Monday, 29 March 2010

The Post Where I Sound Like A Spoilt Brat

This summer, barring any unexpected test results or near-immaculate conceptions, I will have IVF.

IVF that is free (well, Ok I have to pay a piffling amount on prescriptions and will top that off with inordinate sums spent on acupuncture, expensive vitamins, gym membership, organic food and general treats - because this is as good an excuse as any other). But essentially I get not one, but two gratis attempts at IVF.

This is a process people the world over scrimp and save for. That they swallow their pride to beg parents for loans or gifts for. That they sacrifice holidays for (and then someone will have the gall to tell them if they just went on holiday and relaxed they'd get pregnant anyway - I really do wonder why there aren't more fatalities amongst friends of the infertiles). That they take out loans they really can't afford for.

Even people who have access to the same NHS might not get the same benefits, or have to wait longer than me.

I am lucky. Not so lucky that I can get pregnant through sex, but lucky that I have this opportunity.

I know that.

I really do.

The thing, is I'm just not really sure I actually want IVF. I've written about this on Fertility Authority.

So tell me, I can take it, did you read that wanting to smash through the computer grab me by the lapels and tell me how grateful I should be or do you get where I am coming from?



Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Semiotics of Pregnancy Paraphernalia - Part II

If pink is for a girl then blue and chrome is most definitely a man's colour palette.

This packet of vitamins for men (as recommended for the husband by my Doctor) leaves no doubt about its target audience, not just the colour-way which would be equally at home on a midlife crisis-motorbike but the name Wellman (imagine Samuel L Jackson saying the name - I'm sure the design agency did).

This packaging quite literally says:
health
vitality
energy release ('cause we know all our men are just 24 miles short of a marathon).

But to really add to the explicit masculinity of this brand the packet is plastered with bragging and empirical facts.

It tells us it is the:
#1 UK MEN'S SUPPLEMENT BRAND

It boasts of a variety of contents including Siberian Ginseng. None of your cushy, fair-weather ginseng here, this ginseng can withstand Siberian temperatures, it is the Solzhenitsyn of supplements. Only real men can cope with this kind of pill.

And (on the back) it promises us:
MORE THAN 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance [of some of the vitamins and supplements].

Some people might think that this is a bad thing, you know recommended meaning what the experts think is good for you. But not the Wellman man. This is saying "You know when footballers say they'll give it 110% on the field - this is what they are talking about." Grrrr.

And the pictures? No fluffy things like babies and glowing bumps. Instead we have a picture of a real life scientist:

This is backed by science. Science with an OBE. You can't argue with that can you?

But if there is one message it wants to get across: taking vitamins is not sissy.

I dunno about you but I feel like ripping my shirt off and doing some primemal screaming.

And the husband seems sold, so I am expecting great things of his next sperm test.

****

The long promised discussion on pregnancy tests is going to have to wait because, it transpires, I appear to be the only one out of the whole lot of you who actually still bothers with pregnancy tests. (An honourable mention here to Adele who went as far as snapping a pic of a test in the shop). But never fear, I am racing through my stockpile so it'll only be a matter of time before I have a raft of new tests to write about.



Monday, 22 March 2010

How The Other Half Live

I left my last appointment clutching polythene bags with slips of paper attached to them telling me what I needed to get tested, and when. Most of the slips I take along to the my normal bloods centre on appointed cycle days. (Yes, I have a 'normal' blood centre, I really have been trying to get knocked up for too long).

This is the usual drill:

I take a number from one of those machines that are normally located by Deli counters. Assuming there is space I sit on a hard plastic chair, and whiling away the time playing guess the illness from the jaundiced look of the other patients. And trying not to sit too close to the more contagious-looking folk.

Eventually it is my turn, my number gets called and, in a room with five or six other victims, I get blood drawn whilst a nurse chats to her neighbour barely registering my presence. I leave pressing a bit of cotton wool to my wound and await a massive bruise that will appear within 4 to 8 hours.

Today it was quite different. One of the tests I needed had to be done at a private clinic. I don't know why, it was testing my AMH, and maybe this is a more specialist test. So I was sent to a clinic on a street adjacent to Harley Street (a street that was once associated with the finest medical care in London but now has connotations of dodgy plastic surgery piggy-backing on its illustrious reputation).

When I went into the reception both of the young women stopped talking and asked me if they could help.

Imagine that.

The floor was carpeted and wall papered. I'm use to medical establishments making everything wipe clean to get rid of all those nasty bodily secretions.

And in the waiting room, the waiting room that has sofas, they have this month's Vogue rather than a copy of the Metro that some germ-ridden invalid has left on their chair forcing you to choose between boredom or an infectious tropical diseases.

There was no bruising from the efficient, yet caring, blood draw, and when the nurse (in the private room) asked me about my day and wished me a pleasant remainder, she almost sounded genuine.

However, despite the added creature comforts and the luxurious surroundings, it all seems a bit unnecessary. I felt almost nostalgic for the NHS.

The NHS is infuriating and slow and not 'customer-focused' but the NHS gave me three free IUIs, are on the cusp of giving me a couple of IVFs and even paid for my trip to the other side. So they might not give me all the creature comforts of a private clinic, or answer the phone, or give me explanations. But fuck it, what counts is the end result. (Mind you if it all goes tits up I'll be back here bitching).



Friday, 19 March 2010

It Ain't Over Until ... Oh

This week I had one of the most important appointments of my reproductive life. An appointment that I have been waiting weeks for, and hanging all my hopes and future babies' booties onto. So I'm sure you can imagine the one question that has been on my friend's lips, the one thing they have been asking whenever I talk to them.

Yup.


"Have you heard from T?"

Well, here she is to hijack my blog once more with the outcome:

To be honest I had already guessed the ending with a home test on Saturday and again on Wednesday – both negative. The blood test was today, Friday, but in a moment of ‘why the hell not’ I went out last night for a few too many mojitos.

So, early this morning I slink in to the clinic, feeling glum and queasy, ‘Ooh, a pregnancy test’ says the nurse cheerfully, looking in her file. Well, it’s going to be negative anyway, I shrug.

‘But have you had your period?’ she asks. Well no, I say, but two negative pregnancy tests are kind of a clue. Plus I don’t feel anything.

‘That doesn’t mean anything – I didn’t feel anything when I had my first. But you are still taking your progesterone tablets no?’. No, I reply, I stopped them yesterday, they’re horrible and slimy and there’s no point (I restrained myself from adding that last night I feasted on mojitos and unsuitable seafood, thinking that would just upset her).

‘But Madame (for this is all going on in French), you know that it does not show up in the pee until four days after we do the blood test.’ I give her my best Gallic shrug, but make an internal note to self: must pass on that little gem to the blogsterhood. (Though Liz now tells me that is nonsense – any views on that anyone?)

‘It’s true, otherwise we would just be telling people to test themselves’. Well, if you say so, but I am not optimistic. If it’s positive I will buy you all a drink.

‘Ooh great, we look forward to that! We will call you in a few hours’. Fine, I say, rolling down my sleeve, having not even felt the needle going in during this rather perturbing conversation, you have given me a shred of hope.

‘That’s good – speak to you later!’. Hmph, I think to myself, don’t you realise, how long have you been dealing with infertile women, hope is Not a Good Thing.

I leave the clinic and call my fella - Aaaahh! They’re messing with my head! We arrange to meet for lunch, and I go in to work, trying to keep a lid on that sneaky bitch Hope with the weight of grim, inevitable, reality, and some dull legal reading for good measure.

And so they call. And the inevitable happens. And I don’t mean in an ironic way. No twist in this tale. It was negative. And she tells me off again for having stopped the progesterone. But she does book me in with the Doctor on 30 March to see what happens next. In the meantime I can celebrate the arrival of spring with some more mojitos and not give a damn.

I believe the correct term is arsewipes.

But never fear, next weekend she has to put up with me and three other mates
descending on her gaff for commiserations and cocktails. The husband isn't allowed because chances are we'll be getting hot, sweaty and naked together ... which will be a good chance for them to admire my new hair-do.

***
Edited to add: I'm not sure what happened but apparently you couldn't add comments to this before. Seems to have been resolved now, so show T some love!



Thursday, 18 March 2010

Slowly Does It

My appointment today was good, almost all good.

The IVF consultant has fiddled around my lady-bits many a time before. It was him who diagnosed the Endometrial hyperplasia back in January 2009. Despite all this, and having all my notes in front of him, he was still thorough getting me to talk through my cycle lengths, previous IUIs and what investigations I have had. An ungenerous soul might suggest this was because he couldn't be bothered to look it all up, luckily for him today I feel generous.

Rather than launch straight into the IVF he has ordered another battering battery of tests. Which I am really pleased about, if we are going to do this I would much rather a delay starting knowing all bases are covered than a failure or cancellation because they find something too late. So I have been sent off with chits for blood tests coming out of my ears arms and the husband had to donate some amber liquid today and will be heading back for a wank at some point in the next few weeks.

Today, just as a warm up, I had a blood test and a couple of cervical swabs (and thankfully the thrush has flown my significantly depleted nest).

Most importantly, as far as I am concerned, they are going to go back into my womb with a camera to check whether the endometrial hyperplasia has grown back since it was last cleared in July. I'm delighted because I have a sneaking suspicion (based on nothing other than my decidedly shaky female intuition) than the lining is the problem, and without implantation pregnancy is never going to happen - I know, don't say I never teach you anything.

But obviously this all takes time. Plus available appointments with this doctor are as rare as a warmed speculum (and are further stretched by the fact that he is away for all of April on paternity leave, something Alanis Morrissette might consider ironic). So my next appointment when he will go through the test results and decide, based on them, how to tailor the IVF (assuming nothing is thrown up that prevents IVF occurring) isn't until the 10 of June.

Which means I have three more months of waiting with intermittent tests on various predetermined cycle days.

You may well ask why, as these are all fairly standard tests needed before IVF, the last doctor didn't order them in advance whilst I was waiting seven weeks for this appointment. You may ask but quite frankly asking those kinds of questions just leads to anger and frustration and what is done is done and never mind. (Breath, Liz, keep breathing).

But on the plus side I guess it gives me three more months to become THAT girl. You know, the one who gets pregnant whilst waiting to start IVF.




Oh, I crack myself up I really do.


***********

Long-time reader and commentor Amanda/Corymbia's husband was tragically and suddenly killed in a car accident on the first of March. Please flood her with support. I cannot imagine how utterly devastating this is for her and it certainly puts any of my little niggles into perspective.



Monday, 15 March 2010

Mind Games

Over the years there have been any number of signs that I have interpreted as sure-fire indications that I am pregnant; sore teeth, a movie selection, IUI ...

And to date none of them have been in any way prescient. So you'd have thought I'd have learned my lesson.

Not a bit of it.

This month's sign was The Thrush.

I have been struck down with a downstairs fungal infection. And casting my net wide for the cause I was pretty sure I'd seen it somewhere on a two-week-wait symptom list on the worldwide net.

Why I decided that this was the only explanation for my third ever bout of thrush can be attributed solely to wishful thinking. Most likely it was my flange finally rebelling, after years of cold speculums and over-lubricated dildo-cams. The final straw was my pre-scan waxing last week. A waxing so severe that, rather than a Brazilian, I was left with a Hitler 'tache. (And a realisation that no, intimate internal investigations had not actually rendered me immune to any embarrassment; lying on my front holding my butt cheeks apart whilst hot wax was being torn from my tenderist of skin I discovered my threshold).

But I digress.

I told myself not to be ridiculous and trotted off to buy some special, soothing cream. But the instructions gave me the green light I was looking for as it specifically forbade its use on the pregnant.

"Well," I reasoned as a scrabbled around furiously in the cupboard finding and unwrapping a pregnancy test in record time, "I'm only checking because it is better to be safe than sorry."

It took just three minutes for the test to confirm that I wasn't pregnant (of course I wasn't, I only had my period two weeks ago and don't seem to have ovulated yet so we were talking biological impossibility). But during that time I had mentally composed the blog announcement and come up with what might have been my best blog post title ever "A Little Birdie Told Me..."

Wasted.

So we go on, just three days now until my initial IVF consultation.

I'll tell you something, even though I should be ovulating any day now there is no chance that I'll get pregnant this month.

Because I've got an itch, but the husband can't scratch it.


Friday, 12 March 2010

You Are What You Eat

Do you remember me boasting about my fantastic diet? How I consume virtuous green vegetables and bowel-moving whole-grains by the bushel full?

Its not always like that, one day last week through a mixture of circumstances and sloth, my entire day's calorie intake was made up of (in this order):
  • 1 grab-bag packet of Doritos (Cool)
  • 1 small bowl of tepid French onion soup (no crutons)
  • 1 small packet of lightly salted kettle chips
  • 1 double decker
I had two choices, beat myself up for turning my temple of a body into a brothel, or post rationalise. And Ladies, I have found an excellent excuse should my diet turn to shit again.









Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Book Review: What To Do When You Can't Get Pregnant

There was no way I was ever going to be able to resist a book called What To Do When You Can't Get Pregnant (discovered whilst browsing in my local library). I thanked providence. This was it. A sign. Surely I held in my hands the very secret that we have all been searching for.

In fact the book's subtitle is more accurate: The Complete Guide To All The Technologies For Couples Facing Fertility Problems.

Basically it tells you what your medical professionals are likely to offer you once you've come to the conclusion nature is not going to cut you any slack.

I went away this weekend so this was my train-journey read, I wasn't all that keen on wearing my reproductive deficiencies on my (book) sleeve so, with the help of another fly-jacket I devised a masterful plan.

Now you see it:
Now you don't:
Oh, I'm all about the cunning.

The book was conceived (geddit?) by a woman undergoing fertility treatment, and she coerced her Doctor (who is also the father of two children as a result of fertility treatment) into co-authoring. The author’s avowed aim is “a book written in a conversational voice from the patient’s perspective describing what to expect during fertility treatments.”

And this is I suppose my first issue with the book. It doesn't seem to know if it is a conversational chat from one infertile to another or a serious discussion about medical procedures. So it sometimes jars as it strays from the scientific to the subjective. For example discussing the ideal candidates for egg freezing we have:
  • Under 35
  • Good health
  • FSH normal for age

and ...

  • Believes family is important.

Huh? Bit of a leap isn't it? And yes, whilst you probably wouldn't freeze your eggs if you didn't have strong views about a family I doubt it actually affects your ability to successfully complete the process.

And there were other chatty asides that annoyed me. Particularly the constant rolling-eyed jibes at our menfolk. It used phrases like "convincing your partner to see a urologist" and suggesting you take your partner with you to appointments because "he'll feel more involved in the process." The implication being your partner is trudging along dutifully but really we both know it is only ever the women who really want this.

After three and a half years of being unable to get pregnant I feel like a bit of an infertility veteran. So there were great swathes of the book that I only skim-read because they were either irrelevant (male factor infertility), old hat (try giving up caffeine, exercising more, cutting down on alcohol, acupuncture - check, check and check again), or been there, done that (sex, IUI).

So it was the IVF chapter that was most relevant to me. And it was good. Really clear, and gave me a good idea of what to expect (mainly endorsing what I had read elsewhere, but there were a few new useful nuggets). The author put a massive emphasis on staying as flat as possible for the 72 hours after the transfer; cautioning against sitting up for anything other than meals, not showering for three days and only using the stairs a maximum of once a day (which sounds unworkable unless you have a bedroom upstairs and downstairs!). Those of you that have had IVF, was your doctor as cautious about post-transfer activity??

To be honest I stopped reading after the IVF chapter.

A quick flick through the rest and I discounted the chapters for various reasons, 'what next' (donor, adoption, childfree living) I decided I could deal with at a later date if necessary. 'Specialist information' seemed relevant to some folk - fighting x-linked genetic diseases, designer babies - not applicable just now. 'What to tell your child regarding its conception' - reckon I've got a good few years before crossing this particular bridge (and at the moment can't envisage it being a problem - if I do have a child through IVF I see absolutely no reason for keeping it quiet like a shameful secret).

Overall, it was readable, clear and had some good information. However it didn't quite live up to the promise of its title - turns out there is no magic thing to do if you can't get pregnant.

So interesting if you are about to have fertility treatment. But otherwise I'd recommend Lustrum by Robert Harris over this book any day.




Sunday, 7 March 2010

Adventures In IVF

I've mentioned a couple of friends who are also battling with this whole infertility gubbins. One of them, the lovely T, has just had her IVF and her regular email updates have been brilliant, giving me the head's up on what to expect when it is my turn.

I thought you ladies might appreciate knowing how they do it on the continent so she agreed to write a guest post. I leave you in her very capable hands...


Hello everyone.

I am the friend Liz mentioned who joined the TTC game quite recently – we had our first “Something is not right” visit to the doctor back in October 2009. It was therefore something of a surprise to be catapulted into IVF preparations January, and, on top of that, for the first IVF cycle to be over less than two months later.
I am definitely more of a stalker than a blogger, so please forgive me if I lack the razor sharp wit and pithy insights of all you experienced bloggers out there. I hope all the same that that my experiences are insightful for those of you facing this particular hurdle.
There is no getting round it - IVF is a big deal. No more gently nudging Mother Nature along, tempting her out of her slumbers with zinc and folic acid, or trying to out-smart her with ovulation tests and calendars. With IVF we are strapping her to a hormone-fuelled rocket and launching her into space. It involves grave risks and some difficult decisions, which are matters for another day. However, as I thankfully discovered, it can also be a relatively quick, painless and trauma-free experience.
Why IVF?
People get to IVF for any number of reasons. The reason we got there – and got there so quickly – was a sperm test in early January that revealed zero motility. It was rather unfortunate to discover it on the day we were supposed to have an IUI, but that’s another story. It had of course been tested before and the numbers were low (below 5%) but apparently viable for IUI. However, in December, Boyfriend (let’s call him B) had undergone major surgery (unrelated to his man bits) and his sperm production had simply closed up shop. No problem had been identified on my side (cycles as predictable and painless as a Swiss train journey). The conclusion of the IVF specialist at the end of January was that with zero motility, and a year and a half of trying, IVF with ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection - they inject it directly into the egg) was the only option. The option of waiting for B’s sperm to improve was briefly discussed and then dropped, given that they were so low pre-operation. So he filled in the paperwork, explained the process, and told us to call the clinic when my period started, which is when the treatment starts.
What’s the process?
As Liz has mentioned, IVF treatments can vary hugely between clinics and between patients. It was a surprise to me that IVF cycles can last either a couple of weeks or a couple of months, and that different drugs can be used – especially for the suppression, which can be administered in different ways (sprays and injections) and at different times in the cycle. One thing I would recommend is to find out what protocol they propose to use for you, and why.
In my case it was quite short – basically two weeks from beginning to end.
      Day 3: To the clinic for a baseline blood test and echography. The doctor issues me with a shoe-box sized box of syringes, needles, capsules of Menopur (a “FSH” - follicle stimulating hormone) and the little glass bottles fluid you have to mix it with, and explains how to do the injections. I dutifully started on 150mg of Menopur that evening.
      Days 4 – 7: Daily injections of Menopur. Gradually, my belly is beginning to tingle inside and to swell, making the injections harder.
      Day 8: Back to the clinic for blood test and echography. The good news is that she finds 7 follicles on the right, between 11 - 12mm, and 4 follicles on the left (although hiding behind the uterus to hard to see). She gives me the suppressant injections (Orgalutran, containing ganirelix, a GnRH antagonist, which comes in pre-filled syringes), which I have to add to my evening injections. B meanwhile has another sperm test, which shows motility of 25% - a huge improvement. (He had been taking Flixar - a supplement containing selenium, zinc and other goodies – which may have had something to do with it, but who really knows).
      Day 11: Back to clinic to check progress: there are now in total 15 follicles, around the 16mm mark, with one at 19mm. They are “ready” when they reach 20mm, and grow at about 2mm a day, so we are nearing boiling point.
      Day 12: Back again – follicles are now between 18mm and 20mm. It seems like we are there: doctor says to stop the Menopur, do one last injection of Orgalutran and this evening, at 23h30 precisely, do the trigger short of Pregnyl (an HCG).
      Day 13: a day of rest…
      Day 14: Collection day. A drug-induced haze, but they manage to collect 13 eggs. The results of B’s sperm sample are even better than expected – now up to 38%!
      Days 15 - 16: Two days off work to rest. Clinic calls to say that of the 13 eggs collected, 3 were not mature and 3 exploded when they did the ICSI, so only 7 were injected. Of these seven, 6 were fertilised. There is definitely cramping (slightly more than period pains) and still a bit of swelling, but much less, and nothing to lessen the pleasure of spending the day in my pyjamas on the sofa under a blanket, with a big book and a cup of tea. On the second day I am out and about, doing errands and enjoying the guilty pleasures of weekday shopping and teashops. I also started with the Utrogestan – the progesterone capsules which I am to take for the next two weeks, which are charmingly administered vaginally (but it could be worse… some people have the pleasure of rectal suppositories).
      Day 17: Embryo transfer day. Of the 6 embryos, 3 were “not good” and unusable, and 2 were “ok”, but one was “perfect”. Well, that’s all we need. So they transferred the one perfect one, and said they would see how the other 2 ok ones develop, and depending on their quality, freeze them as blastocysts.
So much for the procedure, the real question which all would-be IVF-ers will want to know (at least I did) is what it feels like. I find that knowing what to expect helps hugely in dealing with whatever comes. That said, everyone will experience it differently, both physically and emotionally, so just take this as one person’s experience.
How were the injections?
They started off fine, even though I was on my own in the beginning (B was travelling for work). I went for the “do it quickly, get it over with” technique, which I am great believer in, just like tearing off plasters, waxing legs, or pulling out wobbly teeth in small children. Then B came back and helped, and it became harder to ‘just do it’. The hand hesitated and it began to hurt. At this stage, my belly was getting swollen and sore, with a few big purple bruises appearing. The injections felt like pricking a big balloon. The swelling itself was also getting uncomfortable – waking me up in the night, I could almost feel my insides being pushed out of the way by overgrown ovaries (as the nurse explained, they go from being the size of walnuts to the size oranges, so this discomfort was all quite normal). It was a great relief to stop the Menopur injections.
How was the collection?
This was done in the day surgery under local anaesthetic; a general anaesthetic was offered, and would have been necessary had the left ovary not dropped into reach of the doctor’s instrument. The great thing was that B there all time, George Clooney-like in his blue surgeon’s outfit, his hand always within reach. Since I was under the influence of the tranquiliser, and have only dreamlike memories of what actually happened, he was able to follow everything, and have sensible conversations with the doctor, the nurse, the biologist etc. It basically took the morning, and the surgery itself took less than half an hour. We then went back to our room for a big snooze for an hour or so, until I was awoken by the need for a proper bacon and cheese burger. So off we went for a nice lunch and a wander in the sunshine. The anaesthetic started to wear off just as we got home – a bit of stabbing pain - but I avoided the worst of it by slipping into a deep sleep on the sofa all afternoon.
How was the transfer?
The transfer itself was painless and quick – by this stage you are used to people fiddling about your bits… Afterwards I was told to lie down for a few hours and then to get on with normal life. Good luck, and see you in two weeks, the nurse said cheerfully.
How much time should you take off work?
Of course this depends on the treatment and how people react. The clinic signed me off work for a week from the collection, but said that usually people find that after a few days they are feeling back to normal. I was feeling ready to go back the day after the transfer.
What next?
So it’s now a question of getting back to real life, and keeping as busy as possible to take my mind of it all for the next two weeks. We are of course looking forward to the result, but not desperately so: as long we don’t know, it is at least possible (which brings to mind something about cats and boxes - oh the joys of TWW psychology).
At the same time, we are telling ourselves that it is quite likely that it will not work. But as I said to B, the thing we should be pleased about it that we survived unscathed and responded well to the treatment. More than that, given the huge improvements in B’s sperm results, we are hopeful that, if IVF doesn’t work this time round, we can maybe go back to a more softly softly approach. Mother Nature, come back, all is forgiven.
We shall see.
So there you go, a first hand account and pretty much in real time, she only had the transfer yesterday so we are all in the dark about the outcome. Please leave T lots of luck in the comments and I'll let you know how it pans out.



Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Bargain Babies

Following on from my last post, there is of course a chance that IVF number one and two, and whatever bonus frozen embryo transfers are thrown in, won't work. So it was heartening to read about the latest price war being waged by our major supermarket chains.

Having chased the family pound, pink pound and grey pound they are casting their nets wider and netting ... What? ... The overly-stretched-by-fertility-proceedures pound (there must be a snappier phrase, ideas in the comments section please).

The latest loss-leaders being pushed by these ruthless retailers are the drugs for IVF with ASDA (a company buoyed up by Wal-mart backing) offering the drugs at cost price. This doesn't affect individuals going through IVF on the NHS as the standard prescription charge of £7.20 still apply for these. But, once exhausted of state-sponsored options, and whilst foraying in the murky waters of private treatments prescription charges sore (both as in going up and hurting a hell of a lot more).

See ASDA’s press release about the new charges here.

Now I’ve been accused of too much cynicism before, even called up on it. But in this case I doubt the supermarkets are going to defend their decision as being based on a genuine concern for the plight of the infertile. Which means somebody somewhere has done their calculations and figured out that we are a group worth targeting. The give away line in their statement was:

“Infertility is the most common reason for women aged 20-45 to see their GP after pregnancy itself and affects 3.5 million people in the UK.”

You can almost hear them rubbing their money-grabbing little hands at the thought of all those 20 to 45 year old DINKYs out there.

And quite frankly, BRING IT ON.

If they think hauling me through the doors for cut-price drugs will keep me loyal through the nappy, formula, and over-priced jars of baby-food years then that is fine with me. I have no problem with being a charity case.

It is also worth mentioning, in the interest of impartiality, that according to this story Sainsbury's are promising the match the price. And apparently, many private clinics who buy their drugs wholesale, already offer reduced drugs prices. But it certainly does seem to be a idea to shop around.

So tell me Statesiders – do Wal-mart offer the same deal?



Monday, 1 March 2010

February Made Me Shiver

Well thank fuck February has ended.

Was it just me, or is it the most miserable, dreariest of months? Considering it is the shortest month in the calendar it seems to drag itself, out milking the full four weeks for all it was worth. And writing something interesting, or witty or even coherent has been mostly beyond me. (And I don't want any of yous telling me it always was beyond me - a girl can dream).

So instead, for you ladies in the UK, I found a great little table the other day. This tells you what your primary care trust (translation for the stateside ladies - local area) will fund in the way of IVF.

Considering we are all one happy National Health Service I was amazed by different conditions they put on it. With 39 seeming to be the maximum age for funded IVF. And I find it a little uncomfortable that there is a length of relationship criteria, with many areas specifying the relationship must be at least three years old, which seems to me to spill a little to far into moral judgements, at least none specify the couple must be married. (And what if you meet the love of your life when you are 37? After two years of trying will they tell you you're too old for IVF?)

I'm phenomenally lucky that my trust will fund 2 IVFs, (assuming the first doesn't work, I can't 'carry one over' for a second child). So with the clinic I'm going to boasting a 50% success rate. Two shots makes it a 100% certainty it'll work.

Doesn't it?

Oh.

Statistics was never my strong point.