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Requesting referral to a fertility clinic

(115 Posts)
Frettchen Thu 24-Apr-14 15:59:15

So I finally feel ready to start things rolling (long story short - looking to get pregnant on my own, using donor sperm. Diagnosed with PCOS last year - treating with Metformin, but stopped taking it for stupid reasons. Back on it now.)

I called my chosen fertility clinic yesterday but they don't allow self-referrals, so I've made a GP appointment which is in a fortnight. I figure I just have to go in and reiterate my position, then ask for a referral to the consultant/clinic? Presumably the GP will give the clinic my medical history, or I'll sign something allowing them to have it, so I won't have to be re-diagnosed on the PCOS front...?

I'm going to ask to be referred for IVF, as I don't think I'm ovulating properly, even when I was taking the medication, and it seems like the IVF is a more reliable option for my situation.

Anyone else currently in this situation/has been here? How long does it take to be referred?

TheBuggerlugs Thu 24-Apr-14 20:09:51

The length of time you will wait will totally depend on where you are and your trusts policy. With donor sperm you may not get all of it funded so may end up paying a fair amount. Each trust has a different policy. It might be worth asking for a copy of that whilst you wait to see your GP so you are prepared. Good luck smile

Frettchen Fri 25-Apr-14 14:34:33

Thanks Buggerlugs

I'm expecting it all to be rather expensive - I'd assumed I'm not eligible. I definitely want to donate my eggs, so will be enquiring about any egg-sharing schemes they run as that might help bring the cost down. I'll still donate my eggs (if able) if the clinic don't do the egg-sharing thing, but it would be nice if the cost was subsidised.

naty1 Sun 27-Apr-14 09:09:04

Mine took couple of m

naty1 Sun 27-Apr-14 09:11:15

Oops.. Months for appt to come through at clinic.
I think i took all my test results copies with me.
For referral nhs had/has i assume a bmi l

naty1 Sun 27-Apr-14 09:14:32

Limit (stupid phone) of 30 for treatment. But at an information meeting the clinic also said ivf is more successful when you are a healthy weight. ( just thought i would say as you may have months to look at this if necessary.
Good luck with the referral

Frettchen Mon 28-Apr-14 10:57:48

Thanks naty - the idea of waiting months sounds awful, but I guess they've got other patients, and that's just how these things work. It took about three months to diagnose my PCOS and that was just a couple of blood tests and an ultrasound.

Thanks to the PCOS and a fairly sedentary lifestyle (bloomin' office job combined with general laziness) I definitely do need to work on my weight, so perhaps can do that to help the weeks go by. Long walks and a better diet may be the answer.

Frettchen Wed 07-May-14 11:15:09

Update - for my own records, and anyone about to start down this path.

So, I went to the GP yesterday and asked to be referred. He only asked a couple of questions and was generally quite happy to refer me to the consultant I requested. He ordered a fresh set of blood tests to be done just to stop the clinic from sending me back to him for them (as has apparently happened before). These were the day 2-5 blood tests. Luckily (although the pain in my womb disagrees with the term) I'm on day 3 today, so I nipped in to the local-ish cottage hospital this morning to have two vials of blood taken. I've written down the names of the tests at home, so will update with them later, but the key ones were the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), Luteinising hormone, testosterone and prolactin. It seems to be the same set of bloods they looked at when they were diagnosing the PCOS.

So yeah - next step is to call the clinic and book an initial consultation with the consultant to see if he thinks IVF is the right course (which he most likely will as he's an expert on IVF in PCOS patients) and to find out how much this will cost.

<Insert rant about how it seems rather unfair that couples who are struggling to have children can have IVF on the NHS, but single women don't get that option, and arguably are on average less well-off than a couple where both parties are in FT work. Le sigh... I will find the money for this, but it's money I would much prefer to spend on things for the baby.>

Frettchen Mon 19-May-14 11:42:27

Another update as things progress;

I had my first meeting with the Consultant. We went through options - IUI, IVF and IVF with egg sharing, and it's Option C I'm going for. He did an ultrasound scan and has images of my ovaries and uterus, because they're oh so photogenic! I need a couple more blood tests, so he's going to write to my GP to recommend them. I could get them done privately but at £300 a pop it's easier on the ol' bank balance to stick with the NHS. The tests he's requested are HIV and Hepatitis, as I had all the other, pertinent tests.

The egg sharing will save a lot of money; and it only means a reshuffle of my plans; I was originally planning on having a baby and then donating eggs, this way means I get to do it all at once, which is all round easier!

I've been given some info on the IVF process, but I already knew most of it from Dr Internet, so it's no big shock; injections a-plenty and much hormonal management, and basically been advised to have a think about it. We'll arrange another appointment for about 2 weeks' time, after which I'll give the go ahead and we'll start moving forward. First step in my IVF journey will be counselling which is mandatory as I'll be both receiving donated sperm and donating eggs, and so they have to be happy that I understand the full ramifications of that.

In the meantime it's another blood test, and a general enjoying of the sunny weather. Plus I need to pick up some more Metformin for the PCOS as I'm to continue taking that throughout the treatment.

Frettchen Mon 16-Jun-14 14:57:17


Blood tests done, and I've returned to my consultant to give the go ahead to start IVF with egg sharing. He (or, rather, his secretary) is passing all my details to the fertility unit to go ahead and start things going, so I'm waiting for them to get in touch. In the meantime I've had to pop in and out of the GP's first to get a copy of some of my bloodtest results to pass them on, and now I've been tasked with getting a rubella test - I'm not sure whether it's to confirm I've not got it, or to confirm I've got immunity from the MMR jabs I had when I was little. Will ask for both; better to have too much info than too little!

So there it is; almost ready to go. Next step is counselling and then picking out my donor. Then it's on to the actual IVF cycle.

My consultant was lovely and said he can't see any issues, and I should hopefully be looking for my BFP in September/October. It seems a world away, but that's actually only 3-4 months!

Frettchen Fri 20-Jun-14 16:59:47

Mini update - have received a mountain of forms from the Clinic, some for the IVF and some for the egg donation. I've also got an appointment for the counselling, so it's all continuing to move.

Had a little panic today; I sent my form for the egg donating back to the clinic and had to put my height, weight and BMI (it's not a good BMI) and have since missed two calls from the egg donation department, and twice tried to call them with no response. My head has leapt to the conclusion that my BMI is too high for egg donation. Hopefully this is not the case. It's something I really want to do, and now is the perfect time as it'll mean my IVF treatment is lower. My rational brain knows it's not the end of the world if I can't donate now (although my fiscal brain will wince at the massive increase in cost) and it's not the last chance to donate, although it is definitely the easiest time as the'll be going in there anyway... But yeah, my emotional mind has latched on to this idea of potentially being rejected and I'm sat in the office feeling a wee bit miserable at something which hasn't actually happened!!! And this is my emotional state pre-treatment; it does not bode well.

Yeah, so, um, just needed to vent. Will try calling the clinic again in a sec; am hoping they don't close at 5.

Frettchen Fri 20-Jun-14 17:28:38

Yeah... they closed at 5. Yay(!)

Frettchen Mon 23-Jun-14 23:10:06

Finally spoke to the Egg Donor lady at the Clinic and she's confirmed that my BMI is too high. I can continue to go through the prep stuff; the counselling, the picking and ordering of sperm etc, but I can't go ahead with the actual procedure until I'm under a set BMI.

So I have a little over 2 stone to lose.

It's doable; I'm planning on doing a solid two months of slim fast, combined with upping the dog walks (and occasionally attempting a dog jog)

Am feeling a bit low this evening; super pissed at myself for allowing this to happen, and more irritated that the disappointment is making me want to go into the kitchen and nom all the foods. I've staved off the need to binge by scoffing some raspberries - better that than junk food.

So yeah; a diet of shakes and meal bars, and an attempt at doing more exercise until I get down to a better weight, and then the trial of maintaining that weight. This is not my favourite step on this journey. I get why it's a necessity, it's just a little disappointing.

Frettchen Wed 09-Jul-14 12:29:15

I saw the counsellor at the Clinic yesterday - this was a mandatory thing both because I'm going to be receiving donor sperm, and because I am going to be donating eggs.

It was a really good session - we went over some things that I haven't spoken about with the few friends/family who know what my plans are; not because I didn't want to speak about them, but because they just haven't come up. Things like how I would feel if my IVF failed but the woman receiving my donor eggs succeeded. Also talked about telling my potential child about its genetic history - I've thought about this at length and I actually have it fairly sorted; my baby will grow up without my having a male partner, so it's always been my plan to be open with baby from day one; a generous man gave mummy something she needed to make you. No talk of 'daddy', just talk of a beneficial stranger.

Also; this was my first visit tot he Clinic, as everything previous has been at the Consultant's local office, or with my GP/local cottage hospital, so it was good to find the place and work out how long it takes to get there (and to try to avoid leaving in a rainy rush hour again; that wasn't fun!)

So yeah - all that happened. I now have to take a week to think things through and decide whether I want to go ahead. This is HFEA mandated, to make sure I'm aware of the facts and am able to get out before things really get going. I can't see my mind changing, but it's nice to have things in my control, as I know the tests and procedures will mean things only get busier once I start all this, so this week feels like a nice point to catch my breath and re-read all the literature.

In weightloss news my BMI has gone from 35ish to 33.8. I need to be down to 30, so am going in the right direction; have had a couple of lapses in my reduced calorie eatings, but nothing too catastrophic - I'm happy with this progress, and am hoping next weekend's weigh in shows a steady, healthy loss.

I'm not sure if anyone's reading this, but it helps a lot to document things, and I figure someone somewhere one day might be thinking about treading this path and be interested in my experience.

CherryPie3 Wed 09-Jul-14 13:43:24

Hi Frettchen. Hope you are well.

Sounds like things are very positive for you!! What a wonderfully exciting journey you're on!

I look forward to reading your updates, I only found your thread today.

All the best my lovely thanks

Frettchen Tue 29-Jul-14 11:33:18

Hi Cherry, thanks for commenting.

My BMI is down to 32.4, and I've lost 1 of the 2 stone I need to lose, so things are definitely progressing, if not as quickly as I would like. I know there's no safe way to rapidly shed the pounds, and this (calorie-counting) is working at a healthy rate, I just wish it wasn't taking so long. Another month (at least) before I can start all the tests etc for being an egg donor, and then getting on with the IVF.

Frettchen Thu 30-Oct-14 11:40:58

After what seems like forever, things are finally moving.

The long delay was basically me losing weight. I'm now down to a BMI of 30, and am continuing to work on getting it lower (under 25 is the longterm target but that goes on hold once I start the IVF) but am at last able to get on with things.

I went to see one of the clinic nurses yesterday to talk through the process and to sign a large number of forms. Seriously - I'm buying a house at the moment and didn't have to sign half as many forms for that!!!

Anyhoo - I need to go back for a scan and another blood test (hepatitis and hiv results only last 6 months and i started all this about 5 months ago so they'll need to get that done again) - could have had the scan yesterday but due to house/nurse/work stress and my defective ovaries, I'm over a week late for my period, so she wouldn't have got a good look at my womb lining. Any tips on encouraging my late period to arrive?

Next up will be the choosing of the sperm - my clinic don't have any in stock because there is this massive shortage of UK sperm, so they've suggested I take a look at the European Sperm Bank. Window-shopping for sperm is a new level of weird, especially given the vast level of details they give you (if you pay for it) luckily not all of them can be shipped to the UK so that's narrowed down my choice.

Once I've sorted my sperm and got the scans/blood tests done then the only thing left is to wait to be matched up to an egg recipient. They can't start my downregging and everything until there's someone lined up to receive half of the eggs, so it's probably going to be a case of waiting a little while longer.

juneybean Thu 30-Oct-14 11:49:30

Hi Frettchen we were emailing earlier this year. Great to hear things are moving along for you smile

Frettchen Thu 30-Oct-14 12:01:29

Hey juney how are things with you?

juneybean Thu 30-Oct-14 12:04:01

I had two DIUI but both failed, have bought house and moved in earlier this month, have just bought a kitten to stave off my broodiness as cannot take time off for the next few months so will perhaps try a third DIUI next summer.

Frettchen Thu 30-Oct-14 12:16:00

Really sorry to hear things haven't worked for you yet, but congrats on the house and the kitten! Hopefully the change of location might prompt some better luck for you.

I've been living at my mother's for the past 3 months after selling my old place, and should hopefully complete on the new in the next fortnight. The hardest bit will be holding off on designating a room to be the nursery until there's actually reason to do that.

juneybean Thu 30-Oct-14 12:52:55

Aww good luck with completing, very stressful isn't it! I wasn't even in a chain! I've turned spare room into nursery for the kitten so that's been kind of therapeutic :D

Frettchen Thu 30-Oct-14 15:12:13

Kitten nursery sounds fab! I've got my heart set on there being a book nook or 'library' somewhere in the new place, even if it's just a corner with bookshelves and a beanbag!

Frettchen Mon 17-Nov-14 14:42:56

Knew this surreal day was coming but...

Today I'm buying sperm on the internet. Danish sperm, no less.

At first was pleasantly surprised at how little it cost... Then got the secret bonus amount invoice which covers stuff relating to UK laws on 10 families per donor, which bumped it up to just over what I had expected to have to pay. But yeah, that's going to be all sorted once I've paid the second amount.

Just in time as well; I exchanged contracts on my house this morning and will get the keys on Friday. This is good; it means between sorting out the new house, moving, and Christmas I'll be nicely distracted and not waiting for a call from the clinic to tell me they've found me a recipient. (Surely there must be someone out there who wants my eggs!)

Nomio230 Tue 18-Nov-14 18:47:14

Wow, I have just read all your posts & I am in awe. You seem so strong, going through all this alone, losing weight & still managing to buy a house at the same time. I fall apart every time I see af!

I really hope that someone picks your eggs soon & that your donor sperm work.

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