Struggling with infertility is hard! It hurts more than anyone will ever know. I would know because we struggled for 8 years to fall pregnant. In the end we gave up. We gave up due to a few reasons, but that is a post for another day. If you would like to read more about me, please click on this link: http://www.getpregnant.co.za/about-2/
But I don’t want anyone else to go through what we did, I will do anything to help someone else, just so that they can experience the happy and not so happy days of bringing up children. Children are a blessing, they are wonderful and you will experience unconditional love that you’ve never felt before. So I set out to research the options. And there aren’t many. Fertility treatment is expensive, prohibitively expensive if you don’t have the means to save up enough money for treatment, here are some alternatives.
There are a few state hospitals that treats infertile couples, I’m not sure what the requirements are but I’m pretty sure you need a referral letter from your doctor. Just call them and find out for yourself. Their costs are a lot lower than Private Fertility Clinics, but you would still need to pay for the services.
Steve Biko Academic Hospital Reproductive and Endocrine Unit
Tel: (012) 354 6045
Address: Steved Biko Academic Hospital, Lelel J8, Room 82290, Pretoria
University of Free State, Dept of Obstetrics, IVF
Tel: (051) 405 3385
Doctors: Dr Strydom
Address: Universtitas Hospital, 1 Logeman St
Groote Schuur Fertility Unit
Tel: (021) 404 6027
Doctors: Dr Dyer, Dr Matebse (consulting) & Dr Matjila (consulting)
Address: Groote Schuur Hospital, Andrology Department, Maternity Centre
F Floor, Anzio Rd
LIFE centre Johannesburg is run by Dr Leanne Scott who is a qualified Homeopathic doctor who specialised in reproductive health, she and a colleague developed a post graduate course at University of Johannesburg focusing on Reproductive Health. The clinic focuses on hormone imbalances, egg quality and sperm quality. They treat the underlying causes of hormonal imbalances and often work concurrently with Fertility Clinics while their patients are undergoing treatments like IVF. They treat PCOS and Endometriosis. At your first assessment it will be decided if it is possible to treat your infertility. You will be sent for blood tests if you have not had them done yet. If you’ve been for Fertility Testing at another clinic or Doctor they will request those files so you don’t have to redo the tests. If blocked Fallopian tubes or other uterine anomalies are suspected you will be sent for an HSG xRay. Men will have to undergo a sperm analysis. They make use of Homeopathic and Herbal medicines, as well as light therapy to treat hormonal imbalances. They do have an Ultrasound scanner on the premises. They also offer timed cycles, where you are scanned and assessed throughout your cycle to see when you ovulate and you will be advised when the best time will be for intercourse.
Costs: It depends on your case and outcome of your tests but generally in the region of R4000-R6000 per cycle.
Medication ranges from R330 to R800 per month.
LIFE centre Johannesburg
Tel: (011) 807 1202
Doctors: Dr Leanne Scott
Address: 101A, 1St Floor, Bram Fischer Centre, 95 Bram Fischer Dr, Ferndale
Butterfly Wings: I teach women how to chart their menstrual cycle so that we can use the chart as a diagnostic tool which enables us to get so much information out of it which actually even amazes the gynaes. I don’t have to send you for hundreds of Rands of tests as the chart gives us information such as:
If and when you are ovulating,
- How long your post ovulatory phase is,
- What are your hormones doing
- Are your adrenal glands stressed
- Is your thyroid working
- Are you eating food you are intolerant to
- The list goes on
I work with couples because conceiving requires both the man and the women. I look at man’s semen analysis to make sure they are healthy too. I help couples change their diet (where necessary) and their lifestyles so that they can prepare their bodies and their lives to incorporate a baby into their life.
Consultation fees I have 3 options for fees:
The package deal (which includes the Intro session of 2 hours + 3 x 60 min follow up appointments + All the material to start charting) and is a once off payment of R2 400
If you would like to pay in two separate payments then:
The Introduction session (2 hours + All the material to start charting) = R1300
Pay for 3 follow up sessions in one go = R1250 (works out each session at R416.66)
3. You pay per consultation which is the most expensive:
a. The Introduction session (2 hours + All the material to start charting) = R1 300
b. Each 1 hour follow up is R450
I work with the charts as the charts give me all the information. Only in cases where I am picking up adrenal stress or thyroid stress will I require further tests if the client is happy to go for them.
If patients can’t fall pregnant within a certain amount of time do you refer them to someone?
It all depends on the clients history and their current lifestyle. It can take up to 1-3years for a client to start living in a way that enables their body to start functioning properly. I always work with speciality doctors if there is something that really needs medical attention but charting your cycle and preparing your body for a baby takes time.
I work on a consultation basis and my hours are Monday – Thursday mornings, Friday and Saturday afternoons.
The program I offer consists of :
The introduction session which is a 2 hour consultation where I go through medical history, and I teach you the method of charting
The follow up sessions are 1 hour in duration: I require 3 follow up sessions (Sometimes more depending on the reason I am seeing you). In these sessions I add to what you have learnt in the training session. As charting is a new method that requires time to learn I answer all your questions and make sure you are understanding all the rules of the method. I also look into your daily habits, diet and lifestyle choices so that you are educated to make the correct and healthy choice for you and your body.
If alternative medicines isn’t your thing, or you’ve done the tests and you know that the only people who can help you are Fertility Specialists, then you might want to look into financing your treatment. I have found two financial companies who offer flexible medical finance
Depending on who you contact, here are the general requirements to finance your treatment:
- Minimum Monthly Salary: R8500 – R10000
- Proof of Income
- 3 months bank statements
- Proof of residence
- You can pay the loan off in 6-36 months
- Maximum loan amount dependent on your income, but no more than R60 000 to R150 000
First Health Finance
Tel: 0800 212 537
Address: 14th Floor No 1 Thibault Square, Long Street,
Foreshore, Cape Town
Finance available for IVF and IUI
Tel: 0860 INCRED (462 733) or (011) 262 2385
Fax: 0865 201 513
Address: PO Box 1277, Gallo Manor, 2052
Fertility Treatment Costs:
Now, lets look at what Fertility Treatment actually costs. Please bear in mind that each clinic charges differently and you would have to phone around to get the best prices. For a list of clinics please click here. These costs are for Private Fertility Clinics, you’d have to contact the government clinics to find out what their costs are.
- Initial Consultation: R1000.00 – Includes Ultra Sound scans, excludes Blood Tests
- Blood Tests: R2800 – R4000 – If you’re on medical aid then your medical aid should cover most of this. If you’re not on medical aid you’d have to pay the lab upfront.
- IUI (Intra Uterine Insemination): R 3500 to R8000 – the cost of Donor sperm is excluded if you’re using donor sperm.
- IVF (In vitro Fertilization): R35 000 to R60 000, this depends on your stimulation requirements, the cost will be lower for low dose and obviously higher for high doses of fertility drugs.
- Medicated Cycles: R2000 – R4000 – a medicated cycle is when you get ovulation stimulating drugs and you’re monitored throughout your cycle until the doctor gives you the green light for intercourse.
There are other costs involved in your treatment, but that all depends on how you respond to initial treatment. Your clinic will guide you through everything.
If you’ve reached the end of tether and you’ve exhausted all your options, or you simply don’t want to continue with ART then you may want to consider adoption. The adoption process is stressful and time consuming, and you may wait a few years, but you will be blessed with a little soul who will be entrusted to you. There are a lot of resources on adoption, please visit this page to find a social worker close to you who’d be able to help: http://www.adoption.org.za/
Going through Infertility and miscarriages can be a very lonely path, friends, family and colleagues will often tell you things like “Don’t stress about it”, “It will happen, just have to have faith” or “It’s not meant to be” etc. Without really understanding exactly what you are going through. Being told it’s not meant to be is as painful as being physically stabbed with a knife. If you are struggling to come to terms with not being able to have children, I would urge you to find someone who will listen to you and give you some much needed perspective, after all a burden shared is a burden halved. There are a few infertility support forums out there, join one of them and start chatting to the ladies. You will soon find out that you are not alone, the worse thing about infertility is when everyone around you is falling pregnant, and it feels like you’re standing on the sidelines being left behind. It is frustrating, heartbreaking and stressful, especially if your partner is putting you under immense pressure to fall pregnant. See a psychologist, talk to someone, there are so many out there and I promise you, you will feel so much better. Many of the Fertility Clinics have psychologists that work closely with them, find a clinic close to you and ask them if they can recommend someone for you to talk to.
If you’re suicidal, have suicidal thoughts or suffer greatly from Depression and anxiety, reach out ASAP, here is a list of organisations to call if you find you just cannot continue anymore:
While the lists if clinics and consultants who might be able to help you conceive seems very small, and it all seems hopeless to you, just remember that if a problem seems too big, i.e you don’t have the finances or the resources, just start small. Start with the initial consult, explain your situation to the doctor. It might take you a bit longer than most to have all the tests and treatments done, but by just putting one foot in front of the other, little step by little step you will get there in the end.
In my opinion, from what I’ve seen over the last 10 years is that most people, with a little patience and perseverance eventually end up holding a little bundle of joy, don’t give up.