Monday, 21 October 2013

Oh, the Things I Know!

I previously described that if I were to offer any advice to a fellow infertile who is just starting her treatments, it would be 'Expect Delays'. I can appreciate that everyone's situation with infertility is different and each person will have a unique experience, but delays seem to be a common thread for almost all who travel down this road. I now feel that I can add some additional words of wisdom.

I called Freedom Fertility to set up my medication order more than three weeks before I was set to start my stims. My insurance company has an alliance with Freedom Fertility. While ordering the Ovidrel for my IUI cycles, I found them to be reliable with good customer service. After we finished reviewing the list, the agent offered that she would arrange for the big box to arrive two days before S-day (which is a Sunday). I could only imagine discovering on a Friday that an incorrect med was shipped. I felt as if I had to negotiate with her to have them delivered on Tuesday. I informed the agent that my insurance covers 50% of the costs of my prescription medications, but they require prior authorisation. "No problem." she said with a cheery tone. "I'll send this off to our insurance department, and I'll have someone call you on Monday before we ship your order to review the final details."

I switched my phone onto vibrate and kept it in my pocket all day. I felt like such a dork; getting excited for a phone call, but this was the phone call that would bring my big box of meds. Alas, the 'Unknown Caller' rang. "Hi!" another cheery woman greeted me. "I noted that your insurance company will pay for half of your meds, but we need authorisation. We'll go ahead and get that processed for you ASAP!" I groaned silently. This should have been already sorted. I would have thought two weeks would have been enough time to place a phone call or fax a form to get the authorisation.
Lesson One: Do not rely on anyone. To do anything for you. Ever. 

I couldn't disguise my disappointment. "I'm terribly sorry" the agent apologised profusely. "I don't see those instructions anywhere in the notes. Do you remember with whom you spoke?"
"Um, I think it was Daphne. Or Delores?"...something that began with a D?
Lesson Two: Always take note of names
Lesson Three: Consider informing the customer service agent that you are recording the conversation for 'quality assurance'

I knew it wasn't worth getting too upset. After all, "Stacey" assured me that I would receive my order this week. I felt validated that I bargained for the 'oh shit' time, but I was annoyed with myself that I hadn't followed up last week.  I was still in the situation I wanted to avoid; waiting for the meds to arrive at the end of the week and hoping for an accurate order. I glanced at my Google calendar. I had noted "meds arrive" on Tuesday. I was looking forward to that big box arriving in the way I anticipate receiving a package from my parents or Myrtle around Christmas or my birthday. It was a good time to remind myself that I shouldn't get attached to any particular dates, and that every step of this process requires flexibility. I'm not as savvy as I thought. I need someone wiser to tell me to expect delays.

In the interest of full disclosure, someone did come through for me. I sent an email to Misery asking if she would call the prescription for Medrol into my local pharmacy. I found that even at full cost, they had better pricing than Freedom Fertility and my insurance might even cover it, since it's not exclusively used for infertility. I should also mention here that Misery has been much less... well, miserable. I thought about assigning her a different name, but I like to think that first impressions have consequences. As the pharmacy is right across from Husband's favourite watering hole (talk about conveniences), I sent him in over the weekend to check on the status. Sure enough, she took care of it. I suppose it would have been nice to have received some confirmation from her, but I shouldn't hold unrealistic expectations. That's Lesson Four.


  1. Oh how I hated the stress of meds being shipped at the last minute. I feel you on that! I'm glad Misery actually came through for you and has been less...miserable lately.

  2. Sorry you had to deal with that. I also had a problem with Freedom that took forever to resolve, but they ended up fully refunding the $ I felt I was owed from a price misquote. Btw....they actually record every single phonecall themselves are able to go back to your original call if needed, which is what I had them do with my issue. I too, have noticed they are more expensive for stuff like steroids (medrol), antibiotics (doxycycline), and hormones (estradiol) etc. than the regular pharmacy. I don't think Freedom offers generic, which could be why that happens on those drugs.

    Anyhoo, glad you got it all sorted out. Wish it didn't have to be so hard, but glad you finally got the goods! :)

  3. Oh my goodness, I couldn't agree more - that, with infertility comes so.many.delays! Any time I thought I knew what was next or even, if I thought when 'next' was, I've been so far off. xoxo

  4. So true. I have experienced all of the above. Unfortunately it just confirmed my belief that if you want something done right you have to do it yourself!

  5. Seriously! One of the biggest stressors with IVF was getting the meds!!! On our second cycle I got the box the night I needed to start Lupron! I was a nervous ball waiting for UPS to arrive.

  6. I'm always so surprised reading about US clinics, it seems like almost all of you guys have to order your meds and wait for them to arrive in a box! My clinic has meds on site, I just buy what I need for the next couple of days directly from them and then I'm not stuck with extra if I get cancelled or not enough if I need to up my dosage. I'm not sure if that's due to the US versus Canadian health care systems, but it seems like such an unnecessary additional stress to you guys! Sorry, not trying to brag, I just wish there was an easier way for you so that you didn't have to worry about shipping and handling on top of doing IVF.

    1. Having meds stocked in the office is way to practical for the US health care system. Besides, aren't you Canadians jealous that you don't have a big box of drugs arriving at your front door?

  7. Yeah my medrol and other things like estradiol and aspirin were covered under general insurance and I didn't have to go through Freedom for that. I only went through Freedom and other pharmacies for the fertility meds. I actually called four to five pharmacies to find the cheapest prices for things, and ordered from different ones. My RE told me that I could actually ask pharmacies to price match. I hope this tip does not apply to you as this could well be your first and last IVF. Sorry about the stress tho.