The Internet can be a fantastic resource when it comes to finding out more about fertility and treatment, and many people gain important insights by reading other people’s fertility stories online. This can, however, have a less helpful side. Although it may be useful to get practical tips, to read about what happens during a cycle and to feel that you are more prepared for what is about to happen, it is also vital to remember that everyone’s treatment is different. The tests carried out, the protocols used, the drugs prescribed can all vary depending on your own individual situation.
Recently I’ve been contacted by a few people asking about their treatment who have become worried that something might not be right because they’ve come across other people who have had different tests or treatments – or who have been prescribed different drugs at different doses. Just because your treatment is not exactly the same as someone else’s, that doesn’t mean it is wrong or less likely to work. If you have concerns, you should never worry about asking at your clinic, but remember that fertility treatment is always tailored to an individual to some degree and that clinics may not all do everything exactly the same way.
A very sad story from the US about couples who are buying fertility drugs from unlicensed suppliers online in order to be able to pay for their treatment. Journalists in the States found that a wide range of fertility drugs were being offered for sale at cheap prices though online message boards. Sometimes people who have had treatment find that they have drugs left over, and it seems that some are opting to sell them online.
Although it can be cheaper to buy drugs this way, it really isn’t worth it. You don’t know who you are buying them from, you don’t know whether they have been properly kept and stored and you don’t even know if they really are the drugs that they claim to be. It is quite possible that the drugs won’t do what they are meant to – and so saving money this way could render all the rest of the money you’re spending on your treatment useless. What’s more, the US report makes it clear that you could also cause yourself medical problems.
A previous report here in the UK found a similar picture with fertility drugs being sold online and made it clear that it is illegal to sell them in this way. The drugs should only be sold at a registered pharmacy or under the supervision of a pharmacist. Don’t try to save money this way – it really isn’t worth it. Far better to shop around for the best legal option to buy as explained in this post.
If you’ve found yourself with some leftover IVF drugs after your treatment cycle, you may feel that you’d like to do something useful with them. Having spent such large sums of money on purchasing the drugs in the first place, it can seem a terrible shame for them not to be used. If you’re going to have more treatment before the use-by date on the drugs, you should talk to your clinic about this as they will be able to advise you whether it would all right to keep them and if so how they should be stored.
You do sometimes come across people trying to sell their IVF drugs online, but this is illegal – and passing them on to someone else for their use is not permissable either. This is because some medicines are sensitive to things like heat, light or moisture which means they may not work as well if they haven’t been kept in ideal conditions. You may think your IVF drugs look fine, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK pass them on to someone else. Although you may feel sure your drugs are still in perfect condition, you have to think about it from the perspective of another patient who would be taking the risk of using second-hand medication. The only thing you can do safely if you are sure you aren’t going to use your drugs, is to take the drugs back to the clinic.
You may have heard about the baby born after his parents bought their fertility drugs cheaply from the supermarket chain ASDA. ASDA say they are selling to patients at cost, and hugely reducing the prices patients normally pay for their fertility drugs. If your clinic gives you a prescription and suggests you buy your drugs from a pharmacy, it’s always a good idea to shop around and ASDA’s prices do appear to be well below those of their rivals.
Many hospital pharmacies buy their drugs in bulk direct from the suppliers, and so they may also be able to offer a good price for the drugs. It’s worth checking how much your clinic or hospital pharmacy will be charging and comparing this with the cheapest high street price. If you find that it is cheaper to shop at ASDA, then you don’t have to purchase your drugs from the clinic.
With most IVF cycles taking place in the private sector, the bill for drugs can be huge – ASDA say that what is needed for a typical cycle will cost £1,346.34 from them which they suggest is about £800 cheaper than the usual pharmacy price. Of course, every cycle is different and tailored to the individual, so you will need to get a costing on your prescription – but it’s always worth shopping around when it comes to fertility drugs and making sure that you aren’t paying more than you need to.