Calls for government to do more to help with cost of IVF

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And one of those women – Jamie-Leigh Hervé – has today chosen to tell her own ongoing story of infertility, baby loss and the struggle to afford IVF in the hope of raising awareness and showing others going through it they are not alone.

Currently, only those with a combined household income of less than £34,000 get any financial help with IVF. Other patients under the age of 40 have their drugs paid for by the government, but they have to pick up the bill for the actual treatment – part of which involves travel to the UK or further afield.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that, subject to certain criteria being met but excluding the individual’s financial situation, all women under 40 should be offered three cycles of IVF on the NHS, and those aged 40-42 one cycle.

Jersey’s Assisted Reproduction Unit is currently being redesigned pending the retirement of the Island’s fertility expert, Neil Maclachlan, and Health has pledged to look at funding as part of that process.

Chloe Fosse, whose Wouldn’t Be Here campaign has been raising awareness of infertility and the work of Jersey’s Assisted Reproduction Unit, said she and her husband spent around £55,000 on fertility treatment before they were successful. Money, she said, became ‘very hard’ to find ‘very quickly’.

She said Jersey could at least come into line with the NICE guidelines, which it follows in so many other areas.

‘It would make a huge difference to so many people – for some the difference of whether they ever have a child or not.

‘Infertility is classed as a disease by the World Health Organisation and, quite simply, it should not come down to whether you can afford to pay or not as to whether you are able to access treatment.’

Mrs Fosse, who runs the Facebook and Instagram accounts Tiny Seeds Jersey, added: ‘Every spare penny went into our savings account for the next cycle. We had to borrow from parents and grandparents and also the bank. We still have loans outstanding from this. But we were lucky that we had these options and although times were hard, we managed to find the funds.’

Another former ARU patient, Leah Black, donated half of the eggs she had collected as part of her IVF treatment just to be able to afford the procedures, which halved the bill for her and her husband.

Mrs Hervé, who is still fighting to become a mother after years of setbacks and tragedy, said it was going to take her and her husband ‘years’ to save up for their next round of IVF, which is now their only option of having a child.

All three women want the government to consider extending its funding for people like them.

Mrs Hervé said: ‘We just hope in the future the Jersey government will put funding into situations like ourselves, that takes years of saving for IVF, to help us fulfil our dreams. Until then all we can do is remain hopeful that one day we will get our happily ever after with the support of our amazing ARU department to guide and support us throughout.’

Mrs Black said she was concerned other women may feel forced into donating their eggs, as she did, to be able to afford access to IVF.

‘I think the government need to help our Islanders and offer more help financially,’ she said. ‘IVF is truly heartbreaking and can destroy people – more needs to be done.’

‘I had 29 eggs collected and 15 of them were taken straight away for other families,’ she said. ‘I remember having to sit down and write a letter [at the instruction of the clinic] to “what could be my future child” saying why I donated my eggs. It was all very emotional and a very upsetting feeling but the thought of possibly helping another couple conceive and halving the cost for us helped massively.’

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