How much would YOU pay to be a mother From surrogacy to IVF and even acupuncture, meet the women spending a fortune to conceive…
07:33 GMT, 3 September 2012
On Saturday, the Daily Mail told the story of a British couple who spent 20,000 having a baby using an Indian surrogate. It revealed the lengths some couples will go to for a child and the huge costs they face. So what is the price of having a baby Here, three women reveal how much they spent to have their children.
Nikki Bains, 47, an NHS admin assistant, lives with husband Bobby, 48, and children Daisy, four, and Dylan, two, in Ilford, Essex. They spent 150,000 on fertility treatment using surrogate mothers in India. Nikki says:
'It may have taken 15 years to have the children we always longed for but it’s been worth the wait. That said, there’s no denying our dream family has come with a hefty price tag. In fact, we’ve spent our life savings on fertility treatment and endured years of heartbreak to have Daisy and Dylan.
Bobby and I started trying for a baby in 1997. When nothing had happened a year later we went to see our GP, who told us we had unexplained infertility.
NIKKI PAID 150,000: Nikki Bains, a 47-year-old NHS admin assistant, and her husband Bobby paid 150,000 for fertility treatment using surrogate mothers in India
In 1999, we had our first round of
IVF, which we paid for privately at a cost of 5,000. I was distraught
when it failed but was determined to keep trying. After a total of five
attempts — costing 25,000 — I started to wonder if we’d ever have a
mounting, we wondered how we could afford to continue, but we had
savings and Bobby worked as an engineer, which paid well. We never
thought about giving up as we always wanted a family.
2002, we started to look into surrogacy, signing up with two agencies
in the UK. We considered adoption but I hoped we could have a child that
had a genetic link to us. It wasn’t an easy decision to make as I’d
always wanted to experience a pregnancy, but above anything, we wanted a
Investment: Nikki Bains with daughter Daisy in India when she went to collect her son Dhillon
We were left heartbroken yet again when the surrogate we found tried to convince us to give her a large sum of money behind the agency’s back, which is illegal (you’re not allowed to pay surrogates anything above expenses in the UK). Of course, we said No and pulled out. It felt as though we were being blackmailed — she knew how much we longed for a baby and played on our desperation.
A second potential surrogate changed her mind when she heard we weren’t white. There were days when I’d come home from work and just cry. Meanwhile, Bobby retreated into his own world and suffered from depression. If our relationship wasn’t so strong it could have destroyed us.
That’s when we turned our attention to India, where there is no shortage of surrogate mothers and they are allowed to accept payment. We’re both of Indian origin and felt it was a link to our heritage.
We knew our actions might be considered controversial, but our friends and family were all supportive. We were told a successful pregnancy using a surrogate would cost us 15,000, and 4,000 if it failed.
We started the process in 2004 when I was 40, using Bobby’s sperm and donor eggs. /09/02/article-2197349-14CE4C8D000005DC-893_636x622.jpg” width=”636″ height=”622″ alt=”KERRY PAID 21,000: Mark and Kerry Shakesbury had their triplets from a single IVF cycle. Oscar, left, Olivia and Phoebe, right” class=”blkBorder” />
KERRY PAID 21,000: Mark and Kerry Shakesbury had their triplets from a single IVF cycle. Oscar, left, Olivia and Phoebe, right
In total, I’ve undergone five cycles of IVF in the last eight years, two of them on the NHS and another three privately. It cost 7,000 per cycle and each time it failed was like a knife to the heart. We feared we’d never become parents.
After our fourth round in 2010 also didn’t work, I realised that physically and mentally I needed a break, so Mark and I started to look into adoption. We’d attended a couple of open days when we decided to give IVF one last shot. So, in June last year, I embarked upon my fifth and final cycle.
The clinic explained it was its policy to implant only one embryo to avoid the complications that arise from multiple pregnancies, but I’d had two embryos put in before and Mark and I argued with them until they agreed to implant two. That would double my chances of getting pregnant and I knew this was my last chance.
Two weeks later, I was overjoyed to discover I was pregnant, but I knew I couldn’t take anything for granted
Two weeks later, I was overjoyed to discover I was pregnant, but I knew I couldn’t take anything for granted. I’d been pregnant once before, during my second cycle of IVF, but I went on to suffer a miscarriage just two weeks later. While I was thrilled to be pregnant, I knew my happiness could be taken away from me at any point and the early stages of my pregnancy were fraught.
But I was in for a big shock at my first scan. When the midwife told me she could see not one, but three babies, on the screen, I burst into tears. I was flabbergasted. It turned out one of the embryos had split in two and we were having identical twin girls and a little boy. Mark and I had always wanted three children and now we had a ready-made family. We spent the weekend racing round telling all our friends and family the good news.
In December last year, I underwent an emergency Caesarean. The babies were 10 weeks premature and absolutely tiny — Oscar weighed 3lb 10oz, Olivia was 3lb 6oz and Phoebe was 2lb 10oz — but they were perfect. They spent five weeks in hospital and Mark and I stayed by their side. Our Christmas dinner was a tin of Heinz chicken soup and a beef sandwich in hospital but all that mattered was that we were with our babies.
We’re still a long way off paying back the 20,000 we borrowed for treatment — we’re going without nice holidays, dinners out and upgrading our car.
The triplets are now eight months old and they’re beautiful, happy babies. Having three children is a bit of a handful but I wouldn’t change them for the world. The money we spent on treatment barely comes into my mind. In all honesty, I would have spent 100,000 to have a family.
Children — and the happiness they bring — isn’t something you can put a price on.
Kim Colley, 45, a graphic designer, lives with husband Andrew, 40, a freelance editor, and their son Charlie, two, in St Albans, Hertfordshire. They spent 1,500 on acupuncture to help Kim conceive. Kim says:
'I had always wanted children but it had never been the right time and my career and lifestyle always seemed to get in the way. I was 38 when Andrew and I got married in 2004 and we started trying for a baby two years later. At the age of 40, I knew it might take a while but I hoped I hadn’t left it too late.
KIM PAID 1,000: Kim Colley, Andrew Gillingwater and son Charlie, two. Her career and lifestyle had meant that Kim had delayed trying for a baby until she was 40 years old
A year later, I was thrilled to discover I was pregnant. But I suffered a miscarriage when I was six weeks pregnant. I was devastated but I tried to be as pragmatic as I could about my situation. I reassured myself that at least it meant I was capable of getting pregnant.
That’s when I started looking into alternative therapies that could help me conceive — and then hold on to the baby. Although it’s not been scientifically proven, there is anecdotal evidence that acupuncture can aid fertility, and I was curious to see if it worked.
My elder sister had conceived with the help of acupuncture 30 years ago and I decided I had nothing to lose by trying it. IVF was always at the back of my mind but I wanted to try alternative treatments first.
After a recommendation from a friend I decided to go with acupuncturist Kate Dixey, based in Notting Hill, West London. I booked in for a session once a month, which later increased to weekly. It cost 90 an hour and I noticed the benefits immediately, so in my mind it was money worth spending.
The treatment helped me de-stress and I felt like I was offloading all my emotions at the same time. I would come away feeling really buoyant and positive. Kate explained that the stress that had been building up in my life may have stopped me from being able to conceive. She believed in treating not just the symptoms but also a person’s spirit, and made me realise it was all about my state of mind. I knew I had to be positive.
In March 2009, six months after starting the treatment with Kate, I found out I was pregnant. I was ecstatic. Opinions on the benefits of acupuncture are divided — one doctor told me he thought it was a load of rubbish while another actively encouraged me to have it, but in my mind there is no doubt whatsoever that acupuncture is the reason I conceived so easily.
In December 2009, our son Charlie was born by Caesarean section at a private hospital in London.
I was worried my body wouldn’t be able to cope with giving birth at 42, but it was pretty pain free. I spent around 1,500 on acupuncture treatments in total but it was well worth the cost as I now have a beautiful little boy to show for it.