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Reducing the cost of in vitro fertilisation (IVF)

Posted Dec 05 2010 3:48pm
As in vitro fertilisation (IVF) is so expensive I thought a post about trying to keep the cost down may help people.  There are a few tips I have learned along the way.  Hopefully other experienced IVFers or people who work in IVF clinics will post comments and add to my list so that we can help people who are still in the process of saving up.

1. Ask for help from commercial companies if there are any opportunities, like I did with East Midlands trains .

2. When choosing your clinic don’t forget to factor in the travel expenses and parking charges.  You have to have a lot of hospital appointments so these costs can add up.  If the hospital is local enough that you can still work on the days of hospital appointments then you can reduce lost earnings as well.
3.  Some people buy their IVF drugs from other sources such as the internet or pharmacies, rather than from their clinic.  The downside of this is that you can’t be sure in advance exactly how many you need.  You risk buying too many or some getting wasted if your treatment gets cancelled.  The IVF drugs make up a substantial part of the total IVF bill, (thousands of pounds for me as I need high doses). This saving can therefore be a large one.
4. If you buy any of your drugs from online chemists check if they are on the cash back websites. E.g. topcashback .
5. Apparently some GPs will let you get the drugs on an NHS prescription even if you haven’t got NHS funding.  It is always worth asking, unfortunately my GP said no.  Again this could potentially save thousands of pounds.
6. If you are travelling to the hospital appointments like me, find out if there are any appointments you can have done locally.  Steve and I do one blood test for the PGD team (as oppose to the IVF team) by post sometimes.  Karen Fordham posts a kit and we go to our GPs to see the nurse.  The nurse takes our blood and we pop it in the post back to London.  That saves us over £100 in travel costs, and £50 in childcare costs for Dexter.
7. Apparently if you get the HIV and Chlamydia blood test done at your local genitourinary medicine (GUM ) clinic it is sometimes free.  It can however take a few weeks to get the results back so you need to plan ahead if you want to do this.  At CRGH it costs £100 for these tests and both the patient and partner need one so that’s a saving of £200.
8. You could ask your clinic if they will be willing to agree a fixed price in advance, if you prefer the security of knowing the full price up front.
9. Egg sharing is an option.  I don't know much about it, but I do know people who can meet certain criteria have the option of giving some of their eggs to other infertile couples in return for reduced IVF costs.  What a kind thing to do that would be.  However women who plan to do this will have to get used to the idea that their own IVF may not work, yet another couple may have a baby with their genes.

I haven't done all of these money saving ideas so can't be sure how well all of them will work but if you are doing IVF and are on a tight budget, they will hopefully warrant some extra research.

I bet other people who are doing IVF or who work in an IVF clinic, have come across some different ways of cutting costs.  If so please add to this list by commenting on this post.  We might be able to make IVF accessible to more people if we can help inform people about how to reduce the costs.

If anyone has any experience of egg sharing, please can you write a comment about how it works as my knowledge isn't high in this area.

Further information:

Here is a post on fertility friends where buying cheap drugs is discussed.

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