‘Postcode lottery’ leaves couple unable to have IVF treatment in this region

Amy Callaway and her fiance George Bridle
Amy Callaway and her fiance George Bridle

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A COUPLE have spoken of their heartache after being told they can no longer get fertility treatment for free.

George Bridle and his fiancee Amy Callaway have spent the past two-and-a-half years going to Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton to see if they can have IVF.

But the couple, from Paulsgrove, were told earlier this year that Amy, aged 35, was now too old to get the treatment on the NHS.

Amy said she was told a month after her birthday that they would have to pay £7,000 to get the treatment done.

She said: ‘We were never told about the age limit. We spent more than two years going back and forth to appointments and having them cancelled and re-arranged and not once was my age mentioned. We were heartbroken when we found out. It was devastating.’

George added: ‘It was gutting for us and the whole family.’

Amy and George tried to conceive for 18 months before going to the doctor for advice. They were referred to a fertility clinic and went for tests.

But more than two years later, the pair still had no luck getting the IVF treatment. Feeling like the hospital were not helping them, Amy and George started taking supplements to boost their fertility.

Amy added: ‘It wasn’t until a couple of months before I turned 35 that they suggested the supplements that we were already taking, but they warned it could be six months before they work.

‘We should have been told about them ages ago.’

The family want to raise awareness of the situation as they say each NHS hospital trust can set its own rules when it comes to fertility.

‘It is a postcode lottery,’ said Amy, who works in a nursery.

‘If we lived in Winchester, the age limit is 40.’

As an alternative to spending £7,000 to get one try of treatment on the NHS, Amy and George can also go private at the Wessex Centre in Southampton. But it will cost £10,000 for three tries of IVF, with money refunded if they’re successful.

Following the devastating news, the family are now trying to raise money.

Amy’s dad, Steven, said: ‘We have got lots of ideas to try to raise money to get George and Amy the treatment.

‘Friends and family have been really supportive and were shocked by the news of the age limit.’

The family are doing a sponsored walk on Sunday, July 31 from Paulsgrove to Canoe Lake. They will be dressed in blue and pink.

Anyone wanting to make a donation should visit crowdfunding.justgiving.com/amy-callaway.