This article first appeared on IVF Babble
The financial pressure associated with IVF is one of the most common topics that our readers write to us about
Statistics show that the chances of getting pregnant on your first round of IVF are incredibly slim. This means a huge amount of financial stress layered on top of the emotional pressure that comes hand-in-hand when trying to conceive. Depending on where you are in the world, an IVF cycle can cost anywhere between £3,000 to £8000 to start with. This is an enormous amount of money to find with no guarantee that it is going to result in the child you so desperately long for.
We have heard stories from many of you who have experienced high levels of debt has had to take out loans, borrow from parents, in fact, if you get a moment, log in to Instagram and take a look at this post on the IVF Babble page – you will see that you really aren’t alone if you are feeling the emotional as well as the financial strain.
IVF babble recently published an article from the Access Fertility team, which explains the service they offer, helping take the pressure from patients by offering them the chance to fix the cost of IVF treatment, meaning you get as many IVF cycles as you need over two years, with 100 per cent refund if you don’t go on to have a baby.
We spoke with several Access Fertility patients to see how it is helping couples through IVF treatment. Here is what they had to say…
Can you tell us a bit about your IVF journey?
Heidi and Gary: “We had three rounds of IVF on the NHS. We lost the first attempt which was absolutely devastating. It felt like our world had ended and I didn’t think we’d ever, ever be able to achieve our dream. But then amazingly we were successful on our second attempt!!. We were blown away with joy. We were so grateful for the child we had but we really, really wanted to give her a sibling. But, even though you get up to three goes on NHS, it stops when you are successful.”
Melanie and Gary: “Our IVF journey started four years ago now. We’d gone to the doctors and had all the tests, been to the hospital, but things just weren’t happening for us so we got referred for IVF. We had the treatment on the NHS initially, but it didn’t work. We got to a crossroads then took a little break to think about whether we were doing the right thing. We then decided it was actually what we wanted and decided to keep going with it.”
Why did you choose an Access Fertility programme?
Heidi and Gary: “We’d heard of Access Fertility and we didn’t think we’d be able to afford it but we loved the idea of the refund system and the multi-cycle system. Worst case scenario that, if we didn’t get a sibling in those three attempts, we would get something back.”
Melanie and Gary: “We stumbled across Access Fertility. It seemed like a really good option for Mel in terms of making sure she didn’t have any worries in terms of the finances behind it and could focus on the cycles – that we could have three more attempts basically. Rather than worrying each time ‘oh god it’s going to cost X amount of money, we’re going to have to save that, then stop, then save up again’. We just knew we had those cycles ‘in the bank’ if you like.”
What did the refund element mean to you?
Angela and Claire: “The refund element to us meant that we really had that reassurance. If it all went wrong and we didn’t get what we wanted and we couldn’t extend the family in the way we were trying to, then actually there would be something there at the end of it, which hopefully we wouldn’t ever need but we were considering a big amount of work on the house and we didn’t know where the path was going to take us so it was the reassurance to say that if it does all go wrong there would be a refund element.
“It also meant it took some of the pressure off, if you had got that far down the line in however long it takes to go through the full programme, it meant if it hadn’t worked you’ve got something, even if you go and have a nice holiday at the end of it – just something to take a bit of the pressure off the financial side of it and relieve a bit of the emotional pain that we imagined would be there for us.”
What did you feel about the multi-cycle approach?
Heidi and Gary: “The worst thing is losing a cycle of IVF and not getting what you want and then having that finance worry after as well. I think a lot of couples would agree on that – you pay all that money for something you’re not guaranteed to have at the end of it. With Access Fertility you get the option to try again, it’s not the end of the road, that’s what I see it as. With Access, in the worst-case scenario you know there’s a chance you can try again.”
Angela and Claire: “We probably spent more time thinking, not necessarily about the refund part, but almost the fact that we could go through three cycles without having to worry about things in the middle.
That was almost the more important part to us, hoping that we wouldn’t need to think about the refund. So when we did our first pregnancy test not having to worry about ‘if this doesn’t work we can’t afford another go’ and not having to even think ‘I need to transfer money around to be able to start the next cycle off we didn’t have to think about anything. So once we’d paid that initial money then it was done, it was gone.”
How did you find the process?
Gemma and David: “We found Access Fertility so straightforward. Everybody that we spoke to, was happy to answer questions (and I had plenty of questions) before we signed up before we even decided to go ahead. I would ring up and ask questions and have those answered which meant that when we decided we would go ahead with the plan it was so straightforward.”
Heidi and Gary: “The service at Access Fertility is second to none. From the very first phone call through to having Lexi – you don’t feel like a statistic/a number, it felt like a personalised service.”
What advice do you have for others pursuing IVF treatment?
Gemma and David: “Everyone tells you when you have fertility treatment that the best thing you can do is to try and stay as relaxed as possible, which is really hard when you’re going through that treatment and you’re wanting something so bad but, I feel, going down the Access route, that it eliminated part of that pressure.”
Melanie and Gary: “I would 100 per cent recommend Access Fertility to anyone that has maybe used up their NHS goes or doesn’t have the funding of that I would say go for it. It’s so easy and really does help take the stress away. It relaxes you, it’s straightforward, it’s easy and they’re a great company to deal with…and you get to bring home two little miracles like this, hopefully.”
Heidi and Gary: “I would say the best thing about Access Fertility is the fact that it takes the stress away as a couple desperate for children. The stress, the worry, the anxiety is so high so anything that helps take that away is a big, big plus. I truly believe that’s why we conceived on the first attempt.”
What was the hardest part of IVF treatment for you?
Melanie and Gary: “For me personally, the hardest thing to take actually when you’re going through that process is friends, work colleagues and people around you who come into work or give you a call and say ‘we’re having a baby’. That’s not easy to take when you’re going through that sort of process so it was a relief when we were finally able to tell our friends that it was our turn and we had these little two on the way.”