A campaign has been launched in Wales seeking government funding for IVF treatment. The state health service currently only pays for one cycle, despite UK guidelines stating that patients should receive three.
Kara Ellard, who has been trying to conceive for 11 years and has undergone six cycles of IVF, is calling for Wales to follow England's lead and make the change.
AdvertisementBut the Welsh Assembly Government said it cannot afford to pay for three free cycles.
Kara, a 32-year-old hotel receptionist, who lives in Pembrokeshire, said: "There will be many couples out there who give up if their one free cycle fails because they cannot afford to continue trying.
"Everyone should be able to have the chance to have children - when this comes down to whether you have the money to keep trying, it is so sad."
Kara and husband Luke, a 30-year-old depot manager, have remortgaged their home and used credit cards to pay for IVF. Sadly Kara has suffered two miscarriages.
The NHS paid for the couple's first cycle using fresh embryos and another using frozen. Since then they have spent about £8,000 trying to conceive.
Health Commission Wales has just refused the couple further funding for IVF under the exceptional circumstances procedure.
Kara and Luke have taken a 10-month break but are planning to undergo further treatment at IVF Wales, which is based at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
"It is such a draining process," Kara said. "You don't know from one day to the next where your emotions are - they are all over the place. It's a horrendous journey.
"When you start a cycle you are very positive and think that this time it's going to be the one that works.
"But as you get further along the cycle, you get scared and start to question whether it will work and fear that it will fail."
There is about a 30% success rate for each cycle of IVF.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has recommended that patients should have three free cycles, Wales Online reports.
It is understood that funding constraints in Wales prevent infertile couples from having the same access to IVF treatment on the NHS as their English neighbours.
The online petition launched by Ms.Kara Ellard says: We call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Assembly Government to set out a formal process leading to the full implementation of the NICE clinical guideline CG11 on fertility (published in 2004) including its recommendation to provide up to three full cycles of IVF. Three full cycles should be made available free of charge by the NHS.
Jackie Brown, director of the Natural Health and Fertility Clinic in Cardiff, said: "We fully support what Kara is campaigning for and will actively encourage those that visit or are treated at our clinic to sign her very worthwhile petition."
An Assembly Government spokesman said: "Based on the guidelines introduced by Nice, it was agreed that, on balance, the fairest way to implement an equitable service across Wales, within the available resources, was to offer new and existing patients one cycle of treatment which would be subject to a number of criteria.
"The IVF access criteria across Wales were implemented by Health Commission Wales in July 2005.
"While the Assembly Government recognises that one cycle of IVF treatment falls short of the Nice recommendation of three cycles, the budget position of the NHS in Wales does not allow an increased service at the current time beyond one cycle of treatment."
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