Right, so I said I wasn’t going to think about what to do next for a week or two. However, last night I started rereading a blog, Single Mother by Choice in the UK, that I had looked at last year when first contemplating this path. It was written by a Scottish woman in her 40s who went to Copenhagen for several IUI attempts, which unfortunately didn’t work out. I don’t know what the end result of her story is. In her last post, she was thinking about tandem IVF with her own and donor eggs.
Her first IUIs were unmedicated and she then moved to another clinic, also in Copenhagen, for medicated IUIs. I read the general information on the first clinic’s website last night and filled in their initial health record consultation form. It’s a straightforward, three-page form that asks for details on your general health and medical history, including previous pregnancies, earlier attempts to become pregnant, fertility exam results, health of fallopian tubes and length of menstrual cycle over the last six months; my trusty smartphone app has been collecting cycle info for two years now.
You’re also asked to note when you were last tested for HIV, hepatitis, chlamydia etc. These were covered in the so-called EU bloods test at my home clinic back in July, and redone before IUI #3 in January, as they need to be updated every six months here. They didn’t include chlamydia, but I think that was covered in the public hospital blood tests I handed into the clinic in July. Before any insemination, the Danish clinic needs to see negative results for these tests, so not urgent yet but I would have to provide them.
The Danish clinic uses sperm from two Copenhagen banks and, lo and behold, one of them is the bank that supplies my home clinic. You can request an open donor but, other than that, I’m a bit hazy on how the sperm selection process works. Presumably, some of those open donors are also extended profile donors, as they come from the same sperm bank as my original guy. But those details aren’t available on the Danish clinic’s website. Though open donor, extended profile IUI is generally more expensive than open donor, standard profile donor IUI, there’s no mention of paying extra for the former on the Danish clinic’s website. I know the woman who wrote the blog did some investigative research of her own to match the Danish clinic’s details with those on the actual sperm banks’ sites.
All questions for later. After filling in the form last night, I gave them a call today to arrange an initial health record consultation, which is now booked for the morning of 21 February. You have to ring to make this appointment – it can’t be done by email. They then send back an email confirming the appointment and attaching an invoice with bank transfer details. The health record consultation costs 630 Danish Krone, which works out at about €87, and you need to provide documentation showing you’ve paid for it 10 days before the consultation takes place (I make that nine days for me, but they didn’t even mention this on the phone, pretty casual).
After making the appointment, I headed to the bank today and transferred the money (I probably could have done this online but I wasn’t sure how the Danish Krone transfer would work) and emailed them back this afternoon with my completed health record consultation form, a copy of my passport and confirmation of the money transfer.
So, I think we’re all set up for the consultation. The nurse will video Skype me on Thursday morning (you can also opt for plain old telephone or, of course, visit in person) and we’ll take it from there.
Why am I doing this? I think I need to keep moving. At a push, if I wanted to, I could possibly be ready for an unmedicated IUI in Denmark this month (only snags I can see are blood results taking too long to come in from my home clinic and not being able to get a flight – and not ovulating, of course. And snow/strikes/Icelandic volcanoes shutting down airports, but let’s not go there).
I haven’t had a consultation with my home clinic doctor yet about next steps but, whatever the outcome, I’m not ready to take more drugs at the moment. The thought makes my heart sink. I need a break. And whether IUI or IVF are the recommended options, I’ll be on enforced hiatus anyway with the home clinic until they order in new sperm for me, which as we know is a frustrating and far from speedy process with them.
I also think I need to try some unmedicated IUIs, just for my head’s sake. I’m aware they’re very likely not to work but I think it’s something I have to do. If I go ahead, and they don’t work, at least I’ll have tried to get pregnant naturally, or as naturally as you can without a man in tow.
And despite the stress of pinpointing when I’m ovulating and then dashing off on a plane, Copenhagen is a really lovely city. I was last there in the late 1990s and have wanted to go back. The way flights work, I would probably have to go over in the evening and spend the night, doing the IUI next day. I haven’t had a holiday for a while, so really there are worse things you could have to do. It’s not exactly Slough, or Scranton.
Basically, if I have the consultation next week and get my paperwork in order, what I’m saying is I’m giving myself the option. I’ll only have spent €87 and there’s no obligation to go ahead. If I decide to, as far as I can see it’s a matter of choosing a donor and then calling them the morning you get a positive ovulation result and hopping over asap to do the deed the next day.
I will talk to them next week about the sperm ordering process and the best way to pinpoint ovulation. I have two packs of ovulation predictor kits at the ready.
I also looked at prices last night. Ignoring the cost of the initial consultation, bloods and SIS test back in July (which came to around €940), each IUI round at my home clinic has cost me €1,582 (for sperm, scans/IUI and drugs).
Ignoring the initial health record consultation at the Danish clinic (€87), each round there would cost me (I think) 6,195 Danish Krone, which is about €830. Flights and accommodation would be on top of this, obviously, and I’m probably missing some other clinic/sperm costs, but I’ll find those out next week.
I suspect the costs would even out. It’s not about saving money and, of course, there would be no saving if it didn’t work, which I know is likely. I imagine that the stress of airports and last-minute booking of flights isn’t terribly conducive to conception. But, working on this while figuring out what to do with the home clinic and getting things in train there would keep things moving.
Plus, as I say, at least I’ll have tried – and what price sanity and peace of mind.