My theme this year is IVF/ICSI, a process we’re starting at the moment and today it’s M for Money.
I’m lucky enough to live in a part of the world where fertility treatments are funded for you. There’s no need to worry about whether or not your insurance covers the cost of tests or treatments. This time around we are having our treatment on the NHS and in Scotland they have levelled the playing field and dispensed with the ‘postcode lottery’. This used to mean that your neighbours down the road who fell into a different postcode area might be entitled to fewer treatment cycles than you did, purely because of where you happen to live.
I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity provided for us by the NHS, but that’s not to say that treatment comes cheap. With the cost of getting to appointments, days off work and hotel stays during treatment the bills will definitely add up. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you’re financially stable before you begin treatment because you don’t need the added stress of money worries on top of everything else you have to worry about during IVF.
One of the downsides to ‘free’ NHS treatment is that you’ll be facing a waiting list. The hospital we are going to treats something like twenty-five women a week and at any one time there can be thousands of people starting on the journey to have a family through assisted reproductive technology. That’s one of the reasons why we decided to raise the funds ourselves and attempt a cycle privately two years ago.
Private treatment is considerably more expensive as not only do you have the transport costs, time off work and hotel stays, you’ve also got the bills for medication and all your appointments as well. If NHS treatment costs soon add up, private treatment costs add up a lot quickly; though if you’re lucky and have a good clinic and good GP you might be able to save some money by getting early tests (like STD checks) done at your local health centre.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to work out which is best for you (alongside other factors, like which hospital you feel most comfortable with) and it something that you and your partner need to discuss carefully to make sure that you’re both on the same page. Having a baby through IVF or ICSI treatment is going to be more expensive than doing it the conventional way purely because unless you live very close to your hospital, you’re going to have a lot of appointments before you even get pregnant.
And if you know someone who is going through treatment, especially in the UK, don’t just assume that because they’re having NHS treatment it makes it free. It’s not just the emotional cost that your friend or family member will be dealing with.