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Blocked tubes and so blue - Scotland IVF advice

(16 Posts)
PheasantPlucker9 Sun 08-Mar-20 18:58:33

Hello smile
My first time posting on MN. I feel I can't unload any more emotions on my partner.

I am 34 and I live and work in Scotland but I am from an different country in Europe which I visit several times a year. I have my own ob-gyn over there and while I was doing my yearly pap test I mentioned we were ttc for over a year. He took my blood there and then (CD5 and a half) to check my hormones and he called the hospital to book me a HSG test for the following day (CD7).
The blood test results were normal.

The HSG was excruciating, and no wonder as it showed one tube is blocked and the other one has the tiniest passage which can do more harm than good. I was shocked as I only went in for a pap smear and less than 24 hours later I had to deal with this kind of news.

My doctor is experienced in fertility problems and -without pushing at all- he suggested I take some time to think about IVF. The cost over there would be 2.500euros per cycle (with 2 embryos transferred per try) and 1000+ for the drugs plus whatever it would cost to freeze any extra ones.

I had always hoped for a happy accident and us announcing at 20 weeks or so. IVF would mean telling everyone, doing this publicly with my partner's family following every win or failure and mine fussing over me and dumping opinions on me. I am a very private and introverted person and the thought of this fills me with dread.
Please be kind, this doesn't mean I don't love or appreciate our families. They are wonderful and loving and I know they would support the sh*t out of us.

So my thoughts now are, I don't know whether it's better to take time off and do it there (dragging my partner who doesn't speak the language with me) or stay home in Scotland and go through the NHS.
On one hand I know it's more affordable than private IVF in the UK but it is still a lot of money and time away from home and work.

But going through the NHS would be a bit more private and we would be in our own home. Even though I am not sure my foreign doctor's opinion and HSG and bloods transcripts from a different language would be enough for the Scottish GP to refer us quickly. Does anybody come from a different country and know this?

Is one way or the other a no brainer for any of you?
Have you done IVF either in Scotland or abroad and what was the timeline like?

Thanks so much for reading, I have noone to talk to and I keep weeping and munching chocolate. xxx

Tentativelyhopeful Sun 08-Mar-20 20:44:12

Even if you get an immediate referral from a GP you will be placed on a waiting list for NHS IVF. I don't know where you are in Scotland but here in Edinburgh it was a year's wait. Then the whole process for me started 28th December and finished (so far) with my blood test on 20th Feb (which was positive!)

Good luck whatever you decide 🙂 xx

Betsyboo87 Sun 08-Mar-20 21:31:13

We are both British but living elsewhere in Europe and had to weigh this up too. The cost for us was similar either way (no nhs as we’re not UK residents). However we don’t speak the local language and were drawn to the familiarity of being at home in the UK. Like you, we’re quite private and didn’t want to share our treatment with anyone. I completely understand about not telling your families, I love mine but felt the same. We couldn’t have hidden it if we went to the UK. Ultimately we decided to have treatment where we live, mainly as it would disrupt our lives as little as possible which was important to us. Both DH and I have quite inflexible jobs so taking long periods of time off to travel can prove hard, especially trying to fit it in with cycles. I think this would have added too much stress.

Why don’t you speak to your gp in Scotland to see where you stand and get the ball rolling? Knowing the timescales might help your decision. Also speak to the clinic in your home country to find out their timescales and also how long you’d need to be there for. You may be able to have your scans in Scotland and just fly out for EC and transfer.

windy2909 Sun 08-Mar-20 22:13:09

In your position I would stay in Scotland for treatment and get on the waiting list ASAP for treatment. The only people who need to know are people you choose to know. You could go through IVF in Scotland without anyone knowing if you wanted to. I live in Scotland and due to age went private but from what I have read, in some areas in Scotland, the waiting time doesn’t seem to be too long. Just offering my thoughts. Sending you strength and positive vibes x

itwasalovelydreamwhileitlasted Mon 09-Mar-20 05:55:52

I would check your eligibility for treatment on the NHS if you aren't a British citizen - you may not be eligible

kikisparks Mon 09-Mar-20 07:19:13

Timeline for me in Scotland, we’re looking at over 3 years and 4 months from starting to TTC to starting IVF (or 2 years 4 months from going to GP) assuming no other delays happen. We should get 3 rounds on the NHS though, and I was a few years younger than you at the start of the process. I was told they will not put you in waiting list until you have TTC 2 years and waiting list is approx 6 months at the moment in my area.

if I were you I’d contact GP and find out whether having IVF abroad affects your eligibility to have it on the NHS later (they may not know but hopefully can refer you to who does) and if you can do that whilst on the waiting list here. Then you can weigh that up. Also can you see the success rates in the clinic you would use in your area? That may help your decision too.

pinkappleorpineapple Mon 09-Mar-20 07:40:31

Why does IVF mean telling anyone? That's in your control.
I've had treatment in the UK and abroad and my family don't know. You could still announce at 20 weeks if it works.

So many people travel abroad for IVF I don't think your husband not speaking the language is a big barrier, especially as you do.

Did your ob-gyn say your tubes were unblocked after the HSG?

I'd suggest going to your GP and checking what the criteria are, if you're doing IVF both partners would need to be checked.

As another poster says IVF abroad doesn't necessarily mean long stays abroad, though it can mean last minute flights and accommodation bookings which can be expensive. First time abroad I had most scans in the UK. Second time I just went abroad for longer because the cost of all the scans in the UK was equivalent to paying for a hotel and having my monitoring scans done at my clinic.

ellenpartridge Mon 09-Mar-20 07:53:36

In your situation I would do it privately abroad. Good luck.

BambiOnIce80 Mon 09-Mar-20 08:06:57

I don't know where you are in Scotland OP, but we did NHS self-funded IVF in Edinburgh and the waiting list was only 3 months. Cost us just under £5000 all in. My DP is European and this did not effect our eligibility for NHS funding - we just didn't want to wait about because I'm about to turn 40. I've found it all to be very discrete and efficient - I would recommend them. Had long protocol IVF and a fresh transfer (which only had a 15% chance of working due to my age). Got our BFP on the first go at the end of January 🥰

If you've got any questions, I'd be happy to help.x

physicskate Mon 09-Mar-20 08:37:56

Eu citizens are eligible for fertility treatment on the nhs @itwasalovelydreamwhileitlasted. It's only non-Eu citizens who have not yet acquired ilr who are ineligible (ihs does not cover 'fertility treatments' which many interpret as just ivf, but some trusts also interpret as investigations).

As a citizen of an Eu country exercising treaty rights in the uk (and presumably has either settled or pre-settled status), the op doesn't pay the ihs, and is therefore able to access all the same treatments as a resident and domiciled British citizen.

PheasantPlucker9 Mon 09-Mar-20 11:22:32

@Tentativelyhopeful I'm just outside Edinburgh myself. Congratulations on your positive and I wish everything goes great for you!

@Betsyboo87 yes I'm planning on going this week. I didn't know I could have the scans here and the rest elsewhere, I'm very new to this. I will definitely ask for more details. This could take some of the pressure off.

@windy2909 thank you very much. I am not sure what 'ASAP' would mean in my case. I hadn't realised it was a requirement to have tried for 2 years, I thought it was 1. Since I am already diagnosed with infertility by a doctor I trust I hope this will help move things along without having to wait another year for referral.

@itwasalovelydreamwhileitlasted yes, I have lived and worked in the UK for almost 10 years and as @physicskate guessed I do have settled status.

PheasantPlucker9 Mon 09-Mar-20 11:36:04

@ellenpartridge thank you. I really need some perspective on this. One benefit apart from the faster timeline it would be a 2nd treatment further down the line using the frozen ones.

@pinkappleorpineapple I am my parent's only child and they are looking forward to us visiting so much. I wouldn't want to hide the fact I'm back home, doing all sorts of treatments while they're 2 streets down totally unaware. I suppose you're right about the language. I would like him to be involved and able to ask questions but it's not insurmountable. My tubes were not unblocked with the HSG. There was a tiny amount of spillage on the left from the pressure but it's still mostly blocked. We're doing our initial research so we know what to ask and we'll go to the GP in a few days. I wasn't aware I can have the scans here and continue with a different clinic so that's very good to know. I wonder if they'd have to be in touch with each other and share scans? I have a flat over there so accommodation wouldn't be a problem.

PheasantPlucker9 Mon 09-Mar-20 11:39:46

@BambiOnIce80 thank you so much for sharing this. I am so uneducated on the matter I didn't even know about self-funded IVF through the NHS. It sounds great as if you're able to afford it the funds go to the NHS. Is the referral process different? Can I self-refer with my private tests or would I need to repeat them? Congratulations and all the best - such a happy and positive story smile

pinkappleorpineapple Mon 09-Mar-20 11:58:48

I am my parent's only child and they are looking forward to us visiting so much. I wouldn't want to hide the fact I'm back home, doing all sorts of treatments while they're 2 streets down totally unaware.

They would (presumably!) be unaware if you were at it like rabbits TTC the old fashioned way. It's still your choice to tell them or not about the IVF, you would not necessarily have many visits to the clinic and it would keep the pressure off, and you could still see them. You could explain to them at a later stage if you want but if you're genuinely a private person the last thing you need after egg collection is people to update the following day to find out how many embryos you've got if you're not happy with the number yourself.

You need to read a bit more about IVF, not everyone is lucky enough to get embryos suitable for freezing, though hopefully you will. If you do get frozen embryos it is easier (and cheaper) to transfer them compared to starting IVF all over again.

Different areas have different guidelines but with a clear reason you'd hope the GP would do the referral, though there should be other tests. For example, if you're not ovulating in the first place blocked tubes aren't your only problem, or if DH has sperm issues there may be something that can be done about those to increase your chances.

BambiOnIce80 Mon 09-Mar-20 13:17:10

@PheasantPlucker9 I'd been diagnosed with primary unexplained infertility when I started TTC with my XH, so I wasn't expecting an easy TTC journey with my DP (and I wasn't wrong 😏). I went to my GP after 6 months of TTC and they checked my day 0-3 & 21 bloods before referring me to the fertility unit at the Royal because of my age and previous history. I would imagine your GP would do the same for you if you've been TTC for a year and based on your HSG from abroad? It takes several months for the appointment to come through, but you'd then speak to a fertility consultant at the unit and tell them what tests/results you've had so far elsewhere. My doc didn't bother repeating the HSG because my previous one was normal, but they would probably do yours again so that they can see for themselves the nature of the blockage... they may even try and unblock your tubes in the first instance (if it's possible) to give you the chance to TTC naturally 🤞

Once all the tests were done and they've decided if IVF is the way forward for you, you'd be added to the NHS waiting list if you've been TTC for 2 years. If you haven't by that point, they'd ask you if you'd be interested in self-funding and then they'd do the referral paperwork for that immediately if you were. The only delays we experienced with the process was that the embryology lab in Edinburgh shuts down for deep cleaning in the summer and over the Christmas holidays, so that prolonged our wait from the expected 3 months to 6 months - really frustrating at the time, but was plain sailing from thereon out.

I hope this helps and wish you all the luck in the world going forward, however you choose to proceed 🍀🍀🍀

PheasantPlucker9 Mon 09-Mar-20 18:24:19

@pinkappleorpineapple you presume right hahaha. I didn't look at it this way but it does make sense. Yes I do have lots of reading to do. Thank you for replying. I feel isolated and reading other people's takes help me consider more things I hadn't thought of before.

@BambiOnIce80 thank you so much for sharing your journey and for your kind words.

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