Any one who knows me, knows I’m a thrifty mama. I’m all about second hand, bargain shopping, and offers. However the best deal I’ve ever had, has got to be my girls. At just over £5000 a pop, IVF is not cheap so when we discovered that on our first paid attempt, that there was not one but two little embryos growing inside me, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. If IVF twins are not the best BOGOF offer, then I don’t know what is.
Rewind back to implantation day. I had gone back and forth deciding whether to have one or two embryos put back. Hand on heart, I honestly did not want twins. I wanted an easy, low risk pregnancy and one healthy, happy baby. Anyone who has suffered with infertility will know that all I craved was two little lines on the pee stick.
Daddy was a little more keen to put back two. Finally the decision was made after our consultant gave us a 70% success rate with two. Now I’m not a gambler but those are not odds to be sniffed at. That was a 70% chance of conceiving one baby. At that point, for the first time in a very long time, I was optimist. Maybe this might just work. Maybe we would finally get our baby.
Then along came two babies. I didn’t get my easy, low risk pregnancy and there were health complications with twin two. Of course I wouldn’t change a thing. I was fit and trusted the advice I was given. Our challenges were just bad luck and now just a distant memory gradually blurred by many more happier ones.
It seems a little crass to talk about life and cost but our girls did cost us a lot of money. We were lucky enough to be in the position to pay for our second attempt at IVF with savings when our first free attempt failed. Many do not have that money just sitting there. They are no less deserving and yet must save for another roll of the dice.
In England, couples with infertility issues are still subject to a postcode lottery regarding the number of attempts they are given on the NHS. According to fertility fairness:
“…the number of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England offering the recommended 3 IVF cycles to eligible women under 40 has halved in the last 5 years: just 12 per cent now follow national guidance, down from 24 per cent in 2013.”
In Leicestershire, where I live, I was entitled to one free attempt. Move across a county or two and that may shoot up to three attempts. Scotland actually offers couples three fresh attempts. Sadly, some areas such as Cambridgeshire have has their IVF funding suspended entirely, meaning if you live there, you will have to pay for every attempt.
When you are in a desperate state, having to worry about the financial implication too must be awful. We were so lucky to have fallen pregnant when we did. Another attempt would have wiped us out entirely and put yet another strain on our marriage. To get twins was like hitting the jackpot. We knew it meant all the uncertainty was behind us. Our family is now complete and we will never have to go through the emotion turmoil of infertility and treatment ever again.
Those still trying
My thoughts are with those who are trying to conceive. It’s a journey that no one can predict how long will last. Sometimes the destination glistens on the horizons and other times, the path seems never ending. Stay strong and know you are not alone.
How many attempts do you think couples should get on the NHS? Do you think it should be the same wherever you live in England?