’t straightforward due to underlying medical conditions. Considering this is relatively personal, I wasn’t inclined to share too many details about this. But the numbers make me share it anyway. Reduced fertility impacts 15% of couples where there is a relatively even distribution between problems for men, women, or both. On top of this, 1 in 10 women below 35 experience a miscarriage and this goes up as they get older.

For this reason, I believe it’s important to tell how we went through it and how lucky we still were. There are a lot of people in a similar situation but without luck on their side. Not everything will follow your predetermined plan, one planned step after the next. Life will get in the way of saving in the most efficient way.

At times like this, I appreciate the possibilities that exist nowadays and the strong National Healthcare System (NHS) that we have in Belgium. We might have the highest wage gap in the world and singles pay the highest income taxes but at least we get something in return.

Taking the first step towards pregnancy

Fertility injection in the stomach
One of the first methods one can try to get pregnant is through pills and an injection that triggers ovulation.

Because of the underlying condition, there was only a slim chance of getting pregnant without any medical assistance. It was like finding a needle in a hay barn: near impossible.

Tired of failing without assistance, we made the first appointment end of July.

During this first talk with a fertility specialist, we got a rundown of what we could expect from the initial treatment and did the first tests for my wife and me. This meeting and the tests appeared in my savings rate report of September as it took a bit to receive the first invoice and I waited with paying them till 1 September.

Did nothing happen in August then? Well no, The most important thing happened then. We bought the treatment medication that was prescribed. Treatment consisted of pills to help with stimulating follicles and liquid medication we had to inject to trigger ovulation.

A short but successful treatment

Box of Pregnyl 5000
What we didn’t end up using: Pregnyl 5000 to stimulate the release of an egg and cause ovulation.

My wife had to take the pills for a week with an ultrasound and blood works shortly after to see if they took effect. All of this happened after her last period end of July/beginning of August and went on till ovulation could be triggered, or in case the pills didn’t work, till a new cycle started. We ended up having to go twice (excl. the first intake in July) to the hospital for an ultrasound and a blood test to determine if it was a go.

But as luck would have it, the first cycle worked, and she didn’t even have to use the injection to trigger ovulation. We could have fun at the beginning of September 😉

Not long after, my wife had another ultrasound and blood test to confirm the ovulation took place. From then on it was a waiting game.

After two weeks, she did 3 pregnancy tests spread across the third weekend of September to be absolutely sure. As you now know, it was a success.

The financial part of our treatment: (almost) fully covered

A short but intense treatment is what I’d call it. Since it was so short, the financial consequences are limited as well, though they are still there of course. Let us go over them.

The first small expense was in August for the medication:

TotalPaid by patientRefund by NHS
Note: I also had a parking ticket of 3 EUR which brings the total to 25.75 EUR.
22.75 EUR22.75 EURunknown

This can also be seen in my August overview but because I also had 15.96 EUR on other expenses, you see a total of 41.71 EUR.

Lots of bills to pay

As I said earlier, it was in September that we paid the first bills of the appointments.
217.12 EUR of the 258.99 EUR you see in my September Savings Report was for fertility treatment.

Detail of September medical expenses 2020
The medical expenses I made in September. Of this 217.12 EUR was for the fertility treatment

I also had some troubles with my throat which is unrelated but it explains the difference of 41.87 EUR (appointment + medicine). Those September medical costs were spread across multiple invoices:

Nr.Description billPaid by patientCovered by NHS
Note: I also had a parking ticket of 1.50 EUR which brings the total to 217.12 EUR.
1capacity test80 EUR24,06 EUR
2First appointment specialist66.95 EUR0 EUR
3Blood tests68.67 EUR87.00 EUR
Total215,62 EUR111.60 EUR

Something I didn’t realize till it happened was the different way the NHS covered the costs.

The specialist we had, was only partially conventionalized -like most specialists-. As a result, the total cost covered was only final after we send them the official doctor’s notes received through the mail that came together with the bill.

You see, 66.95 EUR still had a part that was covered:

Total (of bill 2)Paid by patientRefund by NHSsupplement
66.95 EUR52.17 EUR14.78 EUR40.17 EUR

For all our future appointments this would apply. We would receive the bill through the hospital’s app first, which allowed us to pay it online.
One month later, we received the bill in the mail and with it,  the doctor’s note that allowed us to get part of the Partial- or Non-conventionalized part refunded. Between our payment and the final refund is at least two months sometimes more depending on how slow the NHS paid. As a result, I’d log the refunds in the following month’s Savings Rate report.

We also were “lucky” that after the first appointment, our other appointments were (partially) within her conventionalized window saving us 40.17 EUR each time.

More bills In October and November

During October, medical bills kept coming which was once again reflected in the medical section of my monthly overview.

Detail of October medical expenses 2020
The medical expenses I made in October. It seems little but this total hides bigger expenses because of the refunds we started to receive. We spend 65.04 EUR on the fertility treatment of which 9 EUR was for parking.

Details of the second bill that came in October were as followed:

Nr.Description billPaid by patientPrice immediately covered by NHS
Note: Additional cost of 2 parking tickets totaling 6.00 EUR on top of the aforementioned amount.
1Ultrasound + consultation56.04 EUR23,90 EUR
Total56.04 EUR

It covered the expenses made at the end of August to determine the best moment to try and get pregnant. Just like the previous one, the consultation had a part that would get refunded, another 14.78 EUR.

Detail of November medical expenses 2020
The medical expenses I made in November. Of this total 126,10 EUR was for the fertility treatment with 6 EUR for the parking.

Finally, our last bill, covering the confirmation of ovulation and pregnancy, came in November:

Nr.Description billPaid by patientPrice immediately covered by NHS
Note: Additional cost of 2 parking tickets totaling 6.00 EUR on top of the aforementioned amount.
1
  • Blood tests to confirm a high chance of ovulation
  • Ultrasound + blood confirming ovulation took place
  • Final consultation fertility specialist
  • Ultrasound + consultation to confirm pregnancy
120.10 EUR189.28 EUR
Total120.10 EUR

And just like the previous two consultations, the last two, one to go over the results that confirmed the ovulation and one to confirm the pregnancy, had a part that could be refunded, resulting in an additional refund of 44.34 EUR.

Summary of our successful fertility treatment

Combining all the above gives the following total cost of the treatment split in types of costs. This includes everything, from parking tickets to ultrasound and blood tests.

Description of expenseTotal paid by the patient
(of which supplement)
Total covered by NHSCompany health insurance
Parking24.00 EURN/AN/A
Medication22.75 EURUnknownN/A
Capacity test00.00 EUR24.06 EUR80.00 EUR
Blood tests34.80 EUR95.08 EURN/A
Consultations126.95 EUR
(66.95 EUR)
73.90 EURN/A
Ultrasounds0.00 EUR71.70 EUR7.44 EUR
Total208.05 EUR264.74 EUR87.44 EUR

To list all our expenses took a bit of dining through our bills but it was worth it.

While the absolute total without health coverage would be 560.68 EUR, thanks to our National Health Service it got reduced by 47.22%; almost half! We only ended up paying 295.94 EUR (incl. parking) of which a part will get covered by my employer’s health insurance (87.44 EUR), so I presume we’ll get more than half back.

We could have gotten lower if the consultations were done by a conventionalized specialist (although I doubt there are many of those). 66.95 EUr of the consultation cost was ‘supplements’ after all. But given my wife’s medical condition we preferred the specific expertise.

How a baby impacts my fight towards FIRE

Let us get a bit less romantic.

While having a baby is a joyous occasion, it’s also a fact that it comes with new financial challenges. These challenges will most likely make it even more of a fight to reach financial independence. But it is a fight I’m more than happy to take on.

So, what does this mean? For one, my wife eats a lot more. Duh, captain obvious. She is eating for two after all. What else? Kids stuff! You have the typical things like a crib, a baby seat for the car, a stroller, etc. We will try to get most things second hand but then you also have clothes as the baby grows.

All of the aforementioned things are topics I will address in due time.

What's next

There you have it. Our small yet intense fight towards pregnancy. We had moments of discussion but at the end of it all, we came out stronger and are happy we can welcome our little miracle at the end of May 2021.

Hospitalization insurance

UPDATE 07/01/2021: my employer’s hospitalization insurance has refunded the capacity test and the remaining costs of the ultrasounds. Based on the bills I received over the course of the last few months, they refund 87.44 EUR.

Why does my company health plan not cover everything?

Their policy states they only cover medical asisted procreation -as this is called- for all non-RIZIV (National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance or Rijksinstituut Voor Ziekte- en Invaliditeitsverzekering) procedures. So, I expected to get a bit back and that is what happened.

The future

To be honest, there is a lot more to tell you. For one, our cozy 40m² rental apartment will get too cozy. It’s just about right for 2 but 3 is a crowd.
I got that covered with the apartment I bought back in 2019, or so I thought. Due to corona and issues with construction workers, the construction took a 6-month delay! Yep, not 1, not 2, but 6. Instead of May 2021, it’ll be November 2021, at best. Simply put, we had to look somewhere else. As a result, we decided to move (again)! In less than 2 months from now, we will be living somewhere else, where? I’ll tell you soon 😉

If you have questions about miscarriage or fertility problems, please don’t hesitate to contact your primary physician or hospital. Every person handles this differently and it’s important you talk about this in a safe and carrying environment.

Some sources for Belgians (PDFs in Dutch):

I'm a developer for a major financial institution in Belgium that is present in over 40 countries. I have over 8 years of working experience in the development of customer applications focussing on all aspects of banking. This helped me gain a deep understanding of the inner workings of a commercial bank. All of this experience in both banking and life culminates in this blog about personal finance and my fight towards FIRE.

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