Heartbroken Lancaster woman ‘forced to fund own IVF’ as partner already has a child – Lancs Live

A Lancashire woman who was refused IVF because her partner is already a father, says she has fallen foul of the CCG "postcode lottery."

Last month, Lancaster's Danielle Taylor, said she was told by the Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) that she would not be eligible for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) funding because her partner Jamie Joff, 29, already has a daughter.

The 29-year-old, who is a clinical support worker for the NHS in Manchester, found out at 18 that she had two blocked fallopian tubes, making it clinically impossible for her to conceive a child.

Danielle has told LancsLive that her infertility has mentally destroyed her over the past decade, making her feel "useless."

But this latest blow from the CCG she says has "rubbed salt in the wound" especially as other commissioning groups, with differing requirements for IVF, would have been able to offer her the treatment.

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"I shouldn't be penalised because Jamie has a daughter," said Danielle.

"It just seems so wrong, it's a postcode lottery, we could be living in one area and get funding.

"I love Jamie's daughter, I worship the ground she walks on, but it has been really hard looking after somebody else's child when I have always wanted my own. I have dreamt about it my whole, entire, life.

"It feels like the CCG are saying that I'm ok to look after Jamie's child but I'm not allowed to have my own. It's wrong."

Ever since Danielle was a little girl she has wanted to be a mother.

Danielle can clearly remember being asked by careers counsellors and teachers about what she wanted to be when she grew up.

Her response was always the same.

"I used to say: I want to be a mum. I've wanted to be a mum for as long as I can remember," she said.

"I've never had a career focus or a drive to go to university and study, I've just wanted a family."

When she was 18, Danielle and her ex-partner were struggling to conceive a child and they visited the doctors to investigate.

Doctors told Danielle that she had Hydrosalpinx which had led to an incurable blockage in both fallopian tubes.

"I'm clinically infertile, it's impossible for me to conceive," she added.

"It wasn't what I expected, when you're young you just think you will grow up, find the right person, and it will be so easy.

"You just think it will happen, but sometimes it's just not going to happen.

"It made me feel useless, it made me feel like I wasn't a proper woman, that I wasn't good enough."

Danielle spent the next decade in torment wanting to have just one thing but being unable to get it.

She even admits that her infertility was so torturous that she considered taking her own life and has fought against depression and anxiety in the years since her diagnosis.

"It annihilated my mental health," said Danielle. "I never thought I would be in this position.

"I feel like a failure as a woman, because I can't do what God has intended a woman to do. We are built to carry a child."

In 2018 Danielle met her current partner Jamie. The couple have now been going strong for three years and are very much in love.

Thinking they would be eligible for IVF treatment through the NHS, they put themselves forward with the Morecambe Bay CCG.

On May 28, the couple were told that they did not meet the requirements for funded IVF treatment on the NHS because Jamie already has a child.

Danielle said: "I wanted to give up when I was told I wasn't going to get IVF, I had given up all hope.

"Everybody knows how much I want this, how much we both want this, it seems so unfair that I have to go through this to get something other people are just given.

"How can they do this to me? This has been 13 years of infertility for me, it has taken over my life."

According to the Morecambe Bay CCG, one of the requirements for funded IVF is that "the patient, and their partner in the case of couples, must not have a living biological or adopted child from their current or any previous relationship."

This is not a requirement at all CCGs, with the criteria varying from place to place.

Other CCGs, like Chorley and South Ribble, and Preston, offer IVF when the patient has no living child but do not specify whether this extends to the partner.

"We could move but I don't want to uproot my life," said Danielle. "I have my house, my job, my dog, my partner, my car; I have everything I could ever want but a child.

"We want to complete our family, it would be the family unit complete, that is the only thing missing."

Research undertaken by the BBC in 2018, showed that 80 per cent of English CCGs did not offer IVF if one partner had a living biological or adopted child.

Hilary Fordham, Chief Operating Officer at Morecambe Bay CCG told LancsLive that treatment requirements for funded IVF in the area were integral to "support equity of service."

She said: We are very sorry to hear of this patients difficulty in conceiving and we appreciate the distress it can cause.

The policy for assisted conception services has been adopted by Morecambe Bay CCG and is applied across all of Lancashire and South Cumbria.

"The reason CCGs have commissioning policies of this type is to support equity of service commissioning and support allocation of funding to areas of care in the most evidenced based way.

"We would like to assure you that the development and review of clinical policies follows a rigorous process, including public engagement which has been agreed by the executive boards of all CCGs in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

It is also the responsibility of CCGs to review clinical policies on a regular basis and we welcome patients views.

"If anyone is interested in becoming involved in the next review of the policy for assisted conception services please contact us."

Danielle and Jamie will be privately funding for IVF treatment and are currently saving towards the 5,000 fee for one cycle.

The couple are also asking for public donations to go towards the conception programme.

You can donate to Danielle and Jamie's GoFundMe here.

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Heartbroken Lancaster woman 'forced to fund own IVF' as partner already has a child - Lancs Live

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