The financial and emotional cost of trying for a child

By Nina Steele 

One thing that most people trying for a child will agree on is that the process can be both emotionally and financially draining. Of the latter, it is not uncommon to hear of couples who have had to remortgage their home in order to afford the cost of fertility treatments. With the average cost of IVF being as much £5000 depending on the clinic, it is no wonder that some couples have to go as far as remortgaging their home if they end up having many cycles, which most do. We were fortunate in that the IVF treatment we had was funded by the NHS. However at the time, we were only allowed one treatment and so when this failed, we had to pay for further treatments. In between we considered adoption, however after attending a meeting for potential adopters, we quickly changed our mind, as the impression we were given of the whole process was one that was highly bureaucratic and unsympathetic to the plight of those willing to adopt. Our next port of call was to try for a baby through Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and while the cost is far less than IVF, what increases it overall is the added charges for consultations and tests. I did have quite a few tests and at £200 a go, they do add up to quite a fair bit of money. Including tests, a cycle can cost over a £1000 depending on whether a couple is using donor sperm or not.

As we both are in full time work, taking time off for the many appointments can be quite a challenge and made the whole process even more unpleasant. I remember going for a scan in anticipation that my treatment would follow a few days later, only to be told that unfortunately the treatment could not go ahead because I had produced more than the required amount of eggs and should the treatment go ahead, it could end up in multiple births. I had to start the process all other again. I remember bursting into tears out of sheer frustration and feeling emotionally drained. The frustration was not only that I had to go through the whole thing again, but also that I had to take time off work, which was becoming quite regular by then. We were both becoming emotionally tired of the whole process. And then came the big day and all the frustration was forgotten and we both felt like this would finally be it. I remember heading back home after the procedure and feeling already as if I was carrying a child. The only thing I had to do now was pray that I did not have my period and for two weeks I did just that. To say that I was devastated when I did eventually have my period is an understatement. How much could this go on for I thought. Initially we had agreed that we would give it 2 more attempts and then stop if we were still unsuccessful. And so we sprang back into action.

I called the hospital to arrange for yet another scan. This time it was decided that unlike the last time, I would not be given a drug to make me ovulate in case I produced more than the required amount of eggs again. The only problem with that option was that at least with the drugs the date of the procedure could be anticipated and the clinic would ensure that this was on a date that they were open. As fate would have it, I ovulated on Saturday morning and this meant that I had to be seen the next day, which was a Sunday and a day when the clinic was closed. And so I was told that the process would have to start again the following month. At that point my morale had sunk so low that I knew this could not go on any longer. We had to go back to IVF I told my husband, at least the professionals would be in control of the process as opposed to leaving it to chance. However as the days went by, I noticed a change in me. I just could no longer take this any more and my husband too had had enough. A few weeks later, we both agreed to stop trying and we haven’t looked back since.



  1. GemmaRowlands says

    This is an excellent article, and should be spread far and wide, because there are far too many people who go into this with the idea that it will be easy, when the truth is often anything but. If couples wish to try fertility treatment, they absolutely have to understand that it will cost a lot of money and time, and that it may not be successful anyway. I have heard of people losing everything because of the money they have ploughed into it, so people do really have to be careful.

    • This article led to heated arguments on facebook page: and I had to delete many of those comments because of their abusive nature. Essentially it was a case of two halves, namely those who have made the choice to remain childless and so could not understand why anyone will spend so much money in order to bring a child in what they see as an already crowded world and those who have been trying for a child for sometime and could not understand why some people could be so insensitive. I have to say that I did find some of those comments incentive too. For example people trying for a child were accused of being selfish, egomaniacs and narcissists by one person, I mean honestly. To say that to someone who has remortgage a house in order to pay for IVF is to my mind quite intolerant. I do believe that we should respect other people’s choices, so long as those choices do not pose a threat to anyone else. In the same way that people choose not have children and would like their choice to be respected as opposed to being stigmatised, those who try to have children should not be judged by the same people who complain about being often judged themselves.

  2. Julez Fitzmond says

    Far too many people waste money on failed cycles because they don’t have enough to see the process through to the end. For example they may save £5,000 for one cycle, assuming it will work, and then feeling let down when it doesn’t work and they’ve spent their savings. Education about how long this can take, and how much it can cost, is an absolute must. If people are going to do this they simply have to have all of the information that is available to them.

  3. I think one of the main problems here is that people are unable to see anything other than the end result. Having a baby is a gift, and people are just faced with a list of ways to get to that point – without thinking about all of the cost and heartbreak that comes along with it. So I think there should be much more information available out there, because it would be a lot easier for people if there was.

    • My experience is that when you are caught up in the process of trying for a child, reason flies out of the window. You are so caught up in the whole process that you can become obsessed by it. It becomes difficult to take a step back and evaluate your life honestly. By evaluation I mean to ask yourself the following questions:
      Why do I want a child? Do you want a child just because you want to fit in with the rest of society or do you want a child because it is something you had always wanted? Secondly, will the child make you any happier than you are already? If the answer is no then, why go any further? These are just a few questions that people ought to ask themselves when they become trapped in this vicious cycle. It is when I asked myself these questions that I realised that we really did not need children so we stopped trying.

      • That’s true – emotion takes over. The point you make about only wanting a child to fit in with society is an interesting one, because I think there is a chance that it accounts for way more women than we might think. Or even pressure from family. Mine are always asking me to change my mind, and there have been many times where I’ve thought it would probably just be easier to have them (but that wouldn’t be fair – so I won’t).

        • The truth is that most people will not admit that their true reason for having children is to fit in with society for fear of being labelled a bad parent. I know of people with children who struggle with raising them, yet are so fearful of being judged that they dare not speak about the fact that they are struggling. You are meant to pretend that everything is fine and that it is the best thing that has ever happened to you, even if the reality is anything but. It is a shame that people feel they cannot be honest about this very important issue.

    • Julez Fitzmond says

      It’s always good to have something to focus on, but when it comes to the stage where the hope seems to be getting further away rather than closer, then there is a problem. People should have their eyes open rather than just looking to what they want to achieve.

  4. You have to be realistic about this. There comes a point when you have to stop if you have been unsuccessful for quite a while. How many years can you keep trying?

Speak Your Mind

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap