‘It means everything’- Couple deemed too young for IVF start fundraiser to pay £3,000 bill
PUBLISHED: 05:30 22 August 2020
Copyright: Archant 2020
After three years of trying for a baby, Courtney and Kevin Hazlewood were “heartbroken” when doctors told them they would not be able to conceive naturally.
Then, unable to afford private In vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, the couple turned to the NHS - only to be told Mrs Hazlewood was too young and to return in her mid-20s.
The 21-year-old said it has always been her dream to start a family and despite her age, they are ready for the next step in their relationship.
Now Mr and Mrs Hazlewood, from Diss, who married in May 2019, have taken matters into their own hands and after donating her eggs, have been offered one round of IVF treatment - but with an upfront cost of £3,000.
She said: “They originally said I couldn’t get free IVF treatment until I was 23 or 24, so we put the idea behind us for a little while.
“We have been trying for three years and each time it didn’t happen it got more heartbreaking. So, we contacted them again and said is there anything else we can do?
“They said there is an option to donate some of your eggs and you can have a free round of IVF now, so it was a no-brainer.
“We would get what we want and I would be helping someone in a similar situation as well.
“But then they told us we would still have to pay around £3,000.
“Private IVF treatment can be as much as £10,000, so it is still heavily reduced, but that is still a lot of money and after lockdown that isn’t a sum we can afford.”
According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), woman under 40 should be offered three cycles of IVF treatment on the NHS if they have been trying to get pregnant for two years.
But Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) - which deliver NHS services - can introduce additional criteria before free IVF treatment is offered, such as falling into a certain age range.
Although NICE recommend that three cycles of IVF should be offered on the NHS, some CCGs only offer one cycle, or only offer NHS-funded IVF in exceptional circumstances.
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If couples opt for private IVF treatment, one cycle can cost up to £5,000 and there may be additional costs for medicines, consultations and tests.
A spokesman for NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases but in common with many CCGs we provide two cycles of IVF to women aged between 23 and 39, subject to the need to meet standard clinical and health criteria which includes but is not limited to, for example, previous IVF history and smoking status.”
In a bid to raise the £3,000, Mr and Mrs Hazlewood, both former carers who are currently out of work, have set up a gofundme page.
Mrs Hazlewood said: “We have done quite a bit of charity work in the past. I have done two sky dives, I won young person of the year 2015 for my fundraising and during lockdown I shaved my hair off for the Little Princess Trust.
“We just hope there is somebody who wants to help us now.”
Mr Hazlewood, who was told by doctors that his low sperm count was the reason the couple could not conceive, said he hopes to raise more awareness for men in his situation.
The 28-year-old said: “It has brought on depression and lack of confidence in myself. I wanted to bury my head in the sand.
“It took us a long time to tell people and it put a massive strain on our relationship. It feels like you’re letting a lot of people down.
“Men need to speak up about this problem.”
With a 29pc success rate for women under 35, the couple are hopeful their dream of a big family is still possible.
Mrs Hazlewood added: “I know I am only 21 but we are married, we have a house and now we are ready for children. It means everything to me.”
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