Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mi K'amcha Yisrael, Goy Echad Ba'aretz

I think I complain about the religious Jewish community enough, yes? So for a change, I'd like to post on how absolutely wonderful they are. You heard me right.

IVF is not cheap. The whole thing costs roughly $25,000 from start to finish and almost none of that is covered by insurance. My health insurance is very weird. They will cover any procedure or medicine that corrects infertility but absolutely none that will contribute towards a pregnancy. How stupid is that?

Given that my husband and I are now both unemployed and are being kept afloat by the odd contract job here and there, the idea of taking $25,000 out of our savings is not one we relish right now. Nearly a third of that $25,000 is the cost of IVF medicines. The medicines are unbelievably expensive. I've been looking into ways to curtail the costs and take the edge off of the expense.

I spoke to an IVF nurse at an infertility support group about possibly getting in touch with patients who had insurance coverage and are now done with their cycles and have no further use for their leftover meds. She said she's done this before, and she'd put me in touch with patients who would be happy to sell me their leftover meds at a slightly reduced cost from what I would pay at the pharmacy.

Then I visited some infertility support boards online. Again, lots of folks are willing to sell me their extra meds. Sell.

Then I got in touch with a Jewish organization in NY that helps couples deal with infertility. I'm not going to mention their name....they don't engage in any sort of IVF drug dispensing (and actually, they made a point of NOT doing it) but I don't want to connect them to this in any way. Basically, dispensing drugs if you're not a pharmacy or doctor is illegal. This organization refused to let me post any requests on their boards asking for meds (I assume this might have been a legal problem in the past) but I did post a request for information on less expensive medication resources, along with my email address. Ha'mayveen yaveen. I was flooded with emails from women who had extra meds that they were done with and they offered to give them to me. Give. So far, not one of them is willing to even be reimbursed for shipping costs. I am stunned and overwhelmed by their kindness.

So far, I have received offers for about $5,000 worth of medicine that I need.

As far as the illegality of it all, look, we're not talking about dealing heroin here. These are not narcotics, amphetamines or barbiturates. These are fertility drugs and I'll be using them under a doctor's care (my doctor is totally fine with this btw, as long as the drugs are sealed and unexpired). These are extremely expensive drugs that would otherwise go to waste if they are not used.

I am so touched by the kindness shown by these women. These are not women I would typically hang out with. Many of them are from Williamsburg and are Satmar Chassidim. From their emails to me, I can see that quite a few are partially illiterate...their grammar and diction are horrendous. But who cares? Kindness and generosity don't need to write well.

I am trying to think of ways to repay them and all I can think of is to take their Hebrew names and daven for them, since they are in the same infertile boat that I am. I'm also making small donations in their honor at the mikvah here.

See, to me, doing this is a celestial deal-changer. I don't think God will give someone a baby because she is drinking ruby dust or wearing a red string or any of the other kooky segullahs that I've heard about or been offered. But giving a fellow sufferer medications worth thousands of dollars just because you can...I think that is worth quite a lot, and I hope that God will agree and reward these wonderful women in kind for their kindness to me. It's times like these that I really do feel like I belong to a giant family. A giant, dyfunctional family, but one that cares about its members to the point of sacrifice and giving.

"Mi k'amcha Yisrael, goy echad ba'aretz?"


Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. I hope GD rewards all your efforts with a beautiful baby in the right time.

G6 said...

Thanks for posting this wonderful, inspirational story.
I'm so tired of reading negative stories about people's behavior.
It's so refreshing to hear the GOOD once in a while!

Anonymous said...

Could you post here what meds you need?

Anonymous said...

Could you post here the meds you need? Maybe other people could help.

Anonymous said...

If you'd like to get in touch with me, I can direct you people would will be glad to help with the meds as well as the cost of the procedures.

Abandoning Eden said...

Posting about illegal activities in a public forum is not a good idea in general.

I love the fuzzy morality too -where is the line exactly? What if you are a cancer patient who lost 60 pounds in the last 6 months and can't even eat a full cup of soup like my FIL, is buying some pot (not yet legalized in his state), which would give him the ability to eat like a normal person and not lose 1-2 pounds per week like he is, ok? I'm betting you would say no. And yet reselling drugs is illegal, and the only difference between reselling a xanax or an adderol of a vicodin or an oxycotin or a fertility drug is that you only really want one of those.

Now personally I think drugs should be legalized and regulated, so I have no problem with what you are doing. But if you think you are any better than anyone else who buys drugs illegally, you're wrong.

WebGirl said...

MK, I emailed you. Anonymous, that was a good thought. The expensive ones are follistim, menopur, vivelle patches, and cetrotide.

WebGirl said...

Abandoning Eden, I owe you an apology. I have not been paying enough attention to my blog and only now saw your comment, which I immediately published. I'm so sorry I let it sit in the pending box for five months...it was unintentional.

You bring up an interesting point. Believe it or not, I am on the fence on the legalization of marijuana, though I am leaning toward being against it, if only because of its potential for abuse by kids. The reason I'm ambivalent about it is because I'm not convinced that it's the role of the federal government to regulate something like pot any more than it is for them to regulate salt or alcohol. Certainly I think it should be available by prescription to cancer patients. I'm firmly against the legalization of any harder recreational drugs though, because they are far more dangerous than marijuana.

I think there is a very significant difference between sharing fertility meds and sharing other prescription drugs. For example, I can't exactly go to a party, shoot myself up with a follicle stimulating hormone, get behind a wheel and kill a kid on a bicycle. And chances are, no one is pushing estrogen patches at a high school. Get my point? Abusing recreational drugs harms others. If I am enough of a moron to abuse fertility drugs, or use them without being under a doctor's care, I will only harm myself and mess up my reproductive system. And honestly, you have to be incredibly stupid to abuse fertility drugs. Or, incredibly smart. I wouldn't even understand how to use them without instructions from a doctor, but I would know exactly how to abuse an oxycontin.

Sorry your father in law is sick, btw. Refuah shelaymah to him. It must be very hard on your husband. My father passed away from cancer...it can be very, very difficult to watch it happen.