The reckoning

Ok, so now I’ve finished my egg freezing cycles, I’ve done what I planned to and totted everything up. Out of interest, out of geekery, out of wondering whether there was any pattern that I could see in terms of the drugs I took and the results I got and the length of the cycle.

I have no idea whether the below will be of any interest to anyone but me, but if you are thinking about egg-freezing, it might give you a realistic idea of what you’ll spend, because when they quote a cycle fee, although it includes all scans, consultations and the procedure, it doesn’t include blood tests, sedation, storage, drugs and, as I discovered, they can mount up…

Pre-treatment consultations, scans and blood test                                    £490

Cycle, sedation and storage fee                                                                   £3340
3 x Blood tests                                                                                               £225
5 x 0.25mg Cetrotide                                                                                    £175
1425iu Gonal-F                                                                                              £475
1 x Buserelin                                                                                                  £35
2 x Ovitrelle                                                                                                   £30
Post-op antibiotics                                                                                         £20
TOTAL                                                                                                           £4300
Drugs actually used:
125iu Gonal-F days 2-11  (1250iu Gonal-F)
4 x 0.25 Cetrotide days 8-11
2 x Ovitrelle day 12
Post-op antibiotics
4 eggs collected, 4 eggs frozen

Interim scan and consultation                                                                       £325

Cycle, sedation and storage fee                                                                      £3340
2 x Blood tests                                                                                                  £150
2 x 0.25mg Cetrotide                                                                                       £70
1200iu Gonal-F                                                                                                 £400
Post-op antibiotics                                                                                            £10
TOTAL                                                                                                              £3970
Drugs actually used:
150iu Gonal-F days 2-4, 200iu Gonal-F days 5-8 (1250iu Gonal-F)
3 x 0.25 Cetrotide days 6-8
1 x Buserelin day 9
Post-op antibiotics
5 eggs collected, 3 eggs frozen

Cycle, sedation and storage fee                                                                       £3340
5 x Blood tests                                                                                                   £375
5 x 0.25mg Cetrotide                                                                                        £175
2250iu Gonal-F                                                                                                  £750
2 x Ovitrelle                                                                                                       £30
TOTAL                                                                                                               £4670
Drugs actually used:
175iu Gonal-F days 2-4, 2250iu Gonal-F days 5-6, 300iu Gonal-F days 7-9 (1875iu Gonal-F)
4 x 0.25 Cetrotide days 6-9
1 x Ovitrelle day 10
8 eggs collected, 7 eggs frozen

GRAND TOTAL                                                                                                  £13,755
14 eggs frozen
(About a grand an egg. WOW. Screw you, Fabergé, you have NOTHING on me)

I’d reckoned, on average, a cycle was costing me £4000. So finding out that I spent nearly 14 grand in all was, umm, quite a shock.

That said, that figure includes EVERYTHING – the initial blood tests, the costs of antibiotics after the egg collection, the drugs I didn’t use – everything. And I was fortunate that my very understanding GP agreed to do some of the early blood tests on the NHS.

There are certain things that, with the benefit of hindsight, I could have done differently – or actually, the clinic could have done differently – that would have saved me money.

After the first cycle and before the second I opted to have another scan and consultation because I wanted to check that the cyst that they thought they’d seen in the first cycle wasn’t going to cause a problem in the second cycle (it wasn’t), so that was another £325 that I paid for peace of mind. Which actually was well worth it.

To avoid that, for my third cycle, it was suggested that I came in early on for my first scan (day 2 rather than day 5 or 6) and, as scans during the cycle are covered by the cycle fee, that saved me money. (I know some clinics routinely scan on day 2 anyway to ensure that there’s no reason not to go ahead with the cycle.)

There’s also the drugs/bloods thing. The way it works, in theory, is that you get a scan in the morning and often bloods taken to test for various levels of hormones – they don’t want your oestrogen levels to get too high because then you’re at risk of ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome. So, when the results of those bloods come back, the clinic decides what happens next – same dose of drugs, higher, whether you should stop taking the stimulating drugs and take a trigger shot to prepare you for collection etc etc

The problem is that you have to buy the drugs for every eventuality. So, for example, the day of my last scan, I had to buy 300iu Gonal-F and a Cetrotide shot in case I was going to carry on stimulating for another day, but I also had to buy two Ovitrelle shots in case I was going to take my trigger shot that night. Understandably, you can’t return the drugs you don’t use, and while unopened pens can be kept for the next cycle, as it was my last cycle, and the blood results suggested that I needed to trigger with a single Ovitrelle shot, I’ve got 300iu Gonal-F, a Cetrotide shot and an Ovitrelle shot going begging (half price if you want them.)

Is there a way round this? I dunno. I assume that all clinics sell the drugs themselves – that would make sense – and unless you live next door to the clinic, you can’t very well wait until you get the results until you buy the drugs, especially as sometimes I wouldn’t get the results phoned through to me until after the clinic had shut. I s’pose, in the great scheme of things, wasting a couple of hundred quid on drugs you don’t use is pretty small fry. I just don’t like waste of any kind, so it slightly bugs me.

As for whether the drugs I was taking related to the number of eggs retrieved, well, you have to think yes really don’t you? My doc knew that the third one was my last one and so I think she amped up the doses as a result without, from my perspective, any dire side effects. (Physically and emotionally the first cycle hit me hardest, which makes me think a lot of my physical side effects were psychosomatic). Surely it’s no coincidence that that cycle produced the most eggs? (Although I know, I KNOW, it’s quality rather than quantity.) Obviously I can’t help thinking that more aggressive dosing in the first two cycles would have led to a greater yield, but a) every cycle is different, b) hindsight is a wonderful thing and c) I’m just being greedy so I should just be grateful for what I got.

This post is way too long – seriously, if you’ve got to the bottom of this, you deserve a medal – or a drink – something anyway…






6 thoughts on “The reckoning

  1. Pingback: Fertility Industry Getting Further Away from Do No Harm

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