Women are prepared to pay up to £50,000 to realise their dreams of motherhood, a study has found.
Most would take on extra work, sell possessions and sacrifice pensions to fund fertility treatment if they had difficulty conceiving. And they would be willing to spend an average of £15,000 on IVF – with one in ten prepared to shell out as much as £50,000.
One in five would even consider moving house if it meant better fertility treatment on the NHS.
More than 90 per cent said they would cut back on holidays, eating out, clothes and beauty products to pay for treatment.
And it is the grandparents-to-be who they are increasingly turning to for financial help, with 30 per cent of women having treatments asking their parents or other family members for money, up from 14 per cent last year.
Three quarters of women think the cost in the UK is too expensive, 30 per cent said they would look at going abroad for treatment. In Hungary a single cycle costs £1,464.
The poll of more than 2,000 women aged 30 to 45, carried out by Red magazine, found that more than half of those questioned had tried to conceive – and 39 per cent had encountered problems.
The Red Annual National Fertility Report also revealed that one in ten women who struggled to conceive had undergone some sort of fertility treatment, spending an average of £8,678.
Nearly 45,000 cycles of IVF are performed in Britain each year. In the private sector, each one can cost more than £5,000.
The survey found 95 per cent of women thought the differences in NHS IVF provision, depending on where you lived, was unfair with 22 per cent saying they would move house or consider moving to get better IVF treatment for free.
The study also highlighted the discrepancies between the Primary Care Trusts (PCT), who have differing criteria for deciding who should and should not receive IVF on the NHS.
Reasons for those who had been rejected for free IVF included being too old, too young, for their weight, having children from a previous relationship and for having children from their current relationship.
Sam Baker, editor-in-chief of Red, said: 'Our report shows that women are prepared to make huge financial sacrifices as they do whatever it takes to conceive.'
'I don't regret spending the money, but I do resent it'
Sam Robinson, 39, a magazine editor, from east London and her husband, David, 34, who is in publishing, spent £25,000 on two cycles of IVF. They now have one son, Lenny, aged 10 months.
We knew we wanted to be parents - someday. But everything changed when, aged 34, I was aghast to discover that I had a fibroid the size of a four-month pregnancy, growing inside my womb.
I underwent several excruciating operations to have it removed, and lost a fallopian tube in the process. The surgeon advised we try IVF when we wanted a baby.
We'd heard about the "postcode lottery" of IVF and found that, at 35, I wouldn't be eligible to go on the waiting list for NHS treatment for another year. So we hastily withdrew £15,000 equity from our house to cover three rounds of private IVF.
After our first appointment, we realised that there are hidden extras that can rack up the cost of treatment - consultations, daily blood tests, investigative procedures, extra drugs, the list goes on.
Eight weeks and 28 injections later, we were overjoyed to discover that our first attempt had worked. Sadly, our baby did not grow and, at seven weeks, I was told to go home to miscarry naturally. By this point, we had spent £9,000.
The next time, the approach was different. I was at a clinic, the ARGC (Assisted Reproduction & Gynaecology Centre), where they offer a controversial test for immune disorders that stop you getting or staying pregnant.
My test - which cost £900 - was positive, so to treat the disorder, I would need expensive transfusions, called IVIG (Intravenous immune globulin).
In the end, I had four transfusions at a cost of around £6,500, on top of the actual cost of the cycle.
Again, we were overjoyed to be expecting, but this time our baby's heartbeat stopped at ten weeks. I was hysterical and beside myself with grief.
We had spent £25,000, had no pregnancy to show for it and were shells of our former, happy selves.
Around a year later, I received a letter approving us for three rounds of IVF on the NHS. We went ahead with one cycle, but it wasn’t successful. We decided to switch to University College Hospital in London.
Six weeks later, we were pregnant again. This time our luck held, and Lenny was the result.
I don't regret spending the money as it was all part of our journey to meet our wonderful son, but I do resent it. The strain could have split us up, and we wouldn't have the lovely family we have today.
The full results from the Red National Fertility Report can be seen in Red magazine’s October issue, out today.
Article: 7th August 2010 www.dailymail.co.uk
Considering IVF? try home insemination first, the easier and cheaper alternative.