Episode 138: From “That’s Not Good Enough” to Parenthood
Going through IVF is challenging no matter what, but the difference between going through treatment with comprehensive and inclusive coverage vs coverage through a carrier or even self-pay can make all the difference in one’s family building journey.
Today’s guest shares her experiences with IVF before and after receiving the Progyny benefit through her employer. Caitlin Day expresses the overwhelming process of managing every aspect of her fertility treatment, and how much of a relief it was to find assistance and personalization through Progyny.
She emphasizes that fertility treatments are not a one size fits all solution. After receiving care through Progyny’s benefit, Caitlin felt empowered – like her journey was unique to her – and not dictated by dollar maximums or “run-of-the-mill” care.
Guest: Caitlin Day, Progyny Member
Host: Russ Freyman, Progyny
For more information, visit Progyny’s Podcast page and Progyny’s Education page for more resources. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, @ThisisInfertilityPodcast and use the #ThisisInfertility. Have a question, comment, or want to share your story? Email us at email@example.com.
Here are some highlights from this episode:
One Size Will Never Fit All
04:14 – 07:57
Caitlin Day: Throughout life I feel like we’re always taught, you know, how easy it is to get pregnant, and I was just expecting it to be a lot easier. So, when we ran into challenges, I wanted to get to a doctor very quickly.
He ended up running some bloodwork and they scheduled me for one of the fallopian tube tests just make sure that there was no blockage in there. And about two weeks later, he called me with the blood results tests, and showed that I had a very low AMH number, which is essentially an indication of diminished ovarian reserve. And he had given me a range where women my age would normally be, and I was significantly below the lowest end of that range. And he said on the call, you know, that if we did want to have a family IVF was really our only option.
We started five cycles with this particular doctor, some of which were cancelled, because I wasn’t responsive to the medication, some of which did result in an egg retrieval. And we did get one viable embryo through this doctor.
I just didn’t feel as though he had our best interests. At heart, you know, she was the only clinic around here. So, his success rate was really high. And what we found was that they were not equipped to customize treatments based on their patients, they had one set of protocol, and either it works, or it didn’t. At one point he referred to IVF, as you know, throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping it sticks. And I remember, you know, my husband and I just looked at each other. This was after, you know, one of the cycles that I wasn’t responding to, and we were like, you know, this isn’t, this isn’t good enough.
A Benefit Built for You
09:43 – 13:20
Caitlin Day: IVF is very expensive out of pocket and then a couple of months later, TD had announced that they were going to be partnering with Progyny, and Progyny benefits will be open to all to all employees at TD, even if you had leveraged your previous Fertility benefits and had reached your max out of pocket. It was a game changer for us because it opened us up to an entirely new set of benefits. And it really changed the conversation. It allowed us to change the conversation that we had with our doctor from one that was financially driven to one that was driven based on science and what would work best for us in our family planning process.
When TD switched to Progyny, you are given, or I was given a specific Progyny counselor, or contact or advocate, who was my person, and so you call it Progyny and you set up an account. They assign you this person who you communicate with through secure email, and they walk you through what the benefits cover, because there’s various degrees of benefits, they go over what your company benefits are through Progyny. And then they’re there to answer any questions that you have. So anytime I had a question, you know, I would send an email and they would get back to me, or pick up the phone, and there’s a live person there. And they help answer your question, or at least transfer you to somebody and you know, get you in the right place. They also, Progyny works directly with the clinic, on all invoices and billings. So, you as an individual who is going through treatment, you do not need to be involved in ensuring that there’s coverage for your treatments, is handled directly from Progyny to the clinic, which relieves just so much anxiety.
Advocate for Yourself
16:54 – 18:04
Caitlin Day: People need to listen to their gut, because at the end of the day, you know, no one is going to advocate for you. If you’re not advocating for yourself, it’s not easy to be told that you’re going to have trouble or challenges getting pregnant. Like that’s not an easy thing for people to hear. And then doctors are telling you, you know, time is not on your side, you don’t have time to waste. So, there’s this, you know, hurry up rush mentality that you’re faced with internally. But at the end of the day, you’ll have so much more success when you’re at a doctor’s office where you feel supported rather than at a doctor’s office where they’re just running through the motions, even if it does take a little bit longer to get there.
Russ Freyman: At the time, we recorded with Caitlyn, she was 34 weeks pregnant. To get there, she went through many years of fertility, treatment, frustration and disappointment. Along the way, she earned some hard-won wisdom. And we asked her to share some of it with us today.
I have the great privilege to share that Chuck and Caitlin are now the proud parents of William Richard Day. He was born on July 9, at 7:48am.
Russ is a VP of Sales at Progyny. Russ previously worked at The New York Times, then Google, where he used the Progyny benefit to grow his family. He and his family live in the New York area.
Caitlin’s career has given her broad exposure to media, events, public relations and advertising within several industries. She has undergone extensive fertility treatment through her employer’s Progyny partnership, and has become an advocate for robust coverage. She and her husband live in Maine.