Eva McConville, a 28-year-old from Liverpool, is asking for strangers to pay for her to have IVF. She and her fiancé Matty, a 33-year-old builder, have been trying for a child for years, but have been unable to conceive. And as Matty has a child from a former relationship, the NHS has rejected them out of hand for IVF. As the couple lost all hope, Eva's mother decided to take an unusual move - and ask strangers for help through crowdfunding.
The crowdfunding page was set up by Eva's mother, Patricia, a 55-year-old social worker from Liverpool. She posted a letter that was originally written as part of an appeal for NHS funding. She explained that after trying for a baby for four years, Matty was diagnosed with lymphoma, had a testicle removed, and underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Prior to the treatment he was advised to deposit sperm into a sperm bank and was told that the couple would be entitled to two cycles of IVF. She added: "I believe what got them through, was the hope that they would fulfill their dream of having a child."
However, when they applied for funding for IVF from the NHS, they were rejected. They appealed the decision, but failed, and the Primary Care Trust said that this was because Matty already had a son from a former relationship. The letter went on to describe how the couple were both suffering emotionally, blaming themselves, and finding it impossible to face a childless future.
Eva told the Sun on Sunday that by the time they were finally rejected, the couple had been trying for a baby for nine years. So far they have raised £1,500 of the £6,000 they need to fund one round of IVF.
The situation is affecting an increasing number of couples, as the NHS faces funding difficulties and is cutting back on the IVF that it pays for. It means that anyone who falls outside the strict requirements set up by their Primary Care Trust will be refused treatment. And as a result, they are far from the only couple to have taken to crowdfunding.
At the moment Gofundme also has an appeal from another couple in the UK trying to raise money for a second round of IVF. Tragically although their first round was successful, their twin girls were born very prematurely. One little girl was stillborn and the other passed away in neonatal care.
It also features the fundraising efforts of another UK couple trying to raise money for a third round of IVF after a natural conception and the first round of IVF ended in an ectopic pregnancy - and the second round of IVF failed.
And another British couple are trying to raise money for IVF after their son Cody was stillborn, after contracting Strep B in the womb. Cody was conceived in their third round of IVF treatment, so they are not entitled to any more help from the NHS. They are trying to raise the money for more treatment privately.
Across the world, there are more than 800 separate appeals for funding for IVF treatment, many of which have heart-rending tales of loss and the desperate desire to have children. In the UK, where most people can generally expect to have three rounds of IVF on the NHS, you could be forgiven for thinking that we read these stories from elsewhere in the world, with a huge sense of relief that the NHS would be there for us if we needed it
Now, with the NHS under so much pressure, more and more of those who are desperate to become parents, are turning to each other for help. The question is whether there are enough kind strangers out there to close the gap.
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