Updated: Feb 24
It’s a new year and a time for starting something new, right?
So let’s talk about Episode 4. It focuses on choosing the correct fertility treatment for you and how it can all feel like a game of roulette with your life savings. Dr. Alison Taylor also makes an appearance in this episode so it’s definitely a good one to listen to.
I’ll start with some facts and figures to give you a rough idea of what fertility treatments are available.
IVF has been around since the 70’s and has succeeded in 8 million births
25% of fertility issues cannot be explained
There’s actually a specialised form of IVF, called ICSI (we’ll get into that a bit later)
Undertaking fertility treatment involves a lot of expensive drugs!
ICSI?! I’d never heard of that before I met the wonderful Dr. Alison Taylor, I thought only the bog-standard IVF existed. I was obviously wrong.
You’re probably wondering what all those letters stand for, so, let me tell you - Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection. Now we’ve got that straight, let’s talk about what it actually means. The way that Dr. Taylor explained it to us, is that it's a specialised form of IVF - a single sperm is taken and injected directly into a mature egg. Apparently, it is used when the male has fertility issues and they need to find good sperm. I know, go me. They basically find the ones that are good enough and mix them with your partner's egg. Romantic isn’t it? In all seriousness, it’s a great option and we opted for it in the end. It very fortunately worked for us.
Dr. Taylor explains the process a lot better than I do, so to get a professional’s insight check out Episode 4.
The world of COVID during fertility treatment
I want to use this part of the blog to discuss how the pandemic has affected fertility treatment because it’s very important. Now, COVID has put a strain on a lot of things, but don’t let it do the same to your hope. Although there may have been a delay to your treatment and it must be very frustrating, we are slowly emerging from the restrictions! Hopefully, a lot of couples are finally able to see the daylight after maybe having a tough time.
It seems that many fertility clinics had to reduce the number of patients they could treat due to staff being moved to other areas of the NHS. This is sad and I can imagine it had or still has, put an unfortunate halt to some of your plans. The only plus side to this is that the storage limit of eggs has been extended by 2 years, making it 12. I know this isn’t ideal and you may feel like it will never happen but you are not alone.
My final word of advice is honestly to consider freezing your eggs; Rosie was a lucky frozen one and she is amazing.
You can read about other’s fertility treatment experiences during COVID at the Fertility Network website, it is linked below.
The IVFDad Insight - How to save money during fertility treatment
Fertility treatment is an expensive road. Not to worry, I’ve got you covered… Here are my money-saving tips, extracted directly from my personal experience:
Sperm CAN be improved, so do what you can; take your vitamins and supplements, you still have to pay for them but they are at least cheaper than the drugs from the hospital.
When buying the drugs, check whether your local pharmacy can get them in. This is a good one - it can cost you a lot less than buying directly from the hospital!
You can get a lot of the tests done via the NHS, even if you are being treated privately. Different surgeries have different approaches, so be nice.
Above all, try to stay positive and calm, as difficult as it may be. This isn’t clinically proven but I believe it helps the process.
Throughout my journey, I learned that the beginning is important. My top tip to you is to take your time understanding the treatments, make the decision that is right for YOU and take the doctor's advice.