NHS - can I elect to freeze all?

(40 Posts)
Youngatheart00 Tue 15-Oct-19 18:33:18

I’m undergoing my first cycle (NHS funded).

Can I request that the embryos are frozen rather than proceeding straight to a fresh transfer?

OP’s posts: |
KatnissMellark Tue 15-Oct-19 18:34:48

You can ask, bit is be surprised if they did so without a clinical reason. Why do you want to?

Goingbacktokansascity Tue 15-Oct-19 18:38:24

Think they’d be hesitant as risk you’d lose them during defrosting. What’s the reason?

Youngatheart00 Tue 15-Oct-19 18:39:57

It relates to a potential job change and potentially losing access to maternity pay if I went straight through with the fresh cycle

OP’s posts: |
Goingbacktokansascity Tue 15-Oct-19 18:42:11

I would call up and ask for a phone call with the consultant but my gut says no. How far into this cycle are you? Could you postpone the whole cycle?

Youngatheart00 Tue 15-Oct-19 18:44:21

Treatment has started. If I abandon I will lose my one funded cycle. I feel incredibly stressed. 😔

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Goingbacktokansascity Tue 15-Oct-19 18:57:22

Could you stay in the job you’re in for the maternity leave? If you’re about to be made redundant or something let them know you’re going through ivf they might not want to let you go for fear of being seen as discriminative.

If it’s just you’ve got a better opportunity elsewhere then suck it up for a few years and reapply because you'll regret not taking that funded cycle at the age. Although if it’s a pay rise and you just want to be in the job for minimum amount of time to be entitled to mat benefit then you could work out if it’s cost effective to take the new job

Goingbacktokansascity Tue 15-Oct-19 18:58:21

I can sort of relate. We started fertility treatment while I was in a job I disliked (still in this job) but I needed the security of maternity pay!

Youngatheart00 Tue 15-Oct-19 19:08:59

@goingbacktokansascity yes, that’s the dilemma. Really don’t like current job and new job would be step up in responsibilities and considerable pay rise. I am minded to discuss with clinic and see what the options are. If it’s a flat no, I’ll accept that. Alternative is to go ahead and resign and take the chance I could be starting new job pregnant (with the added complication of being on 3 months notice!) and just try and cope with very little mat leave. I guess they do it in America.....

OP’s posts: |
VirtualHamster Tue 15-Oct-19 19:12:42

You'd still qualify for maternity leave if not pay, and you'd be eligible for maternity allowance though wouldn't you?

Goingbacktokansascity Tue 15-Oct-19 19:21:00

You could cope with very little mat leave but would you want to? I would be much further ahead in my role if I’d gone back at 4 months due to opportunities but I took 9 months and it’s been the best 9 months of my life with my little best friend. You’ve got your whole life to work, and opportunities will come up, but you’ll never get those baby moments back. It’s completely individual of course, my friend is a DCI in the police, took 12 weeks maternity leave and went back and was fine, she loves her job!

WhittlingIhopMonkey Tue 15-Oct-19 19:26:29

I'd place fertility treatment over job offer. Assuming you are under 40 you've 25 years or so to find a different job. You cant say same about having a baby. Suck up the shit job for now, and all going well you'll be off on ML and it wont matter anyway.

KatnissMellark Tue 15-Oct-19 19:37:15

Definitely prioritize your fertility treatment (eight rounds under my belt). It is shit and super frustrating but you never know how long things might take. Use your one NHS round and if it doesn't work maybe start a new job whilst having a break and deciding on your options.

Youngatheart00 Tue 15-Oct-19 19:45:34

@katniss oh wow, 8 rounds. My heart goes out to you! I’m only a week or so into my first cycle and I’m already wondering how people do this time and time again.

I think that’s good advice, thank you

The job in question won’t come up again (v unlikely anyway) so I’d need to decide what would be the worst outcome

- joining the new company already pregnant and not entitled to mat pay (although policy states still entitled to leave)

- turning down this offer and then finding out the IVF has failed and I’m stuck

OP’s posts: |
AnotherEmma Tue 15-Oct-19 19:47:24


Unless your current employer offers enhanced maternity pay, a change in job is unlikely to make a significant difference.

If you stay in your job you will be entitled to SMP which is 90% of your salary for the first 6 weeks and then £148.68 for the next 33 weeks.

If you change jobs (and employers) you will not get SMP but you will get Maternity Allowance which is £148.68 for 39 weeks.

So the actual financial difference will be minimal. If you earn £500/week, the difference will be about £1808. So it's up to you to decide whether it's worth staying in a job you dislike for a bit longer, or giving up on the IVF you presumably want, for the sake of £1808. (Obviously depending on your earnings this figure could be higher or lower.)

If you get enhanced maternity pay in your current job you should consider staying put - although check the contract/policy because it may well say that you'll have to pay it back if you don't go back after maternity leave.

SMP does not have to be repaid if you don't go back.

Youngatheart00 Tue 15-Oct-19 19:53:50

There is an excellent maternity pay policy at both my current and potential future employer so there is quite a lot of money at stake if I walk away from it.

But having a child is the priority. But a 3 month difference in conception (frozen vs fresh) could be the difference between nil and £20k

OP’s posts: |
AnotherEmma Tue 15-Oct-19 20:05:10

£20k?! Which job offers £20k worth of enhanced maternity pay and can I have it?!

Youngatheart00 Tue 15-Oct-19 20:10:58

The occupational allowance is four months full pay. I know I’m fortunate which is why the dilemma is ever harder.

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Goingbacktokansascity Tue 15-Oct-19 20:13:39

It’s definitely a tough choice! If I were you I’d stick. You’re obviously well qualified and educated to be on £60,000+ a year so I think other jobs will come up. I think I’d do any job for that maternity pay!

LillyLeaf Tue 15-Oct-19 20:21:17

It's so hard putting your life on hold due to fertility. I'm staying in my job due to the good maternity pay, I would love to leave. I think you'll just need to see what your clinic says, surely they can't force you to go ahead with a transfer? Maybe you'll have to pay for the future FET?

moggle Tue 15-Oct-19 20:23:37

Many public sector / gov jobs offer 6m full pay so could well be 20k. Of course maternity allowance isn’t zero, and both are taxed, but still, if OP is a high earner it’s quite likely.

Its a common story amongst eventually-successful IVFers but I do regret not trying to get further up the ladder both during the 2 yrs trying for DD (finally conceived withIVF) and then again in the intervening years while having failed frozen cycles for her sibling, who turned out eventually to be twins. However my job was a pretty low grade civil service job. I’ve now had to take a 2 yr career break due to childcare costs for the twins and tbh my career is up shit creek as I’m still in my low grade job facing 40, And now with 3 kids it’s very hard to find the time and energy to job search, update CV, etc let alone finding something that works with a family life.

Anyway- it’s not like they can force you to consent to the embryo transfer, plus many women who develop OHSS end up with a freeze-all cycle anyway, so it’s not like it’ll be beyond their experience; however I don’t know if a NHS centre would be willing to store your eggs or perform the frozen cycles after. You might need to find a private clinic to pay to store them and willing to do a frozen cycle on embryos they didn’t create. But, both those things are much cheaper than a fresh cycle.

For all that. If I was in your shoes I probably would stay in my current job if getting them all frozen was impossible; even if now I would say, take the new job and worry about mat leave later- hopefully better job satisfaction and higher pay overall will outweigh that in time . Very difficult. It’s easy to say that from my perspective now. I haven’t forgotten the paralysing indecision of those years. If only we had crystal balls.

Youngatheart00 Tue 15-Oct-19 20:28:00

@moggle “paralysing indecision” is about right!

I’m hoping I can string along the new offer for a while, (‘negotiating’) to at least get me to a test.

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AnotherEmma Tue 15-Oct-19 22:09:29

I'm afraid I don't have huge amounts of sympathy given that you earn £60k.
Your choice is suck it up and accept that you'll lose out on £20k enhanced maternity pay, or abandon the IVF on the NHS and pay for private IVF at a time that suits you.
I guess it depends how much private NHS costs, if it's less than £20k it might be worth waiting?

AnotherEmma Tue 15-Oct-19 22:09:53

private IVF

Lauren83 Tue 15-Oct-19 22:17:34

Some people are too unwell to have a fresh transfer or struggle emotionally so freeze all and the NHS support this

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