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IVF experts please spill the beans

(50 Posts)
namechangesforthehardstuff Sat 09-Mar-13 17:01:19

Decided we'll start with ARGC in London which is going to cost the best part of dh's arm and leg and possibly a couple of my limbs too sad.

BUT have seen lots of cryptic messages on here about where you can get the drugs cheapish. I need to pm someone for the good stuff or will someone tell me where to get them? Please? smile

And also ARGC say your GP 'might' let you get the incredible battery of tests done on the NHS. So - bearing in mind that many of ours were done more than a year ago - does anyone have any advice on how best to convince my GP to do that?

All advice very gratefully received. Cannot believe how much this is going to cost...

EuroShaggleton Sat 09-Mar-13 17:28:37

I've heard people say that Asda pharmacy sells fertility drugs at decent prices.

I only needed to get my HIV/Hep tests redone for my clinic. The clinic gave me a letter to give to the GP and the GP called me to say there was a blood test form at reception to collect. That was it. But that wasn't a whole barrage of tests.

Tell me to bog off if you like as is it obviously none of my business, but if money is a big concern, can I ask why you have chosen ARGC? The success rates are undoubtedly good, but that might partly be due to them being fairly selective about who they will treat. I considered it, but in the end went for a considerably cheaper clinic - I could do at least 3 cycles there for the price of one at ARGC. Another factor for me personally is that I find medical environments very stressful, so ARGC's full on testing and scanning regime was not appealing to me. So clinic choice is clearly a very personal thing. But I was wondering if you had considered anywhere else. No need to answer. I'm just throwing it out there.

joycep Sat 09-Mar-13 17:30:04

Hi there- we have just been crippled by the Argc costs. As for the tests you can do with your GP- I guess you are referring to the HIV and hepatitis, rubella tests?? I just went into my doctor and said my ivf clinic needed them and could they write me a dated letter once the results came in. They charged me £20 for the letter. Make sure they write in the letter all the exact tests the Argc need. Stupidly I didn't ask my GP to do my husband though so we ended up having to pay for him through the Argc. Keep a copy of your test results and the letter from the GP before you give to Argc. They lost mine and I was running around like a headless chicken trying to get a copy.

As for the drugs- someone may have more advice. I know Asda do drugs for cheap but from various stories from others I think sourcing cheaper drugs can be a lot of stress and I am not entirely sure on the saving. I didn't find out my protocol until the day I started and didn't know what or how many drugs I would need until the first day. I was on short so there would have been no time to source them. However people do do it, I guess it just needs organisation. But don't forget any unused drugs bought through the Argc can be returned. It felt very very good getting £1600 knocked off our bill on egg collection morning.

They are an excellent clinic. Best of luck.

namechangesforthehardstuff Sat 09-Mar-13 17:48:55

Thanks smile it's the success rate yes - I'm 40 so I want to go with what's most likely to work ASAP. I have me real idea of the costs for 3 tries say? 10k for first? But then if we have frozen embryos? Dh apparently OK so no need for ICSI...

namechangesforthehardstuff Sat 09-Mar-13 17:51:02

'No' real idea not me - sodding finger/phone interface

EuroShaggleton Sat 09-Mar-13 17:55:16

joy will be able to give you a better idea of ARGC's costs.

We went for natural IVF at Create - including an extra scan and some blood tests it came in a bit under £3k. If we had gone for a stimulated cycle, that would have been about £3.5k. I know King's charges £3.5k for a privately funded cycle too.

joycep Sat 09-Mar-13 19:12:21

You could keep costs down a lot if you opt out of the immunes testing. I did have the full Chicago tests done - £950 - as I thought my NK cells were an issue. If your cytokines are raised you would have to have humira before you start and I think that is pricey. I did have high NK cells and had to do ivig and that costs £1500 a go. Gulp. Then you get your NK cells tested every 3-4wks and this costs £350 each time. I was retested 3 times on top of the 950. You can see how things can get out of control. But having said that these treatments do save women's pregnancies there. Btw, I do think they find immune issues with everyone.

I was told we wouldn't need icsi either even after EC. Everything is always normal with DH. But we were called an hour later to say they advised icsi. I think they do that a lot unfortunately.

Anyway I think if you think along the lines of the £12k figure you may be close. That's with immunes. But if you do get a bfp - costs still keep rising with scans, a lot of blood tests, clexane, cyclogest and gestone injections (if you are put on this) I think I have read many spend 20k from start to baby. A price worth paying if you get your baby but obviously if things don't work out, it's a bitter pill to swallow.

On their website it says 10% get embryos to freeze.

namechangesforthehardstuff Sat 09-Mar-13 21:53:08

Thanks - there's lots there to think about. I don't know anything about the immune bit for example so will look that up.

On their website they say you need the following tests:

HIV 1& 2 antibodies
Hepatitis C antibodies
Hepatitis B surface antigen
Hepatitis B core antibody

Rubella status
Full blood count (Haemoglobin)
Thyroid function test
High vaginal swab
Ureaplasma and mycoplasma

Follicle Stimulating Hormone
Lutenising Hormone

That does seem like a lot for a GP to say 'Yeah go ahead; have them on us'. Especially given that our PCT seem to fund precisely no-one for nothing. sad Can't even imagine how much it will cost. And the NHS investigations we've had were probably more than a year ago...

joycep Sun 10-Mar-13 08:04:46

The first 4 are a must to get and your GP should do this. They never asked for my rubella status but worth getting your GP to do this as well so at least you know.
They certainly didn't do all of those tests with me. But even if you get LH/fsh/thyroid/progesterone done with your gp , I think they will still retest all these during your monitoring cycle so I wouldn't bother getting these done with your GP.
They also insist that people have an hysteroscopy as they have found it helps implantation. Thats another cost to factor in.

Manda472 Sun 10-Mar-13 08:23:27

Yes to everything above but wanted to try Ally's in Shadwell for drug prices. It's shocking the difference in price when you start calling around. I called him, asda,boots, tesco, healthcare at home and he was the cheapest by far.
I was also 40 and on the top dose of menopur and clomid so injecting about £140 a night in that just that drug alone. Argc sell but they are v expensive. There is a chemist just down the road which I can't remember the name of and he was cheaper than them also.
Also have a look on fertility friends, there's a section on Argc ladies so I'm sure you will get up to date from them.
Good luck to you smile

Manda472 Sun 10-Mar-13 08:25:01

Sorry just read that back and it reads awful- hope you get the gist of it blush

chummy1 Sun 10-Mar-13 10:24:44

namechangedforthehardstuff We are just starting at the ARGC too..... little nervous but it's now or never for us! How is it going? Do you have your appointment yet??

Ollibobs Sun 10-Mar-13 11:02:37

IIRC, we had all those tests done by the GP.... It can't hurt to ask.
Best of luck!

Solars Sun 10-Mar-13 11:20:22

We had our initial consultation with ARGC just last week and I got the list of tests done by my lovely GP. The gp is under no obligation to get them done for you on the NHS but it is worth asking and if they are sympathetic enough they may oblige. Good luck! Also as someone above mentioned there is a whole section dedicated to ARGC on fertility friends with lots of specific advise too.

chummy1 Sun 10-Mar-13 12:47:41

Hi Solars Can I ask was DH required to produce a sperm sample during your first consultation?? ...

My GP has agreed to provide the blood tests
HIV 1& 2 antibodies
Hepatitis C antibodies
Hepatitis B surface antigen
Hepatitis B core antibody
High vaginal swab
Ureaplasma and mycoplasma

I wil pay for the others and probably have them taken locally (Pay GP)

Did your lovely GP undertake all of the tests??

Good luck with your treatment? Is this your first attempt? It will be our first ...

chummy1 Sun 10-Mar-13 12:48:37

Well not 'during' the consultation! lol! (re-read my post and giggled at the thought of DH trying to produce a sample in the corner!!) oh dear...... we are dreading this part!!!!

Solars Sun 10-Mar-13 13:03:56

Haha Chummy grin yes DH had his SA at our consultation. This is our 2nd attempt, the first was on the NHS at Oxford fertility unit. Some of the tests we'd already had prior to our first ivf attempt but the gp also did those. The only one the gp couldn't do was the amh, our pct doesn't offer that. I am having that done at ARGC. If you can't get all of them done before your appointment ARGC can do the other ones for you. Do you have an appointment date yet? Good luck to you too x

chummy1 Sun 10-Mar-13 15:31:47

Ohhh heck! I thought DH must be required to provide a sample on the day.. little bit worried about the pressure of providing one! My friends DH just couldn't do it .... they have a great sex life (no probs normally) .... but he just couldn't ..... eerrgghh! Poor guy was mortified! HOw old can the sperm before when providing a sample?? can you bring one with you that is say fresh by 6-7 hours??? sorry for TMI ........... and thanks for giggling with me!! smile PS yes appointment is mid April smile

namechangesforthehardstuff Sun 10-Mar-13 15:34:46

Thanks for all this guys.

We have an appointment with our NHS consultant who is supremely uninterested in us on Wednesday and then i'm going to send the application to ARGC.

Will google Ally in Shadwell who sounds like the (wo)man to see...

Since I've been on the board I feel so much less like I'm the only one. I must know 20 pregnant women sad and I am not one to share this IRL...

I really feel like taking the BESHtionnaire just to rant about my instadiffer friend who just loves to let me know how she gets pregnant when her husband looks at her. She knows we've been trying...

namechangesforthehardstuff Sun 10-Mar-13 15:38:08

On the bright side have just told dh he'll need to provide a sample on the day and his face is a tonic...

EuroShaggleton Sun 10-Mar-13 16:03:58

chummy the swimmers don't survive long outside the body. For our NHS tests, you could "prepare" the sample at home and then take it to the clinic if you could get there in less than an hour.

TBH though, the onsite tests are good practice for the actual IVF process when the chaps have to do it onsite and under stressful conditions imagine - (your wife or partner is out for the count while someone shoves knitting needles through her fanjo and unless you can come up with the goods, it is all for nothing...).

chummy1 Sun 10-Mar-13 22:09:49

Euroshaggleton you make it all sound so glamorous! Not even going to ask about knitting needles.......... yikes, that's enough to send me running for the hills, let alone poor DH having to produce the goods on demand! God why can't this all happen naturally for us girlies!!!

EuroShaggleton Sun 10-Mar-13 22:20:09

(Knitting needles = the hollow needles they use to suck the eggs out through your vaginal wall. Nice.)

I often wail "Why can't it just take a drunken shag?" Subfertilty is shit.

Zoomania Sun 10-Mar-13 22:43:44

Have you seen the website fertilityfriends? There is so much advice there and threads running on each clinic. There will be lots of people who will be able to advise on specific questions.

Good luck on your journey.

keepitgoing Mon 11-Mar-13 02:01:27

euro grin I think the men have an easy time of it, tbh... I have had hundreds of people look up, prod and scan my foof. He just has to have a wank!

Grrrr to 'my husband just has to look at me'. Ex friend, if she knows you're having issues.

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