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We Need To Talk About The Financial Trauma Of IVF

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Penelope, 30, and her husband, 38, have already spent £8,915 on fertility treatment – ​​but they are no closer to having a second child.

The couple, based in Manchester, had a baby thanks to one successful round of NHS-funded IVF in 2018, but now they’re facing spiraling private fees in a bid to grow their family.

“We are currently in debt and have had to take out a loan,” Penelope, who chose not to share her surname, tells HuffPost UK. “We have looked into selling the house but financially we would not be any better off with legal fees. We have reached out to family and friends but nobody we know is in a position to help. I have even donated my eggs to raise funds for another round.”

Penelope has PCOS and endometriosis, while her husband has male-factor fertility problems, meaning they require treatment to conceive. However, in their local area, couples are not eligible for further rounds of NHS IVF after having a child.

The NHS postcode lottery means thousands of hopeful parents are facing the same situation. Across the country, integrated care boards (IBCs) – previously called clinical commissioning groups – impose their own restrictions on IVF access, including age limitations, BMI cut-offs, and restrictions if one partner has a child from a previous relationship.

The government promised to address the disparity as part of the Women’s Health Strategy it unveiled in July, but some local IBCs are still not funding any IVF treatment at all.