Most people choose our IVF Refund Programme for the reassurance that if their treatment doesn’t work out, they would at least have the consolation of their money back. But what happens next for those people? We wanted to learn more about what our patients went on to do next, and how their refund helped them on that journey. In this article, first published by our friends at IVF Babble, we chatted to Katie, whose life took a different turn after discovering Access Fertility.
Tell us how your fertility journey started
In my late thirties I came out of a long-term relationship with someone who didn’t want to have kids. Then I met Rosie. I was 39, and one of the first things I told her was that I wanted children. I think she was taken aback – it was only the second date! But it was so important to me that I didn’t miss out on the chance to carry a child, and I wanted her to be prepared.
That was November 2019, and Covid arrived in March the following year. We’d not long moved in together and we were thrown into each other’s pockets. It was good for us, in many respects, because all the time together helped us make some important decisions quite quickly.
In late May 2020, we had our first consultation with the IVF clinic. The consultant asked ‘if you discovered you were pregnant tomorrow, would you be happy’? On realising we would, we looked into starting treatment straightaway.
How did you find out about Access Fertility?
A friend of mine worked in the laboratory at the IVF clinic and had already mentioned Access Fertility to me. To be honest, I was a bit reticent at first. Funding plans are not commonplace in Ireland and I was wary. Then one of the nurses shared some information about the various programmes, but I fobbed it off.
It was only after a friend of mine in the UK shared that they had used Access Fertility and were happy that I realised it was something I really should look into. It was two weeks before my 40th birthday. Suddenly, the race was on to apply for the IVF Refund Programme.
I needn’t have worried. The Access Fertility team were so helpful and turned the application around in a couple of days. We booked in our treatment to start in September.
What attracted you to the IVF Refund Programme?
Rosie and I had always agreed that we would undertake a maximum of four cycles of IVF. For us, Access Fertility’s IVF Refund Programme meant that we could afford to do that.
I felt like an awful lot of people I spoke to said ‘but what if you get pregnant on the first go’? That was never an issue for me. I felt like we’d hardly be disappointed if we were so lucky. Not only that, but the amount we’d have overpaid was not astronomical and would be going to an organisation that was helping other people less fortunate than us. You’re putting out good karma, and it’s a nice way to spend your money.
How did your IVF go?
We did three cycles – one IVF and two ICSI. In some respects, it went well, we always had good results at egg collection and fertilisation. Unfortunately we just didn’t seem to be able to make blastocysts. All in all, we collected 35 eggs, 24 of which fertilised, but not one made it. That was really challenging, and I found the whole experience really tough.
How did you get your refund?
I was worried that when it came to it, it would be painful or take ages. I really needn’t have worried. Within a week the money was in my bank account.
Access Fertility were great to deal with, everything was seamless. During what was an extremely stressful situation, they gave us real peace of mind.
Did you have plans for that money?
Yes we’d always planned to use the refund money for one more cycle. I went to a different clinic, because I felt like I needed a different approach.
The fourth time around, I had a much better experience. It was actually quite amazing, joyful even. We followed a far less medicated protocol, and transferred two embryos. We never planned to have twins, but at 40 years old, I wanted to secure our chances.
After some cramps at five weeks I had a scan which showed only one embryo had taken. We were happy – that had been our plan all along. But one week later, when we went for our final consultation at the clinic, our lovely consultant showed us quite clearly that we were pregnant with identical twins.
The pregnancy went well, and at 35 weeks, our twins were born. I am so grateful to Access Fertility. Without them, we never could have afforded the 4th cycle and we wouldn’t have our little family.
Would you recommend Access Fertility?
Absolutely. For people who are hesitant, trust that the money does come through, and amazing things can happen as a result.
I’ve recommended Access Fertility to other friends of mine, and not just the IVF Refund Programme – the other plans a great too. They’re especially beneficial here in Ireland, where frozen embryo transfers are expensive (unlimited frozen embryo transfers are included in all our plans).
What advice would you give to someone embarking on their own fertility journey now?
- Do all your own research. I didn’t know anything about fertility when I started out. It’s a journey you enter naïve and come out a different person. You have to self-educate.
- Be able to self-advocate. IVF is not like other healthcare, it’s a big business. I decided I was going to hand over control to the doctors and I really regret that – I should have been more vocal about my misgivings.
- Get control of your money. With IVF, you haemorrhage money, from all the testing, medication, scans and various add-ons. Access Fertility became even more important to us because we knew we had three cycles covered, and if we needed another, the refund was there. At least we didn’t have to worry about money.
Watch Katie’s interview with IVF Babble on Instagram for more information on her experience and advice.