You can buy a house or have fertility treatment

Eish… Fertility treatment is expensive! We’re not talking expensive like the cost of a tank of fuel (though the ridiculous price of fuel kills me every time I stop to fill up). We’re talking expensive, like a down payment on a house or a holiday overseas!

While I’ve been recovering from my op, waiting for a month to pass to ensure that everything is as it should be, I’ve been researching private fertility clinics in the Western Cape. They’ve all been very helpful, inviting us to book a consultation to discuss the way forward, but yikes, it’s pricey! I know having a child is expensive, but we don’t want to go into debt before the baby is actually here. So, we’ve decided to look into the fertility treatments offered at state hospitals, as this is (hopefully) a more affordable option.

I found a list of fertility clinics in SA online and trawled the Internet for days found some online forum posts (really old ones I might add) about state hospital fertility clinics. I read wonderful things about Grootte Schuur Hospital, UCT Academic Hospital and Tygerberg Hospital. I decided to call all 3 and see who I get through to first. Eventually, after much dialling and redialling, I got through to Grootte Schuur first. I was told to send a fax – yes, a fax(!) in this day and age – with a cover letter outlining our situation, and a reference from my GP with my medical history. I had a consultation with my GP and got the necessary reference letter with general medical history. I sent the fax and excitedly waited for a call from the sister who deals with the fertility clinic appointments. I got a call from her a week later! My excitement, however, quickly turned to crushing disappointment… Turns out they can’t accept us, because we don’t fall within their catchment area.

Not to worry though, we live in Somerset West and fall into the catchment area for Tygerberg Hospital. Fortunately, the sister at Grootte Schuur was quite helpful and gave me the contact details for the fertility clinic at Tygerberg Hospital. Tygerberg need the same documents I submitted to Grootte Schuur, but they also requires HIV test results and RPR test results for both K and I. (I had to google what a RPR test is – seems it’s a test for syphilis.)

The disappointment comes in (again) when I was told that I must call at the end of November to apply, but that they are fully booked for 2015. I’m not sure what we are applying for, but assume it’s to see if we qualify for fertility treatment. They will take applications for 2016 “end November”. I hate vague details, they make me anxious. What if they are fully booked for 2016 before we get a chance to “apply” “end November”. What does “end November” actually mean? What if our application isn’t accepted? It’s all in the details, people! The logical thing to have done was to have asked specific questions, but I was overwhelmed and disappointed. And quite frankly, I didn’t know what to ask in that moment (hindsight is of little value in the moment).

I went to Pathcare and enquired how we can get these tests done in order to “apply” “end November”. Apparently you can’t request an HIV test privately, your GP must request the test, because depending on the test results you might require counselling from your GP. Both K and I chatted to our GPs and got the necessary request forms – now to go for the tests. Eeek – I hate having blood drawn! Trundles off to find much-used-of-late big girl panties…


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