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Thanks to East Midland Trains for help with my IVF

Posted Dec 03 2010 5:43pm
Having talked about the financial side of IVF, this seems like a good opportunity to say thank you to East Midland Trains. 

Because of the nature of IVF it is impossible to buy the cheaper inflexible train tickets in advance as the appointments depend on how your body is responding to the drugs.  You might have an idea of when the appointments will be but they almost always change at the last minute.  Therefore to get the train I had to buy the expensive day return tickets that are aimed at the business market.  I worked out if I did that for every appointment I would be spending well over £2k per IVF cycle (nearly £5k if Steve came with me!) which was just far too expensive especially when we were trying to save up for the IVF in the first place.

Steve and I, therefore drove to all the appointments for the first three cycles.  We would set off at 7:00am for a 12:00 appointment as it was hard to judge the London traffic.  We rarely got back before 6:00pm.  As Steve was coming with me all his days off work were wasted on hospital appointments and he would work on the weekends to make up his hours (he works in retail, so can do that).  When in the middle of a cycle, Steve and I got no quality time together, all our time was spent driving, at appointments or at work.
In preparation for cycle 4, I wrote to East Midland trains and explained the situation.  Being a bit of a data geek I made them some charts showing how much extra it cost me per cycle to get the train but how many hours it would save me if I could afford to travel by train.  They came back with an excellent offer, I could have off peak tickets for £27 and if I don’t use them because my appointments change at the last minute, I can send them back and swap them for another ticket.  This gets over the inflexibility problem of buying the cheap tickets.  They also let me have a few free tickets that can be used any time to help with the appointments that don’t fit into off peak hours. 
Off peak tickets are suitable for almost all of my appointments as most of them are scans and blood tests which need to be done before lunch time.  I get the 9.27am train, arrive at St Pancras for 11.40am with just enough time to get to the hospital for a 12:00 appointment.  I am often home by 4:00pm.
I can’t explain how much less stressful this has made our IVF.  My trips to London are now so much easier, I can read my book or do a bit of work on the train.  Steve no longer comes with me to all the appointments, I prefer for him to spend his days off with me and Dexter doing fun things rather than rubbish hospital appointments.  IVF is no longer new and scary to me so I don’t need him as emotional support just for the scans.  He comes to the important appointments like the egg collection and embryo transfer.
I did feel a bit embarrassed writing my letter asking for help, it felt like a begging letter.  However, if you think about it, it was a win win situation.  East Midlands Trains were getting no revenue when we were driving and now they get some revenue.  I have a much easier life, Dexter and Steve are also better off too.
So Thanks East Midland Trains for being so flexible and understanding about our difficult set of circumstances.  It has made a big difference to our lives over this last year.
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