You feel ready to have a baby? Before you start your conception journey, you need to be prepared financially. Because between the costs of fertility drugs, assisted reproductive techniques such as artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization, potential fees related to donated sperm and maybe eggs, you might end up paying a lot if you are not eligible for NHS treatments. To get a clearer understanding, here are a few practical things you need to know before having a baby via fertility treatments.
Where Can I Buy Sperm to Get Pregnant?
The first thing to do is to ascertain whether you are eligible for NHS treatments or if you will have to finance the treatments yourself. Eligibility varies according to where you live and your age, amongst other criteria. Whether your treatment will be funded or not might just be a question of postcodes. It’s a bit like a lottery!
To be eligible, you must meet the criteria set out by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines:
You are eligible for up to three cycles of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) if:
– You are aged between 23 and 39;
– You’ve experienced more than three years of fertility issues;
– You have an identifiable cause of fertility.
You are eligible for one cycle of IVF if:
– You are aged between 40 and 42;
– This is your first time having IVF;
– Your ovaries respond to fertility drugs.
However, the rules depend on geographical factors too:
– If you live in England, the local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are the decision makers regarding the amount of funding. What will be covered depends on where you live. Certain commissioners don’t fund those who already have children or those who smoke. Others might have a different age limit. Body Mass Index (BMI) may be another deciding factor. Depending on their budget, some groups might only fund one or two cycles, while some don’t fund IVF or ICSI at all;
– If you live in Scotland, the government funds three cycles of IVF if you’re eligible (since April 2017);
– If you live in Wales, you’ll be offered two cycles if you’re eligible;
– If you live in Northern Ireland, you will be offered one cycle of fresh or frozen embryo IVF.
You’re eligible for treatment but you are on the waiting list? Unfortunately, waiting times can be very long in certain areas. Many fertility clinics have an “eighteen-week policy”, meaning that you should be able to start your treatment within eighteen weeks of your GP’s referral.
If you are not sure whether you’re eligible or not, your GP can help you. It is also your medical practitioner who will give you the referral you need to access NHS treatment.
What to do if you are not eligible
You found out that you are not eligible for NHS treatment? Or perhaps you’re on the waiting list but you don’t want to wait for months? The other option is to undergo treatment in a private fertility clinic.
Prices vary from clinic to clinic, as do eligibility criteria. Most clinics offer packages with one total price. These can include consultation fees, scans, tests or counselling, but what’s included or not depends solely on the clinic you’ll be treated in. Fertility drugs are often an extra cost to consider. The total price may increase depending on the evolution of your treatment, if you need another artificial insemination cycle or go for IVF instead, for instance.
Although you can’t know how your body will respond to the treatment, avoid unpleasant surprises and always ask for the full price of each cycle beforehand. To help you manage your budget, take into consideration additional costs such as fertility drugs and egg storage, as well as transportation, time off work and childcare, if required.
How much does fertility treatment cost?
If you’re undergoing artificial insemination (intrauterine insemination) and your treatment is not funded by the NHS, you’ll usually have to pay between £800 to £1,300 for each cycle.
For IVF, the cost may rise to more than £5,000 per cycle, depending on the clinic.Concerning fertility drugs, those eligible for NHS treatment must still pay prescription charges, except for those exempt from paying. The cost of fertility drugs will depend on your treatment.
How can I reduce the cost of IVF or ICSI?
There are solutions which allow you to pay a bit less. As waiting lists for egg donation in the UK are way too long, some clinics offer IVF at reduced cost if you agree to donate some of your eggs for other patients’ use. This process is called egg sharing.