PREVIOUSLY on STYLE & LIFE by SUSANA:

Meeting with the IVF Nurse, Accounts Manager and collecting the drugs!


Keep calm & Prepare for IVFSo here we are again about to start another new cycle with the third IVF clinic. I recently had an appointment to sit down and meet with my IVF nurse to go over my upcoming cycle.

She went over what drugs the Specialist has prescribed for me, what each one involves, how they are to be administered, what they actually do, all the blood tests and ultrasounds, what happens at egg collection and after egg collection. I would have to say she was really lovely and very helpful. It’s amazing having a caring sympathetic nurse, it really helps you along your journey as somebody you can turn to whenever you have a question about the whole procedure or if you are ever confused as to what time you’re supposed to take the one of the injections. With the first clinic, I unfortunately had nurses who had no heart whatsoever. They just didn’t give you the time of day and just made you feel like you were wasting their time with your questions.

FYI – you are in your right to ring the nurse as many times as you like to get the answers you need (regardless how many times) to make you feel better and calmer. You are paying them the big bucks for that right. DO NOT allow them to make you feel any less or that you are wasting their time. I hate to say it this way, but you are paying their weekly wage while under their care.

Antagonist Instructions

Antagonist Instructions

After the meeting with the IVF nurse, we then met with the accounts department to go over the costs and pay upfront the first instalment. When my husband and I were told the complete total cost of this cycle we were floored! Our mouths fell to the ground and we both had stunned mullet looks on our faces. We were completely stunned.

OK, we knew more or less it was going to be a bit more expensive this time round due to the extra tests and basically this new specialist who is pretty much the best in Melbourne but still, we were shocked. My poor husband even said to the Accounts Lady, that he was starting to sweat with the total figure.

This cycle in complete total will cost my husband and I almost $17,000.00!

Yep thats right. $17,000.00. That is pretty much the cost of a brand new small car.

But you know what? If this cycle ends up working and I finally after all of these years, finally become pregnant and carry a child to term, then all that money, the crazy roller coaster hormone mood swings and weight gain is all the more worth it!

Here is a breakdown of the costs but know this is for a subsequent cycle because I’ve just had a previous cycle this year already:

  • First instalment: subsequent stimulated cycle with ICSI – $8,772.15
  • Second instalment: $3,675.00 (to be paid within the next 10 days)

SUB-TOTAL: $12,447.15

INJECTIONS & MEDICATIONS

Depending on how many injections/medications you are prescribed, the cost is now $37.50 per injection/medication. It used to be that the amount of money that you paid to the IVF Clinic, the drugs (medications) were included in the price. For whatever reason, that is now no longer the case. The Australian Government has made the majority of the IVF drugs (not all though) on the PBS system.

The Fertility Specialist prescribed the following for me:

  • Puregon injection – $37.70
  • Menopur injection – $37.70
  • Progesterone pessaries – $37.70
  • Scitropin (growth hormone) – $730.00
  • Orgulutran – $37.70
  • Androderm patches – $20.00
  • Ovidrel injection x 2 – $37.70

SUB-TOTAL: $976.20

ADDITIONAL (but not compulsory) – PGD (Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis):

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is where they will test your embryos for any type of genetic condition or chromosome abnormality. They will select only the chromosomally normal embryos or those that are unaffected by a specific problem to be selected for transfer during an IVF cycle.  Apparently up to 70% of embryos that are created, whether its natural conception or through IVF, don’t survive the first three months of pregnancy and many don’t achieve implantation because of those two reasons.

  • Pre-implantation genetic embryo testing – $2,100.00 *

This amount includes up to three embryos. If more than 3 embryos are collected and are tested suitable, there is an additional cost of $670.00 per embryo. Also know, that NOT all fertility clinics do this testing, only a very select few do.  If you agree to this testing, it must paid before the cycle commences (on the day of collecting your IVF drugs and paying the first instalment of your cycle).

SUB-TOTAL: $2,100.00

OTHER COSTS (paid on the day of egg collection):

  • Day stay at the hospital (for the bed) – $870.00 (no medicare rebate – out of pocket expense)
  • Anaesthetist – $370.00 (depending on your IVF clinic, some may allow for a medicare rebate)

SUB-TOTAL: $1,240.00

Drum roll… (cue in the drumming sound)

GRAND-TOTAL: $16,763.35!!!

 It’s gut wrenching that IVF costs so much. I understand that we are paying for specialists, embryologists, the people behind the scenes, the nurses for all of their care and expertise help… but seriously at almost the cost of a brand new small car??? Not all couples have that amount of money in their bank accounts, and more so in this day and age where unemployment is on the rise and major companies in Australia are laying off workers and running their business somewhere in Asia and India to cut costs. Presenting 80% of the cost upfront before a cycle is started and then a week later having to pay the rest of the amount is just atrocious.

I know for a fact that most IVF clinics are able and can bulk-bill an IVF cycle if they really wanted to.

How do I know this to be an actual fact?

Well, because I’ve had two cycles bulk-billed at my last clinic before changing to this new one. At the last clinic I found out it was called a level 2. Meaning, the cycle is bulk-billed and all you pay are the day stay at the hospital and the anaesthetist.

Basically clinics more or less decide on what the costing of IVF cycles, and each clinic can differentiate between each other around $1,000 or so. So in my opinion it doesn’t hurt to investigate a few clinics to get a feel for it, costing wise. The management in these clinics do have the capabilities and the say so to be able to do this. If they don’t agree to bulk-bill, a clinic can give you a slight reduction in costs if you ask them (i.e. example they may not charge you for the ICSI. Depending on each clinic, each one has their own charging cost for it – one may charge $625.00 for ICSI, whilst another may charge only $326.00 – again, I’m going on previous experience). But before you go rushing into your clinic demanding your IVF cycle be bulk-billed, you will need to give them a justified reason why. Find out who the Manager of the clinic is, get their details and write an honest heartfelt letter to them explaining your situation and just ask for some sort of financial relief in some way. It doesn’t hurt to ask and you won’t know unless you do.

For us though, we had the two cycles bulk-billed because my husband had to have urgent surgery for a total knee reconstruction and unfortunately the injury just happened to coincide with the IVF cycle at that moment. We were very lucky and so grateful because our previous clinic had always been so good to us and were very sympathetic to our situation.

OK, so I have all my drugs and now I just wait for my period to arrive which should be happening within the next 5 or 6 days.

STAY TUNED!