'I am denied a baby because I live in York'

Karen Boardman, who is calling for York to get free IVF on the NHS, in line with the rest of the country

Karen Boardman, who is calling for York to get free IVF on the NHS, in line with the rest of the country

First published in News
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York Press: Photograph of the Author by

A WOMAN who has been trying to conceive for three years has spoken of the injustice she feels that York is the only area in the UK not to fund IVF.

Karen Boardman, 34, from Heworth, said she thinks the "postcode lottery " caused by the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group's decision not to pay for a single cycle of IVF on the NHS is wrong.

Mrs Boardman, who has been trying for a baby since she married her husband Pete three years ago, has undergone fertility treatment to try to conceive and will try IVF in the future should it fail to work.

She said: "It's cruel. If you move to Hull you get three goes and to Leeds, at least one.

"I understand the argument that it's not a medical need but the fact that whether you're entitled to the treatment depends on where you are in the country is wrong.

"It also seems to give the wrong message - that in order to be entitled to have a family you need the money to pay.

"If we do have to go down the route of IVF we will have to dig into savings which could have been for things like baby clothes."

She said couples struggling to have a baby are under numerous pressures without the added worry of funding IVF. Having taken medication to help her conceive, she now has four more tries of a medical treatment in a fertility clinic in Leeds to help her fall pregnant without intervention before IVF will be attempted.

Mrs Boardman, an administrative assistant, said: "It's frustrating and upsetting. You have the thoughts 'maybe I don't deserve to be a mother' and all these things go through your mind."

Last week The Press reported how the The Vale of York - which covers York, Selby, Tadcaster and Easingwold - will now be the only area in the UK not to offer the treatment after Scarborough and Ryedale voted to reintroduce IVF on the NHS.

The cost to the NHS for an IVF cycle is £3,600, with additional drug charges, but couples struggling to conceive have to pay up to £5,000 a time privately.

Campaigners from the National Infertility Awareness Campaign and IVFyes as well as York MPs Hugh Bayley and Julian Sturdy have all appealed to York to re-think its policy.

Nicola Bates, founder of IVFyes, said: "It's devastating for patients and it's time York caught up with the rest of the UK."

Vale of York CCG took on the policy of not funding IVF from the former Primary Care trust from which it inherited £3.5million of debt.

It said the “severe financial situation” last year had informed its decision not to commission IVF but that work had started on a review of the matter and the governing body would discuss the matter in June and July.

Mrs Boardman said: "I just hope that we can continue to raise awareness. It's not just about me, it's about the other men and women in York that want to have a family. It's important to get awareness raised so people in York can have families themselves. It's atrocious York is on its own in not agreeing to funding."

- Mrs Boardman has set up a fertility support group. If you would like to join or can offer a venue for evening meetings, please email yorkfertilitynetwork@gmail.com

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