But not for us. Poor WW almost choked at the clinic yesterday. We thought we were past the mega cash input parts of our first IVF cycle. When Doc W phoned a few weeks ago he mentioned that we would have to pay extra for embryo storage as the package we had only covered 16 (and we have 27). I mentioned this to WW, the banker of our little family but it didn’t occur to me to check how much that was.
I thought it should have been a cheaper visit to the clinic this time as we had just had a blood test, quick chat, some pills and a tube of gel. Whispery Nurse handed WW the bill and I watched her double take. There was a quick chat in Thai, WW asked me to confirm that Doc W had quoted 160 GBP for storage. I denied this. Not sure when or why I gave her this number- I think I’ve been quite foggy with the injections. It wasn’t until we were in the elevator that she told me that sessions bill was actually 440 GBP. Woah! And now we’re broke half way through the month.
I’ve lived in Thailand for long enough now that I don’t try to convert everything from baht into GBP, I know roughly what is expensive such as 40 baht for street food is good, 300 baht for Thai food anywhere is a lot. 80 baht for a large beer is good, 200 baht for a small beer better come with a damn nice view. But not converting everything into ‘real money’ makes it seem insignificant, like playing monopoly. This prevents me from grabbing WW and leaving cartoon style holes in the wall as we sprint away from these bills.
Here is a rough run down of our expenses so far:
- initial doctors consultation including blood test and ultrasound: 100 GBP
- blood test and ultra sound on month we started treatment: 100 GBP
- 1 straw of donor sperm inc shipping to Thailand: 423 GBP
- import fees and freezing and storage of donor sperm at our clinic : 220 GBP
- IVF package at our clinic, inc stimulation and trigger drugs, egg retrieval and egg collection: 3200 GBP
- blood test to check if ready for transfer, fee for freezing additional embryos, fee for refreezing left over sperm, hormones to get ready for a frozen transfer: 440 GBP
Which gives us a grand total of 4,483 GBP. Then at least an additional 800 GBP for any additional embryo transfers (as long as we don’t run out of embryos, then its another 3200). OMG.
When I was growing up my parents talked often of the debt they got into after they finished university (and had a couple of babies before they got decent jobs). I’ve worked since I was 14 and with the exceptions of a few minor hiccups I haven’t really had any debt since then. I was super lucky that my very generous parents were able to pay off my 6,000 GBP student loan (for all you Americans out there you did read that right- in England we
don’t like didn’t used to like to send our young graduates out into the world crawling below the weight of a mountain of debt..and in Scotland university is free!!). I’ve never had credit cards or more than a minor overdraft and I like to keep it that way. We don’t have any money coming in apart from my part-time teaching salary and so we’ve been saving for almost a year to be able to afford this treatment.
Bang.kok can be your best friend or your worse enemy when it comes to saving. Most things here can be done for much cheaper than home except for buying cars and alcohol. However there are a lot of hi-society bars and restaurants just itching to sneak their grubby little hands into your pockets. Thankfully WW and I are happy with the simple (but still nice) life. We eat meals for 1 GBP or less often (I …touch wood… have never gotten sick from this, if the vendor looks clean go for it, if they are squeezing spots and wiping their hands on their t-shirt and you’re not sure what color that t-shirt used to be, move on). We treat ourselves to more expensive Western food once or twice a week. We generally drink in affordable places (and find all the deals!) and so we are able to save.
Most of the Westerners I know go home at least once a year, more often for some. Thankfully I am less keen to head back to the UK, although it would have been nice to catch up with some friends and family. Which good because there is no way we’d swing the flights with the clinic bleeding us for every penny we have. So we’ll be having a penny pinching Christmas here this year. The first ever Christmas I’ve had without my family.
I goes back to my ‘peter pan’ syndrome and my love of children. Last year WW had her first full on Christmas with me (the year before we went to the beach with my family who were visiting. It was disappointing for me. The beach is for summer, not Christmas). Last year our big tree went up at the end of November (I know, don’t judge me) and from the 1st of December we watched a different Christmas movie every night. LOVED IT! Think WW was a bit underwhelmed but that’s probably a good thing, I was excited enough for both of us!
Only 10 weeks to go until Christmas. I’ve already started arguing with WW about the tree. We bought one my first year here which was cheap and looks cheap. And bald. And despite the fact is is festooned with about A MILLION ornaments it’s still ugly. And badly lit. I am buying an expensive, pretty, fake one from the department store. No more cheap supermarket trees for me!
Oops, I digress.
What would be really, really nice is if I could be happy away from my family for the first time knowing that I was growing my own little family. I’ve already given up on the hope of sending sonogram pics instead of Christmas cards as it was safely after my first trimester.
All I want for Christmas is a growing belly and morning sickness which is a symptom of pregnancy and not the usual over indulgence. I’m not sure if your sleigh and reindeer will cope with our humidity, and watch out for those damn midges but if you can grant me this wish I’ll leave you a huge plate of Tom Yum soup to warm your belly and a two fingers of Sangsom to make the flight a little more enjoyable.