Big Fat…


Negative. Sadly it wasn’t to be this time. We went back to the clinic after our two week wait and were given the bad news in the little room which has previously been the setting to our happy pregnancy news. I am really disappointed it hasn’t worked as after the whole ordeal of the pills, injections, scans, appointments, egg collection, embryo transfer and painful wait we are left with nothing. No frozen embryos and worst of all no pregnancy. It is very deflating. It feels like a waste of time, money and emotions. The real frustration is that it all came to an end before it ever really begun.

That being said if there ever was a time for it not to work then this was it. Before our son arrived we were so desperate for a baby that we would have been crushed by a negative result. This time we are disappointed but by no means heartbroken. We have a beautiful son to enjoy and we will try again in a few months. We knew it was going to be a long bumpy road ahead and we are pleased we have begun the process now rather look back with regret that we left it too long to start the journey.

It’ll take more than that to knock us down. Project Baby Number 2 continues…


The Real Cost of Infertility


This week, at the fourth and final session of the Progress Educational Trust’s annual conference Professor Lord Robert Winston did not shy away from controversial infertility topics. His talk looked at infertility’s true costs – to society, to families and to women.

He talked about the infertility experience – how it affects individuals and couples, not only medically and physically, but emotionally and in terms of relationships.

Infertility, he said, is misunderstood by the health service – it is seen as a disease that needs treatment. Doctors in other specialties view the infertility procedure as bizarre – no-one reaches straight for coronary surgery when there’s a pain in the chest, he said, as that can be caused by many things. However, when someone can’t have children, the treatment is IVF. Most of the time, he says, there is no serious attempt to make a clear diagnosis of the problem – and this can leave patients ’empty-handed’, both in terms of their finances and their chance of having a child. In what he called a ‘chronic problem’, one of the worst aspects of the health service, which he views as ‘incredibly badly run, for a long time’ is the ‘maternity market’.

He also estimated that IVF cycles could be provided for less than £1,000: ‘IVF should not cost the kind of money that is currently being spent’. Where are the regulators in all this, he asked? He went on to describe it as a ‘bleak picture of poor diagnosis, misdiagnosis and selling of uncharted treatment’.

When asked about clinics in the UK who have partnerships with clinics overseas Lord Winston said it can’t be regulated and neither can other treatments which patients go overseas to get because they are not legal here. He mentioned the Fertility Show, held in November in London, where stands advertised things such as sex selection, not available here. He also pointed out that overseas clinics can advertise on the London Underground things that if they were UK practitioners would be illegal and have them struck off the medical register. These ‘loopholes’ are dangerous, he said, and he believes the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority should intervene.

None of this is new but it shows that the world of infertility is not well regulated and the true cost on patients is immeasurable. What do you think?

Refunds for Unsuccessful IVF Couples


On August 2nd the Telegraph wrote an article about a fertility clinic in Manchester which is offering refunds to couples for whom IVF treatment is unsuccessful.

The “money-back guarantee” will be rolled out at a clinic in Brighton later this month. Patients must be under 37 and using their own eggs to be eligible for the IVF Refund Programme which will allow them to get 70 per cent of their fees back. Depending on the plan they pick, refunds could be up £9,000.The clinic has said that the package was designed to ‘reassure’ patients worried about the costs of private treatment that they won’t lose out financially if they do not have a baby. Repeated courses of IVF can run to tens of thousands of pounds for couples who are not eligible for NHS funding when they are paying for treatment.

Dr Falconer, lead embryologist at Manchester Fertility said: “It’s fantastic for the patient because it will give them that peace of mind. They will get the very best, state of the art treatment to maximise their chances of success… and, if it doesn’t work the first time, at least they won’t have to go out and try to raise any more money. The guarantee lasts not just until they conceive but until they have a baby.”

A clinic in Brighton, Sussex, will offer its refund scheme from August 12, and more will follow suit in London, the south west and Northern Ireland in September.

Since the cost of IVF is unbelievably high new payment schemes such as this will alleviate a lot of stress for patients. We were extremely fortunate to have financial support from our parents. However there are many for whom this is not an option. I will be asking our clinic if they have any intention of implementing a similar scheme.

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