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NHS Referral during Covid

Hi there

Am looking for a bit of advice as my GP isn't very communicative. 

We have been trying for 12 months with no success. I am 36 (OH is 35) and my periods while regular have been incredibly light. I was concerned at how light they were so we decided to go private for testing since weren't getting anywhere with the GP. 

Originally I was advised that my BMI was too high and this was why we were struggling. Further tests showed only 1 working ovary with mid to low follicle count. AMH came back as 4.2 as opposed to the expected 12-15.

The clinic have advised that our best shot is IVF, with a 25% chance of success. A bit heartbreaking to hear but still holding onto the hope that it might happen. Still need to lose some weight but clinic said as long as I can get below 35 BMI then I can have IVF.

We can't afford to go private, because of my AMH level I'd need the highest level of drugs and this puts it well out of our price range.

I spoke to my GP and they agreed to refer us to the NHS and we have received our letter for the Women's hospital Birmingham. When I went on to book an appointment it said none available and we now have to wait for them to contact us.

All the GP tells me is that it might take 6 months to get an appointment but our private tests should help speed things up.

Am just looking for some advice. Has anyone else been trying to get their first appointment during Covid? Can anyone advise on the referral process? Anyone know if it's possible to get the NHS treatment at a private clinic? 

Anything anyone can tell me will be gratefully received. 



  • @StillHopeful hey! I’ve only just seen this post so sorry no one has replied to you.
    i am also in the process of starting ivf treatment. Our issue is male infertility though.
    I had an appointment with the consultant at Derby hospital in April which was cancelled. They have only just reopened so I need to phone them to rebook, the clinic is called Care fertility (within the hosp). Is this the same people at Birmingham? If so you can phone them directly as long as your GP made the initial referral.

    Also, I have the bmi problem BUT I have been told it’s under 35 for private and under 30 for nhs? 

    There is a clinic near Derby called Nurture Fertility and they did a webinar the other day and said they can actually provide treatment at their clinic and claim the nhs funding.  

    Lastly.. I’ve been told that because we have had tests done prior to seeing the consultant that the timescale for treatment is fairly quickly and there also shouldn’t be any waiting time when they all reopen (after covid). 

    Hope that helps a little?
  • @SR19 thanks for your reply.

    Have you been able to get your consultation booked at Derby?

    Randomly, the private clinic we had our tests done at was CARE Birmingham - they were really nice so if you are able to go with their Derby clinic I think you will be in good hands.

    The CARE Birmingham guys have said the hospital could refer me to them for treatment but I have to go through the NHS referral hoops first to get the funding approved.

    I caved this week and rang BWH to try and get an update on our first appointment. Turns out the outpatients team are not making the appointments anymore (I couldn't understand who is other than it's another team that you can't call)

    Good news is I am on a waiting list, bad news is I have to wait another four weeks to see if someone contacts with an appointment. If not then we can call again to chase up. So that will be 6 weeks just to get a date for an appointment. I don't mind waiting for the appointment (mostly) but I hate having to wait to just get an appointment date and still not knowing how far away that appointment will be.

    I am really anxious about the weight / BMI element of the NHS decisions. I have finally got myself down to double digits! and my BMI is below 35 - am super proud of myself, it's been a huge struggle. I kind of feel sometimes that I am literally waiting months to just be told no because of my BMI.

  • SR19SR19 Regular
    edited Jul 7, 2020 7:59PM
    I rang Care today to be told that Derby have their own booking system. I rang them directly and was told that they were not accepting new patients at the moment as they have reduced staff. However if I was already in their system and had a appointment cancelled, someone would be in touch at some point. They are prioritising people who’s treatment was on hold etc but they’ll get to me eventually 🤷🏻‍♀️ No idea how long it’ll be until I hear something. Sounds like we are in the same position for this.

    As far as I am aware there aren’t many nhs finding hoops to jump through, all I have been told is that you can’t have a child already and your bmi must be below 30 (in most areas, some 29). That’s why I’m a little surprised they only told you below 35?

    I can completely understand the BMI struggle, you definitely should be proud of losing! 
    No matter what I do/don’t do I cannot shift this weight. I can’t ever imagine getting it down to under 30. I think I’ll either end up paying private OR I did read someone say their consultant helped them lose over 8 stone!! I’m hoping my consultant has a magic way to help me do this 😫🙄

    are you feeling positive about ivf? 
  • @SR19

    Sorry I think I have confused you in my initial ramble. The private clinic told me my BMI needs to be below 35 to go with them. Then I've been looking on the CCG policy for my NHS hospital and it says it has to be below 30 for treatment with them.

    This is why I am not feeling confident in waiting for the NHS appointment - I feel like they are just going to say no because of the BMI. I've finally got it down to just below 35 but like you I can't imagine how I am going to get it below 30.

    I would LOVE it if the GP gave me a magic pill of some sort to lose the weight, as it stands I need to lose 20 - 25% of my body weight. It's just not imaginable to me.

    I've been doing strict slimming world and walking everyday - attempting to hit 8,000 steps a day of good walking. I tried to do couch to 5K but I am sooo not built for running lol

    I'm not sure yet if I feel positive about the IVF. The success rate is lower because of my low egg reserves but it's not zero so that's something to feel positive about. Talking with the consultant at the private clinic it seems like the stumbling block for us is most likely to be the egg stimulation and collection. Apparently I have a lovely womb (always nice to hear lol) it's just whether or not I can produce decent eggs.

    It does mean that donor eggs might be a better option for us. I'm trying really hard to be positive about everything at the moment but it can be difficult. My OH is very positive that the IVF will work. Luckily he has strong sperm so it's just me that needs a bit of a jump start. I do count us as lucky that it is only problematic on one side and not both.

    How are you feeling about the IVF? I've read horror stories about the drugs making you really tired and emotional, I suppose it's just something to get use to if I want to be a mum :smile:

    We've been looking at the private funding options with Access Fertility - it's proper confusing all the different programmes they offer.

  • @StillHopeful sorry! Yes I understand now 🙈 I’m in the exact boat as you, although I’m not below 35 yet 😞 but it would be easier to get below 35 than get down to below 30. I haven’t been below 30 for over 5 years! 
    I can’t do slimming world, I tried for many many years and I gained weight. For me it’s just too much food and too many carbs 🙈. 
    I have a PT twice a week, I eat very healthily, low carb, high protein meals. I maintain like a bloody superstar but I cannot loss more than 1kg at the minute. I lost 4kg to start but stalled now and will not budge.  I will 100% get refused based on my bmi, I was dreading making an appointment for that very reason but after hearing that story about someone losing 8st I’m just hoping they can help me, somehow.  I work at a desk alll day so that doesn’t help with my step count.  

    ooh access! What a mind boggle! I have tried to understand it but boy it’s hard! I kinda of need my consultation just to be able to understand everything.  Access is good if you don’t have much hope/chance of it working straight away, but I’d it does.. you’ll end up paying more than you need to. 

    If you go on nurture fertility website/Facebook, they do online open events/webinars. I joined their last one and it tells you all about the treatments but they also let you ask questions at the end which I found really helpful. You can ask absolutely anything. 
  • @SR19 I'm feeling the same - if I could get the consultation then I feel like a lot of questions would be answered.

    Am going to look into the Nurture events - the clinic is too far for us to look into properly but if they are doing Q&As then that is definitely worth tuning in for. Thanks for the recommendation :)

  • @StillHopeful keep me updated of when you get that phone call 😬

    oh definitely, I found the session really helpful. It looks like they have one Tonight! 

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