IVF abroad - things I wish I'd known . . .
RedPandaFluff · 15/07/2018 18:37
Hi everyone - I recently had donor egg IVF in the Czech Republic and thought some of you might find my "lessons learned" useful. I think I would have valued a post like this when I was doing my research, so thought it might help someone else trying to make a decision whether to have treatment at home or go abroad.
- If you're unlucky and your procedures fall on weekends or holidays, you can end up spending more than you bargained for on flights and accommodation. One set of flights for us ended up costing £300 each due to bad timing - all in all, that one visit cost close to £1000.
- Factor in costs of ultrasounds and prescription meds, and how easy it is to get these in the UK (e.g. is there a UK partner clinic that will issue prescriptions to you?) We spent around £200 on ultrasounds here, and around £400 on meds that we could only get once we were in Prague.
- Find out whether you will be able to communicate directly with your doctor. We had to go through a "patient coordinator" and if we had questions we could only email them and then it could take several days to get a response. This felt like an additional series of obstacles, caused some misunderstandings due to language barrier, and definitely added to my frustrations and anxiety.
- If you go for a "guarantee" package, check for admin fees. We paid for a package that included a FET guarantee - i.e. that there would be at least one embryo to freeze and we were told in emails that the FET procedure is included in the package price. Now that we're trying to arrange the FET, we're being told there is an additional "admin fee" of €700. They managed to hide this as a tiny one-liner in the contract - so although I have emails confirming it's included, we still have to pay the "admin fee" as it's our own fault for missing this in the contract.
- Beware of other hidden expenses - prior to the frozen transfer we've been asked to have another consent form signed and notarised, as the clinic needs one for every procedure. So that's another £80+. You'll also need STD tests and other examinations prior to starting treatment - check that these are included.
I guess the overall point to consider is that if you're going abroad primarily to save money, you might not save as much as you think. Our base package cost was £6500 but in reality we spent around £10k.
I do think I had a bad experience with our chosen clinic - I had to correct them a couple of times when I was there having embryo transfer (nothing serious, just which package we were on etc.) but it was unnerving.
Happy to answer any questions, and good luck to everyone starting out on this path
RedPandaFluff · 16/07/2018 18:28
Ugh. And they just advised me to take the wrong dose of Estrimax for the FET . . . I've had to correct them
HappyHedgehog247 · 16/07/2018 20:32
Thanks for taking the time to do this. Was wondering whether to look abroad as people keep saying it’s cheaper but the hassle puts me off!
RedPandaFluff · 16/07/2018 20:47
It probably does work out cheaper for some people, HappyHedgehog - I think we were unlucky with flight timings and I also didn't understand all the potential extra costs because I hadn't experienced it before, I didn't know what was involved.
I don't think it's all about money, though - some people choose to go abroad because the success rates can be higher than the UK, but even this is difficult to compare. Some clinics consider a "success" to be a live birth; some consider "success" to be a detectable heartbeat at an 8-week scan; others a positive pregnancy test.
I'm happy to answer any questions you might have - if there's any way I can help others going through this, then I really want to! Good luck x
AniSL · 16/07/2018 21:03
RedPandaFluff sounds like your experience wasn't great, its in stark contrast to ours. We knew exactly how much the cycle would cost at the clinic and all the associated fees, we had the option of having scans at the clinic or discounted at a clinic in Harley Street, we opted for a cycle that didnt include the cost of meds and paid for them at Stork Fertility, our clinic have a contract with them. Luckily none of our dates fell on a weekend.
They told us exactly what tests we needed beforehand, we could have them at the clinic which were consiserably cheaper than here in the UK, but thankfully got ours on NHS.
We found our treatment smooth and without any hitches, our coordinator regularly visits the UK and could easily meet her here.
Our treatment for a full fresh cycle, including ICSI, TESE and freezing costs, plus a two week holiday and meds and scans in UK cost us 5.2k - inflated by 1.2k because OH wanted a 5 star 2 week holiday with luxury car hire.
ProfessionalBarren · 16/07/2018 22:20
That is incredibly useful RedPanda thank you. Sounds like your clinic have been taking the piss a bit, how frustrating - the FET fee is a shocker. If you don’t mind please could you PM me their name so I know to avoid them? Going abroad for donor egg is our next step, probably to CZ.
Kannet · 17/07/2018 08:28
We had treatment in Barcelona and we could not fault them. By far the most professional clinic we dealt with.
Kannet · 17/07/2018 08:28
It was not cheaper than U.K. but treatment was so much better
RedPandaFluff · 17/07/2018 22:30
Wow AniSL . . . yes, we've had a very different experience to you, however we needed donor eggs which is possibly a contributing factor to the huge cost difference?
Kannet - totally understand that cost is not the only deciding factor; success rates are crucial. I'd definitely look at Barcelona if and when we can afford another cycle.
PMing you now, ProfessionalBarren - now there's a devastating username . . . sounds like you've had a long hard journey
Blondeshavemorefun · 20/07/2018 20:30
Good point op
Agree about flights. Don’t down reg Oct as means you will be doing ivf at Xmas time. As we found out flights very costly !!!
We didn’t have extra costs for extra forms signed
Drugs we brought over in MADRID
And then the fets my gp did the pesseries and progynova as one nhs prescription bless him. Saving me lots !!!
I was in contact with my English translater - could ring or email and she would reply
Maybe your clinic was a bit naff as I didn’t encounter the problem you did except flights
Rememberallball · 21/07/2018 11:57
Our first cycle of DE IVF in Cyprus last year worked out around £6,000 including flights for 3 people (Mum came with us) and 2 week’s accommodation in a standard hotel on 1/2 board basis. The cost of the IVF part was €4,500. There was a cost for 1 blood test and 2 medications prescribed out there - less than €50 for those. The rest of the meds we needed I was prescribed here and were not expensive. Only scan needed was done by consultant in the appointment with him. Unfortunately the cycle was not successful and we are going back out this autumn after a procedure I’m having done here. We have been given a discount of €2,000 on the treatment costs but other associated costs will remain about the same although there will only be 2 of us travelling not 3 so costs will be lower by 1/3.
scoobette69 · 23/07/2018 06:39
I am looking into Gynolife in Cyprus. Probably Oct-Nov 2018. I am from the US. 48 years old. I need DE. I been told to stay for 20 days includes prepping me. I have no bleeds in 4-5 years. Where did you stay in Cyprus? Pelvic Ultrasounds are $700 USD in US. Ouch! Did you fly to North or South Cyprus? Did you rent a car? Were your rides to and from Airport and Clinics included? Thank You
laptopdisaster · 23/07/2018 06:41
I would add please don't expect your GP to do any IVF related prescriptions. It's technically fraud and puts GPs in a difficult position if you ask. Factor all script costs in privately.
Blondeshavemorefun · 23/07/2018 19:32
Why is it fraud?
For a fet I needed pesseies and progynova tablets
My gp wrote them all out on one prescription
laptopdisaster · 23/07/2018 19:35
Blondes, if anyone had spotted that, your Gp could have been asked to pay for them out of her own pocket. She was probably just naive and didn’t understand the issues. If you’re having private IVF, the whole lot has to be private, as the likely reason for going private is that you’re not entitled to it on the nhs. Even if going private when you are entitled on the nhs the whole episode has to be private.
Blondeshavemorefun · 23/07/2018 20:19
Oh. He was a he lol and think he felt sorry for me as had 4 private ivf failed
laptopdisaster · 23/07/2018 20:58
Lots of GPs do it, they don't realise the issues and possible danger. Sorry, being a she-GP myself I tend to default to she! I do understand what a hideously stressful time it is and I don't make the rules - but prescribing also brings possible medicolegal issues as the person who signs the script takes the medicolegal responsibility. In theory, if the IVF had failed and you'd taken it into your head that the pessaries were the cause of the failure, you could have complained/sued and even though it would have had no basis in fact it would be a huge amount of stress for him.
But I feel I'm derailing this thread which wasn't my intention, so apologies.
Rememberallball · 18/08/2018 19:38
@scoobette69, we stayed at Riviera Beach Bungalows in Girne; out near the American University. It wasn’t the best hotel given our circumstances (had my mum with us and she needed a wheelchair to go anywhere as it was rather isolated) however, it was walking distance from a supermarket, a cinema, couple of restaurants if we hadn’t wanted to eat at the hotel (we didn’t as we’re booked in half board at the hotel) and there was also a bank close by where we could change currency.
The hotel was organised by the clinic and they had had issues finding us anywhere with 2 rooms available as we arrived on the Saturday of a bank holiday weekend with lots of celebrations in Kyrenia so most places were fully booked.
It looks like we will be returning early in October if I can get the report of my recent hysteroscopy sorted out and if the consultant is happy with them. Hopefully the clinic will find us a better hotel this time - and there will only be the 2 of us this time.
You’re welcome to keep in touch via pm if you want as we both approach our trips!!
Rememberallball · 18/08/2018 19:49
Sorry @scoobette69, I didn’t see your other questions and hit reply too soon!!
We flew to Ercan as then the clinic organised transfers to and from the airport and also all clinic visits. If we had flown to the south the transfers would have been an additional €200 and the difference in flights didn’t justify the extra expense. You do need to factor in the stopover at Istanbul as you can only fly to the North of the island via mainland Turkey.
We didn’t hire a car as we didn’t intend to do much that would require driving and, as I’m the only driver (husband’s sight is not good enough for him to have ever learned) I was worried about doing the driving especially after the ET.
There is a clinic near me in outer London that does pelvic scans for approximately £100 so I’m hoping that we will be able to have the day 9 scan here then fly out for day 12/13 rather than day 8 which gives us longer in Cyprus after the ET to rest and recover.
We will probably stay 14 nights again so will be there for 4-5 days afterwards which we didn’t do last year. I am also giving up work before we go this time so won’t be worrying about returning to the UK and having to go back to work. I am almost 47 and using donor eggs again though my clinic are going to change donor this time to maximise my chances of success.
scoobette69 · 19/08/2018 04:25
Thank You for all your help. The English representative for the clinic is not there anymore. Donation Egg Friends cant locate anyone at the clinic that can assist me. Its all a real mess. I am coming from the US. The coordinator name is Eve. I am not sure what to do at this point? I dont know how to PM you on this site. Please tell me. Thank You
Rememberallball · 19/08/2018 07:34
Eve has left but if you use her number for WhatsApp or email you’ll get through to Shenai who was there previously and was our coordinator last time we went. She works from around 2pm local time so, depending on where you are in US, probably mid morning. She is incredibly helpful.
lydcat · 30/12/2018 16:20
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rintusa · 31/12/2018 10:58
I just joined this discussion forum. I have been looking for this type of forum for a long time.
scoobette69, glad to know you are from the US. Am from there still researching on where to go for IVF/ICSI treatment as it is very costly here in the US.
I have been in touch with Kyrenia IVF clinic and Dunya clinic in North Cyprus. Please has any of you used them? If not what are the places you used?
Do you ladies think that going to Cyprus is better than Czechs as I have been hearing a lot about Czechs but I do not know anyone there.
scoobette69 · 01/01/2019 22:22
We chose Cyprus because of safety for US Citizens. The contact with a rep of Gynolife has been difficult. We have plans to travel for treatment end of Jan, 1st part of Feb. We use Viber to communicate with the clinic. I have been post menopausal 5 years now. They can do the entire process in 20 days in Cyprus. We choose to stay about 10 days and do the medicine and a few tests in the US. We looked up reviews in the hotels. We chose Golden Tulip. We are now looking for a gynecologist to fill my hormone treatment here in the US. Also its less expensive to look up airlines that come to the US and lands in Turkey. Try to stay with the same airlines when leaving the US.
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