I suppose its best to start at the beginning, before we embarked on IVF. I met the lovely and cuddly Mrs Rooster nearly ten years ago. We fell in love when we were in our twenties. We had lots of happy times, went on nice holidays together. We got married in 2004.
We first started trying for a family properly in 2006 but knew that our ‘starting a family’ journey wouldn’t be easy. DW had battled with leukaemia when she was a teenager. The total body irradiation they used to save her life sadly made her little eggs all blank.
So in the Spring of 2006 we approached our local National Health Service (NHS) hospital with the hope that they might be able to help us. They said that our local area didn’t have the necessary budget to do assisted conception but they offered to refer us to a bigger hospital in London. I can’t remember whether we contacted them or whether they did it on our behalf but we got a short response back saying that the waiting list for them was approx 2 years – we’d be joining at about position seventy on a queue. This was rubbish news. We went back to our local hospital who then referred us to a private-sector assisted fertility clinic in London. We went to see them. They told us that to overcome the egg shortage in the UK, we could join their international egg donation programme. Shortage of donors (which was caused not least to the changes to anonymity laws in Europe but attitudes towards buying/selling ‘eggs’, and the illegality of paying donors) meant that they performed the fertilisation and frozen embryo transfer (FET) in Ukraine – seemingly a world away but only a three hour flight.
We returned to our local healthcare people with this promising news. Then they dropped the bombshell; they’d be happy to refer us but we’d have to pay the costs ourselves. We weren’t prepared for this; we’d paid £150 ($250) for the initial consultation and our hospital refused even to refund us this… when it was their freakin’ idea to send us there in the first place!! We took some time to reflect on how two newly-weds might rustle up somewhere in the region of £10,000 ($16,000). We were able to use some inheritance money and quite a big chunk of our accumulated life savings to make up the funds. We understood that the treatment did not guarantee success but that because of our ages (early thirties) and general health and fitness that we stood quite a good chance.
We were welcomed into the secretive and taboo-ridden world of assisted conception. We sat in the waiting rooms of a private clinic, wondering about all the other people there – what they were ‘in’ for; how wealthy they were; whether they’d been successful in the past; what the whole experience would be like travelling to some distant land for an unusual medical procedure; but most of all, whether it would work for us. We didn’t want to tell anyone else about it. We thought about whether we could exclude our own parents from the process but we felt that they would want us to be happy and safe, so kept them in the loop.
In my next post I will tell you about our first trip to Kiev in August 2006.