Then they learned about the Discovery Health Medical Scheme’s Assisted Reproductive Therapy Benefit.
‘We had used up all our savings. I felt like my body wasn’t good enough to have a baby.”
Randi Kunz-Steyn (33) and Adele Steyn (40) met in 2015, got married in 2017 and decided it was time to start a family in 2018.
“We started with three rounds of intrauterine insemination, or IUI, with sperm from a sperm bank,” says Randi.
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a form of artificial insemination in which sperm is placed directly into the uterus around the time the ovary releases one or more eggs to be fertilized†
“Unfortunately, these procedures – which were performed three months in a row – were unsuccessful. Going through any kind of assisted reproductive therapy is both financially and emotionally taxing,” recalls Randi, “especially if you go through the same treatment month after month, each time hoping and praying for a baby.”
“We had used up all our savings and I felt like my body wasn’t good enough to have a baby. I questioned everything – my stress level at work, whether I had to make any life changes if we wanted to continue… and should we even keep trying?”
The couple decided to wait a year. In 2019, they went for in vitro fertilization (IVF). “Due to our financial situation, we went for a cheaper option that uses less drugs to stimulate egg production. This means that fewer eggs are extracted during the process,” explains Randi.
- Of in vitro fertilization (IVF), eggs are collected from the ovaries. They are then combined with sperm in a laboratory to be fertilized (“in vitro” means “in glass”). One or more fertilized eggs (called embryos) are then transferred to the uterus. Here they can implant in the endometrium and develop into a successful pregnancy†
“We started looking at adoption. We started the screening process and were put on a waiting list.”
“We could only afford one round of IVF, which came in at about R26,000,” says Randi.
“We didn’t get pregnant. So we called it a day. It had cost us all so much, on so many levels. We started looking at adoption. We started the screening process and were put on a waiting list.”
“And then, much to our surprise, Discovery Health Medical Scheme announced the launch of their Assisted Reproductive Therapy (ART) Benefit, available from January 2021.”
Randi and Adele belonged to several IVF-related groups on social media. They learned about this new benefit as soon as it was announced, in late 2020. At the end of the year, when they were able to upgrade their subscription type, they switched to an extended plan so that they could access this benefit.
“We were overjoyed to find out that the doctor who helped us with the IUI was in the medical network of doctors for the benefit, so we could work with a doctor we knew very well,” says Randi.
“On day six after the IVF transfer, I was up at 3:30 AM and took a home pregnancy test.”
“Through this IVF process, ten of my eggs were extracted,” explains Randi. “We fertilized them all and that resulted in five embryos, two of which were transferred to me.”
“Then came the wait to see if one would implant in my uterine lining. Eight days after the transfer we would have a blood draw to see if I was pregnant. Honestly, I was so excited that six days after the transfer, I was at 03 Got up at 3:30 AM and took a home pregnancy test. Can you blame me? I couldn’t wait to see what happened, especially after so many failed attempts to conceive!” she remembers.
“When that test turned out to be positive, I didn’t know what to think. I woke Adele, despite it being the middle of the night, and we were both in tears and praying that it was right. I then repeated the test on day seven – and it was positive. And the blood tests we did on day eight confirmed it all,” says Randi.
“We did one round of IVF and it was successful. We couldn’t believe it!”
It is a girl! No, it’s a boy!
“As soon as we found out we were pregnant, we started shopping for everything we needed. Three separate 4D scans showed we were having a girl, and we were thrilled!” Randy laughs.
“We had a gender reveal party, we chose a name and of course we bought everything in pink.”
“And then, later on at our 22 or 24 week scan, the doctor said we were in fact having a boy. Luckily we were able to swap almost everything and by the time our baby shower came we knew we were going to have a boy. ”
“The benefit of assisted reproductive therapy has changed our lives.”
“The Discovery Health Medical Scheme’s ART Benefit has changed our lives,” says Randi.
“We fought for three years to have a baby and, frankly, we had given up. We couldn’t afford to continue either. Getting access to IVF with the help of Discovery Health Medical Scheme meant we paid 25% of the cost and the medical scheme funded the rest.
“He is so sweet; a very easy baby”
“Jaxon was born safe and sound,” Randi says.
“I breastfed him until he was six weeks old, then pumped so that Adele could feed him too. In fact, I was blessed with so much milk that I even donated the extra milk we have to the South African breast milk reserve†
Jaxon is now four months old.
“He is so sweet; a very easy baby,” Randi says. “He really only cries when he’s hungry or tired or when he needs a diaper. And he laughs and laughs, which is so sweet.”
Discovery Health Medical Scheme, registration number 1125, is regulated by the Council for Medical Schemes and administered by Discovery Health (Pty) Ltd, registration number 1997/013480/07, an authorized financial services company