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As part of our commitment to supporting women, we’re exploring issues that affect us at every stage of life. That’s why following our panel event, The F Word, we’re launching a new series of fertility features on the EDIT.

We spoke to local authority worker Nicky Barber to learn about her journey with in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and get real about the costs of pursuing parenthood – both financial and emotional. After struggling to get pregnant, Nicky and her partner turned to IVF in hopes of changing their luck. , the world’s first IVF insurance provider, has been supporting her along the way.

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Tell us your story.

We married in 2018 and in 2019, we visited our GP and had routine fertility tests. We discovered that we had a male factor which was causing our infertility and were referred for an NHS IVF round, which was unsuccessful. We self-funded two rounds at a different clinic, which were also unsuccessful. We are now on our third privately funded IVF cycle with Gaia and a new clinic.

Tell us about your fertility journey – what challenges did you face, and how did you navigate them?

Bad news never gets any easier. Navigating infertility in a world where having children is considered the social norm is hard. We have faced setback after setback, with very little support from previous IVF clinics. We took a very long break from our last failed cycle. This time, we discovered Gaia and found a new clinic that we trust.

What is going through IVF really like?

Going through IVF is TOUGH. Nothing can prepare you for the mental toll. I consider myself a resilient person and I lost myself for a while on this journey. I have the most amazing husband, family and friends, but I still felt so alone at times. If you let it, IVF will consume your entire being. You have to try and find a way to ensure that it doesn’t.

What’s been your experience with Gaia?

I came across Gaia through social media. My experience with them has been incredible. I cannot praise the company enough; their staff, ethos, values. They care about their members and that shows. Nader AlSalim, CEO + Founder, started Gaia because of his own family’s IVF experience. After years of treatments across multiple clinics and countries, Nader and his wife were fortunate to have a child. But it was painful. Exhausting. Expensive. 

What Nader has created is outstanding. His drive and perseverance to create something that no one else has is remarkable. It feels so good to be involved in a company that genuinely cares about you and wants to see you succeed.

Let's talk about the costs with IVF. What would you advise other women considering it?

The costs mount up. When considering IVF, there are a lot of factors that many people don’t think about: pre-investigations, medication, add-ons, travel expenses, prescriptions, storage – the list goes on. We have spent close to £30,000 on our journey so far.

My advice would be to look into using an insurance company like Gaia. Having that reassurance has made navigating the start of our new journey with our new clinic so much easier.

What three things should women consider before committing to IVF?

Find a clinic you really love, that you really believe in and that you trust wholeheartedly.

IVF will always cost more than you ever budgeted for or expected.

Be prepared to drop things at the last minute to start cycles, make appointments and do blood tests.

To learn more about Gaia and how they can support you on your fertility journey, head to .