I always knew that there was something not quite right with my body when I didn't fall pregnant within three months. However in Australia if you were to tell a doctor your concerns so early on they would tell you to keep trying and if you still can't conceive by twelve months then come back for a referral. We all know our body's better than anyone else and usually your intuition about your health is correct. I personally didn't want to waste an entire year only to discover what I already knew.
Not only that but once you receive a referral to a Fertility Clinic it can usually cost couples hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the treatment. It can cost even more should you not be so fortunate and your treatment option doesn't work. Luckily for us we were able to conceive using super cheap fertility treatments in India.
At the time it was my second trip to India given we were waiting on an outcome for my husband's residency application. Unfortunately he was permanently residing in India waiting anxiously for the call to say he was approved. We had both always wanted to start a family which was impossible when we were both residing in different countries. Given I was only going to be in India for six months we didn't want to waste time as suggested by Australian doctors. Therefore we decided to visit a local Fertility Hospital in India to confirm if in fact I had any health complaints that would impact conceiving a child. That way we would at least be in a position to receive treatment if required.
In India fertility treatments are available to all social classes, not just the wealthy. So as you could imagine Fertility Hospitals are very popular and overflowing with patients. You can read more about my experiences visiting hospitals and doctors in my post What To Expect Visiting A Doctor In India. Fertility Hospitals aren't quite like General Hospitals as they are privately owned whereas a General Hospital is public. Therefore they are much cleaner and hygienic.
Seeking treatment at an Indian Fertility Hospital means you may have access to a wider array of medications that might not be available in Australia or potentially are heavily regulated making it difficult to obtain. This can be both a positive and negative as this means you must do your research beforehand and ensure you find a reputable clinic. Given legislation's aren't as restricting it means it potentially could be easier to receive the most effective treatment for you up front. Rather than going through many different treatments before receiving the most effective treatment. That is why some couples can have such expensive fertility bills as they don't always receive the most effective treatment first. For example it might be a matter of receiving a stronger prescribed medication or larger dose of medication that you wouldn't normally be able to receive.
The treatment that I required is what is known as Ovulation Induction, as essentially my body was producing eggs however they were rupturing before they could pass down the fallopian tubes. My intuitions were right as my period had always been much longer and over the last few years they became much shorter although remained regular. Given my periods came so often it was a sign that my body wasn't ovulating and thus unable to conceive naturally without assistance. Though having a regular period was a good sign as this meant it was nothing severe. Therefore the doctor prescribed me with oral medication that would essentially induce ovulation. In Australia this can also be via injection. This is the first step in the process and is usually known as ovulation stimulation.
The next couple of weeks were hell as the medications prescribed were so strong that I was severely ill suffering from a long list of side effects. I was bed ridden as I was incredibly nauseous, violently vomiting to the point it felt as though an organ would come out, lethargic and overall just had a feeling of malice. At that point in time I wasn't sure if it was worth it, however I can tell you now that it was the best decision ever to stick through it. I had to take the medication for approximately a week however I couldn't finish the entire script as my body couldn't tolerate the side effects. Luckily I had endured just long enough for the medication to do what it was intended to do.
Usually they would then do blood tests and further ultrasound scans though I was too ill to even make the trip to the hospital. This is to track the levels of hormones in your body. Fortunately for us our first attempt was successful and a pregnancy test confirmed I was pregnant. Though we didn't celebrate at first until I could have a blood test to confirm as the urine stick only had a faint positive.
We were so fortunate to have a success story on our first attempt and that we weren't left out of pocket for the costs. The entire process cost approximately $50 AUD including the medication. Which is shocking considering in Australia Ovulation Induction can cost $800 and upwards depending on the clinic. And that's not including the medication. Then if you aren't successful on your first attempt you have further costs, leaving many couples unable to pursue their dreams of starting a family. Obviously if travelling to India there is the cost of your return flights, which if you book in advance can start from $700 AUD from Brisbane Australia. Then there is an additional cost of accommodation which you would need to factor in when considering if it is the best option for you. Though you can find super cheap quality accommodation fairly easy in India.
If I received this treatment in Australia I don't believe that it would have been successful on the first attempt. That is the one benefit of travelling to India for treatment as it isn't as heavily regulated which allowed me to receive a more potent dose. Of course a more potent dose means a greater chance of suffering side effects however to me it was worth it. That does mean it can be riskier and you do need to do your research first. Receiving the most effective dose up front can save you ongoing costs as it has a higher chance of being successful. That would be the reason why I would choose to travel to India for fertility treatment. I was lucky that my husband knew someone who knew the doctor which meant that we were in good hands.
So ladies if you feel that something isn't quite right with your body I always say follow your intuition. Don't let other people make you feel as though you are over reacting. There is no harm in having a check up as that can save you a lot of heartache in the long run if you catch any symptoms early on. Also a second opinion doesn't hurt either should you not be satisfied with your first prognosis.
If you are considering travelling overseas then I would certainly recommend India as the entire process was relatively stress free. That is taking into consideration that the process was simple, affordable and successful. Obviously this may not be an option for everyone as it depends on your individual circumstances. I travelled to rural India in the Northern State of Punjab where you don't tend to find many tourists. It is less westernised than many Southern States of India and therefore you would need to have an interpreter. However you would be able to find Fertility Clinics across India and would simply need to do some research to locate one in a more accessible city. It is definitely a viable alternative for those couples who have been quoted a treatment costing thousands or for those who have tried one too many times. For me it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
I'd love to hear your fertility stories in the comments below if you have travelled abroad to conceive. (available via desktop only)
If you have any questions regarding the process and are considering travelling to India please feel free to contact me directly. I will try my best to answer any questions you may have. Note that this article is based on my experiences and opinions, and doesn't constitute as professional advice.