Support from their employer for the fertility journey

Reshma’s GP told her to carry on trying to get pregnant naturally for two more years before she would be entitled to NHS hospital tests. As she was already in her early thirties, Reshma and her husband Vinod felt time wasn’t on their side. Fortunately they were able to access the help they needed quickly through Vinod’s supportive employer. Reshma is now mum to an eight-month-old daughter.

There are a number of ways that employers can support staff on their fertility journey; employee benefits is one of those areas.

Bourn Hall has agreements with a number of benefit schemes used by employers, including Carrot Fertility, Peppy Fertility and Fertifa. It can also work directly with employers to offer packages of fertility advice and testing.

If you are an employer and considering how best to support your staff then do get in touch

A patient story – Reshma and Vinod benefited from Carrot Fertility

“We first started trying for a baby when I was 31, four years after we got married,” says Reshma, aged 35, who lives in Hertfordshire. “We had both always wanted children but when I came off the pill my periods were a bit irregular and we quickly realised that things were not going to plan. My GP told me to carry on trying and to go back in a couple of years.

“We were not happy with that timeline.  My husband Vinod had private medical insurance through his employer and we were lucky to be able to have fertility investigations at a private hospital. Everything looked fine so our infertility was described as being ‘unexplained’.

“The doctor prescribed some medication to help make my periods regular and advised we kept trying.”

Unfortunately this was unsuccessful and the couple were referred to Bourn Hall for more investigations. Vinod’s employer also offered benefits through Carrot Fertility, and the couple were able to gain a reimbursement for the initial fertility testing (Hycosy, blood tests and semen analysis), the cost of two rounds of IUI and a cycle of IVF.

IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) is a form of assisted conception treatment where prepared sperm is injected high into the womb at the time of ovulation. It uses the body’s natural cycle, is less invasive than IVF and is less expensive. Sadly this too was unsuccessful and it was recommended that the couple tried IVF.

“We could have had a third go at IUI but we wanted to move forward and, as IVF has a better success rate and we didn’t know why we couldn’t conceive, we were just keen to move forward.”

Reshma and Vinod

Felt supported by the employer

“Taking the medication for IUI had been hard and it was disappointing when it hadn’t worked. I was made redundant during Covid and felt it was important for me to focus on my fertility treatment. I think if I had been working when we had IUI/IVF and going through all the injections and medication I would have struggled quite a bit at work and feel strongly about employers being empathetic towards employees undergoing fertility treatments.

“The cost of our IVF treatment at Bourn Hall was also covered through Carrot Fertility. We paid for the treatment and then Carrot reimbursed us minus the tax. We feel incredibly fortunate that Vinod has the employment benefits that he does. He works for a global company and they really look after their staff – they also offer 12 weeks’ paternity leave.”

Best news ever

“Our IVF worked first time! Two weeks after embryo transfer I took a pregnancy test and got the famous two lines! I didn’t even look at the results initially because I was so scared! Vinod broke the news to me. I couldn’t believe it, my goodness I just couldn’t believe it because we had never ever been pregnant before…I was in disbelief!

“Our families had known we were having IVF treatment but we waited until we had the scan and then could tell there was a heartbeat before telling them our news. Everyone was overjoyed and both our mums started crying! It was really, really emotional. Everyone around us was really happy.

“Our little girl, Vedhika, was born in July. Eight months on, we feel every day that she is our biggest blessing and it still feels very surreal that we are parents to our baby girl.

“IVF is just the most amazing medical advancement. There is a social media hashtag #madewithloveandscience and that is how I feel. I don’t know if I would have ever become a mum without IVF, we might still be trying…”

Reshma and Vinod with Vedhika [credit Gabriella Fuzi]
Reshma and Vinod with Vedhika [credit Gabriella Fuzi Photography:]

There are a number of employee schemes available to support employees on their fertility journey; below are some of those where Bourn Hall has an existing agreement.

Carrot  – the Carrot Card is a one-of-a-kind, innovative payment solution to simplify fertility and family-forming care. Employees that are under a Carrot scheme can have tests and treatment at Bourn Hall and have the option to pay by using their Carrot card, or they self-pay and have it reimbursed by Carrot. The card is provided by visa and used in the same way as any other credit/debit card.

Peppy – Bourn Hall is a ‘Peppy Preferred Fertility Clinic’ – employees can choose to be referred to us if their employer offers benefits through Peppy.

Fertifa – under their employers’ schemes, patients could choose to be referred to Bourn Hall and would be able to recover some or all their costs for treatment.

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