The fertility bank balance
I’ve had a stark realisation this week, that we’ve basically run out of funds.
The fertility bank balance has officially dried up and now that I’m out of a job we’re basically having to hedge all our bets on the two little embryos that are hopefully growing inside me right now.
Obviously, we have planned and saved and made allowances, but the reality is that the costs of fertility treatment are so difficult to predict and can go way beyond what’s quoted on the clinic websites. That’s certainly not to say that clinics are being deceptive about prices, but rather the final cost of treatment just can’t be predicted until the process begins, as you won’t know what dose of drugs will be required, if additional procedures will be necessary and how long you’ll need to be on the drugs. In my case, my consultant has had to add an additional injection to my protocol, after some low blood test results, which has tripled my drugs costs.
It’s an additional pressure that none of us really need at this time. I was so lucky to have had the opportunity to have 2 rounds of IVF on the NHS in UK but I do feel the added pressure and nervousness with this treatment cycle now that we’re having to pay for it all and can see where the costs are going ie. at the moment, I’m spending £300 a week on drugs that are really painful to inject, give me headaches and I hate! Whoop!
Obviously, the costs would pale into insignificance if you knew you were getting a baby at the end of it, but sadly that’s a guarantee no doctor or drug will give you.
How to keep your cool with a rapidly dropping fertility bank balance
- Try to add contingency to the budget
Use the clinic pricing as a guideline and make sure you’re clear exactly what’s included ie. the drug costs are usually additional. If you can, build in an additional 10-15% contingency for unexpected costs.
- Buy supplements in bulk online
My friend introduced me to this one – you can get vitamin supplements at a discounted price on eBay and Amazon if you buy in bulk. We know we’re going to need folic acid for a good few months so can’t go wrong there! Just make sure you’re buying a brand you trust and the bottles are always sealed.
- Think carefully before agreeing to add-ons – weigh up the options
Although it’s tempting to look at the menu of services and add-ons on offer at a clinic and want to try all of them to give you the best shot possible, it’s useful to take a pragmatic approach. In my personal experience, I had two add-ons; one, the endometrial scratch I would definitely do again, as the evidence and research is becoming more evident and the embryoscope, which I probably wouldn’t use again as it didn’t end up actually making any difference to the decisions we needed to make around our embryos. This is all very subjective though and if you’re someone who makes a lot of good quality embryos then the embryoscope could well come in useful. The point is, not everyone will benefit from everything, so pick wisely.
- Order fertility drugs as and when you need them to avoid excess
Although this has meant that I’m having to be in to receive a drug delivery every few days, I much rather that than having excess drugs left over. Just one excess dose of my most expensive drug is £50 so I’d rather order as and when I need to.
- Don’t let the money cause you anxiety
Additional anxiety and stress about money is not what anyone needs when you’re going through fertility treatments so if you find that it’s all too much, then sit down with your partner and work out where the stress points are. Is it possible to borrow money from family? Can you consider treatment abroad?
- Think of the bigger picture and agree a threshold with your partner
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with everything you’re spending but just try and remember what you’re doing it for. Yes, it sucks that we have to pay to get a baby but we might just get a baby! Everyone will have their own threshold though, so work out what your financial one is with your partner and stick to it. You will have done everything you can to get what you want but at one point you may need to just say “Honey, we can’t afford any more.”
So that’s where we are, right at the bottom of the bank balance, but with a ray of hope left in my belly. This will be our last try but no one can say we haven’t given it everything we have…literally!
Are you finding fertility decisions based around money difficult? Have you had to move on from treatment as you could no longer fund it? Wherever you are on your fertility journey, I’d love to hear from you!