The Relief of a Phone Call

Out of the blue in 2007 around 6 months after my diagnosis and being taken off Imatinib and waiting to go onto Dasatinib, I had IVF treatment to store my eggs, as the impact of Dasatinib on fertility is not known, and obviously, they can’t do a clinical trial to see what happens.

Fertility and cancer

Having to go through IVF came as a shock, as I was told that on Imatinib my fertility wouldn’t be impacted. After seeing the fertility consultant for the first time and due to the timing of my cycle, I had 2 days to make a really big decision: eggs or embryo storage. And I had to make it on my own. I went to my appointments on my own because obviously, I didn’t want to talk about sex, periods and children in front of my parents when I was 22.

I was put under huge amounts of pressure by the consultant to have embryos frozen because of a higher success rate of turning them into a live baby. But, I was single then (still am) and didn’t want to have a stranger’s baby. Ironically, I might end up doing that. The next 2 years will tell.  So, I was strong and said eggs.  And then the treatment started. Oh and I was told it was going to cost around £6,000, so my parents had to borrow the money. I know we are lucky in the UK with the NHS but this came as a shock. I was told it was part of my treatment, so why did I have to pay?!  I was too naïve and in shock about the entire process to question this.  So I said ok, and spent around £3,000 on hormone injections over the next few weeks.

Cost considerations

On the day of the egg harvest, I wasn’t asked to pay for the balance, which I thought odd, but kept quiet assuming a bill would arrive. It never did.

When I got my first letter with the storage fee, I mentioned it to my haematology consultant who said I shouldn’t be paying because it’s part of my treatment so the NHS would cover it. So I applied for funding for 10 years and it was granted. I have never approached the fertility consultant to ask them why he treated me as a private patient when he KNEW that it was part of my cancer care. I think they did it because I look and sound like I have a lot of money. Appearances can be deceiving. Part of me thinks I should ‘go after them’ and get that money back. But, I have my eggs. So is it really worth it?

10 years later

Unbelievably, this year I got another letter as the 10 years is up and I had to apply again.  So much has changed with the NHS and I was worried that it would no longer be covered. I worried that I would have to find the money to pay for the egg storage, which of course I would if I had to. I went to see my GP to explain it all (I’m never there as other than my Leukaemia, I’m actually very healthy) and they said that absolutely it would be covered. I also explained how guilty I feel about how much I cost and that I hate the burden I am to the tax payer (of which I am one). They said I not to be ridiculous and of course, I shouldn’t feel guilty about a non-lifestyle induced disease. And they did the application for me.

Today, I got a phone call to say that my application has been accepted and that my egg storage will be covered for the next 10 years. The relief I feel is huge. And I also hope, with all my heart, that all of this will be worth it and I get to hold my baby in my arms one day soon.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Have you taken our In America Survey yet?