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Old Jul 22nd, 2017, 06:21 AM   1
Socks
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Experience with NHS


Hi,

I was wondering what peoples experiences were with seeing a fertility specialist with the NHS, the process etc. I already have one child so I am well aware I am not entitled to any treatment, I was just wondering as far as testing goes what is available to me. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks



 
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 04:10 AM   2
LaurenDem
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My experience so far ...


Hello,

I have just come across this post and wanted to give you my experience so far. I suffer from PCOS and had been trying to conceive naturally for a year and a half, then 8 months ago I was referred to a Gyno. On my first appointment they went through my history and ultrasounds (I have these to check on my cysts) and put me on Metformin. I took 4 500mg tabs a day for 6 months but still nothing. I then went back and was told that there wasn't much else the could do for me until I lost weight (I am 15st) but they are going to do more tests. I have just had an external and internal ultrasound, blood tests and I will be having a HSG soon (where they put some ink in your urterus and x-ray you to see if you have any blockages). There are other drugs they can put you on to help (Chlomid being one of the main ones) but I think because of the NHS cuts they are reluctant to do this until you are a healthy weight.

Hope this help.

LL



 
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 04:59 AM   3
steph1607
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Hey girls, thought I would add my NHS experience here too, sorry it's a little long.

Hubby and I have been TTC for just over a year now. After stopping the pill, my periods never returned so in November 2016 my GP sent me for some blood tests. As far as she was concerned, nothing sinister showed so we were referred to our local gynae centre (half their patients are NHS and half private) and had an appointment booked in with a fertility specialist.

We went to the specialist on January 9th and we came out felling pretty pleased that we were seeing someone who seemed to be a bit of a fertility hot shot! During that initial appointment he said that he suspected PCOS due to the amenorrhea. He did a transvaginal ultrasound which showed that my ovaries were very polycystic. He then wanted to do some blood tests and prescribed me Norethisterone tablets to bring on a period and then I was to go for my blood tests on CD3. The tablets only really triggered some very light spotting (which wasn't even 'fresh' blood, but the clinic said not to worry, just count the first day of spotting as CD1). Hubby was also referred for a semen analysis and he did that a few weeks after our first appointment.

We went back to the clinic around the 12th February for the results. Hubby's SA was fine and my blood test results confirmed PCOS. I was then told that before starting any treatment, I would obviously need to have an HSG to rule out tubal problems. This had to be done once bleeding had stopped but no later than CD10, so again I was prescribed Norethisterone. I went for the HSG on March 1st.

We returned to the clinic on March 20th and as I had already been told by the radiologist, the HSG was fine and my tubes were clear. We were then given the go ahead to start ovulatory treatment in the form of Clomid. Again I had to take the Norethisterone to bring on a period, and then take 50mg Clomid CD2-6. Blood tests were then ordered for CD21 to see whether or not I had ovulated. I hadn't, and so we were told to try the same protocol but with 100mg Clomid. Again this was annovulatory and after speaking with the clinic over the phone, we were told to not try anything else until we had checked back in with the specialist.

I had my appointment with him on July 3rd and came out utterly heartbroken. He looked at me like I was just a hopeless case and said as far as he was concerned, I only had two options. One being ovarian drilling (well I had already heard about this and knew that most places no longer recommend it as it is now pretty antiquated), and the other being IVF. He then proceeded to tell me that funding for IVF was withdrawn from my area two weeks prior. I was sat there digging my nails into my hands and trying to hold it all together, and he said go away, discuss it with hubby and then let him know what we decide.

Hubby and I spoke and we decided that if IVF was our only hope and we were going to have to pay for it anyway, we may as well get a second opinion and booked a consultation with Herts and Essex Fertility Centre. We had that appointment on July 13th and am sad to say that our experience was a lot better than our experiences with our NHS man. We had to fill out lots of forms and send in advance and then we both spent about half an hour with the nurse just going over various lifestyle type things, had our height, weight and blood pressure taken and then she sent poor hubby off for another impromptu SA! Luckily he managed to perform under pressure and was very chuffed with himself

Next, we were both taken in to an appointment with one of the consultants (turn out he is actually at the top of his game and has been working in fertility and IVF for over 35 years, so we felt in safe hands). They phoned through my husband's SA results while we were with the consultant (they have their own lab on site so it's a lot quicker) and that was still fine. He spent about an hour talking with us about our history, previous treatment etc. He is not a fan at all of the drilling, and we had already decided not to go down that route, so it was nice to have it backed up. He also said that the clinic rarely prescribe Clomid, especially for someone like me, because it essentially works as an estrogen blocker which then presents other hindrances when it comes to getting pregnant. He said that our options would be either IVF, or ovulation induction with injections (the same medication used in IVF stimulation but just a lower dose).

Interestingly, back in January when I had my AMH blood test, we were told that it was "fine" and I didn't question it. The consultant we saw two weeks ago said that it was far from fine, and it was the second highest he had ever seen. He wanted me to do another blood test while I was at that clinic just to confirm, and the results came back pretty much the same last week.

Sorry this all sounds quite blasé, it was just easier to write it like that with just the facts and the steps we took. In all honesty, the past 8 months have been a complete roller coaster, with many tears along the way!

I think it also sounds as if I am not an NHS fan. I definitely am, and would have liked nothing more to be able to continue to receive treatment on the NHS rather than having to pay privately, but unfortunately it just hasn't worked out that way. My family and I have had some amazing experiences with the NHS, but unfortunately I don't feel like the doctor we were initially seeing was doing the best things for *me*. I'm not a classic PCOS case, so it's likely that he was just following standard treatment methods. And of course as we all know, with the current financial state of the NHS, fertility treatment is not likely to be a priority and I do understand that.

Feel free to ask anything! Hope this helps give an idea of what to expect timeline wise!




 
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 06:58 AM   4
LaurenDem
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Hello,

You case sounds very similar to mine, I am still being told I need to lose weight and I am waiting for an appointment for a HSG but can I ask, have either of you discussed adoption? I was talking to my DH about it but he doesn't seem keen to do this until EVERYTHING has been tried medically but I don't really want to put my body through the stress of IVF for it to potentially not work and we can't really afford to go private.



 
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 08:28 AM   5
steph1607
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Hey Lauren!

Yes, we do sound very similar!

We have indeed discussed adoption many times and it definitely is something we are both open to. However, I don't think I realised until I sat there and the guy told me that IVF was my only realistic option, the desire to carry my own child became even stronger. Without doubt though, if we end up not being able to have a biological child, we could look into adoption.

I hear you on the not wanting to put your body through the stress of IVF. It's definitely not the right route for everyone. Yeah, private fertility treatment is absolutely not cheap. We paid £300 for our initial consultation a couple of weeks ago and we are by no means well off! But we really needed the second opinion.

I don't know if you've ever heard of egg-share IVF? This is what we are currently looking into to see if we are eligible. In a nutshell, someone who requires donor eggs will pay for you to have one cycle of IVF treatment and in return will receive half of the eggs from the retrieval.



 
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Old Aug 1st, 2017, 11:57 AM   6
Socks
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Thank you for the replies!

My GP also feels my weight is an issue. I'm not naïve to the fact I need to lose weight, but I don't feel this is a barrier in me not being able to conceive. My BMI is currently 27, so still under the 30 limit which the NHS recommends, I'm a UK size 12-14 so could definitely do to lose a few pounds. The last time I went to my GP about fertility was around 9 months ago and she told me to lose weight, take folic acid and I should have no problem in conceiving! I have an 8 year old, and miscarried nearly 7 years ago and have never been able to conceive since, so I find it hard to believe the GP's recommendations will work!

As well as approaching my GP in the past with regards to my fertility, I also have on going problems with having heavy and very painful periods, although they remain regular, every 28-30 days. I have had blood tests and an ultrasound scan in the last year to see if they could see any fibroids or other problems (all came back no problems), I was then referred to a gynaecologist for further investigation, in which I was told there was absolutely nothing wrong with me and they were not willing to investigate any further!

As it is coming on the 7 year mark with no luck I have now decided to approach my GP a second time in the hope of finally getting answered and being able to see a fertility specialist! I'm not sure how it will go but it is nice to hear other peoples experiences with the NHS



 
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Old Aug 8th, 2017, 08:11 AM   7
Countrygirl13
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The rule in the UK is that you need to tell your GP you have been trying for a year- you have presumably not used contraceptives for 7, so that's fine- you have clearly done this! They might then take some blood tests to check your hormone levels. Your GP should then refer you to your local fertility clinic at a nearby unit or hospital.
You are able to have investigations for the cause of your infertility (blood tests, semen analysis, HSG etc) and also some treatments on the NHS (e.g. clomid) even if you have a child. As you know, the NHS will not fund your IVF treatments if they are required.
After a year of trying with no luck we went to our GP and got a referral to a NHS fertility specialist at the James Paget hospital. After 2 more years of investigations and treatment (mostly clomid for 'unexplained infertility' ) we finally fell pregnant with our little one.
We TTC'd for another year after things settled down at home then went back to our GP who has now referred us to the NHS fertility specialist again for a repeat of the blood/sperm checks, ultrasounds etc for number two. It was made clear at the time that IVF was not going to be funded but other things were.
Best of luck!



 
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Old Aug 9th, 2017, 15:18 PM   8
Socks
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Thank you for replying!

No I haven't used contraception for the last 7 years, I went to see my GP last week and she was happy to refer me to see a fertility specialist . I have to have day 3&21 bloods done first, my partner has also had a semen analysis, I knew he would probably have to do this before a referral for me and it has come back normal (I think!).

I am really hoping to finally get some answers
Good luck to you! X



 
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Old Aug 10th, 2017, 01:21 AM   9
nessaw
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Hi we went to our gp after 6months due to being over 35-this was spring 2012. Through her we had cd21 tests, a sperm analysis and she referred for an ultrasound to check womb etc. She then referred to the fertility clinic but I did have to chase this as I waited a while and heard nothing and found it hadn't been done. When I had the appt I had actually got pg so we just talked generally. After I lost this pg I was referred again. We had repeat sa and were prescribed clomid. The clomid didn't work for pg but did regulate my cycles. We found there was a big gap in knowledge between gp and fertility clinic e.g. when I suggested that my cd21 tests didn't show ov because I ov early my gp was no but it turned out I was right. We also had 3 different opinions on the sa ranging from disaster to fine! After the clomid I was referred for hsg and we were told they would fund 1 round of ivf but I had to lose weight. This was Autumn 2013. I then fell pg naturally but lost them the following year and another loss led us to the recurrent miscarriage team which again is good but opinion on direction varies as well. My consultant doesn't think progesterone supplements do much but prescribed them anyway whereas I'm convinced that's why I have my daughter. Good luck.x



 
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