Our first appointment with the fertility specialist

I was so nervous driving to the fertility specialist. That must be what criminals feel like when they are about to get sentences. The ones with a conscious at least. My husband picked up on this and placed his hand on my leg when we were on our way. Have I mentioned I have the best husband? When we got there, the staff were so friendly and professional. At first we had to fill in all the paperwork, 2 forms for our file. Then a urine sample and then a blood pressure test, for me. We waited a while and then it was our turn to go see the doctor.

First impressions of our doctor, he knows his stuff. He asked what he can do for us, I said we wanted to start the IVF process because I was diagnosed with endometriosis level 4, 5 years ago. He spoke with such praise of my doctor that walked the journey with me to that point, which made me even more at ease. He did a transvaginal sonar just to see for himself what he has to work with. But that would be it. He has the utmost faith in my doctor and reassured me that her diagnosis and treatment is spot on. That is such a comfort to hear. I knew she was good. But hearing it from him felt pretty good. I have been in the best hands throughout this process. But it could have easily been a different story.

He took us to one of the nurses, who explained the whole process to us. When I need to take which medication and when the doctors appointments will be. Which day they will harvest the eggs, and when they will implant again. It is one hell of a schedule. I will be on medication (yes, self injections) pretty much for an entire cycle. Not so keen on the self injection idea, but you got to do what you got to do.

After speaking to the nurse, we moved on to the embryologist. She explained in a lot of detail what happens in the laboratory and each of the steps they go through. As well as the costs involved in the entire process. And yes, an attempt to fall pregnant will cost about R57500 (approximately US$4423), that is with a 55-65% success rate. The biggest cost is for the laboratory work, they have some seriously expensive machines. They also freeze any extra eggs that they don’t use. If they use any of these at a later stage it will cost about R17000 (approximately US$1307) to have them implanted. Further more there is a monthly cost for freezing eggs of R230 per month. In South Africa, medical aids doesn’t cover anything involved in fertility treatments and there is also no government subsidy. So needless to say, not everyone can afford the treatments.

At the end of the visit I was sent home with the instruction to have some blood test done (to check if I am immune against measles, there has been an outbreak last month in Stellenbosch) and my husband still has to submit his semen sample.

There are a few companies offering financing for IVF specifically if you prefer to take out a loan. Here are a few I found on Google (I have not done proper research on them):

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