THE family of a woman who has suffered nine miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy have launched a crowdfunding appeal to pay for a further course of IVF treatment.
Pamela Mackenzie, from Gracemount, is looking to raise £6,000 to help pay for IVF as she does not qualify for a free round of treatment on the NHS in Scotland as she has had two previous cycles.
The 36-year-old told the Evening News that she was “determined to keep trying” despite a heartbreaking round of miscarriages stretching back over 17 years and the agony of an ectopic pregnancy where the embryo implants itself outside the womb.
Pamela, who has been with her husband Ian for 19 years and married for nine, was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – a condition that makes it difficult to get pregnant – when she was just 13.
She was told by her local GP that she would need help to conceive a child and not to wait too long.
Pamela started trying for a child when she was 19, suffered her first miscarriage aged 21, and was left heartbroken by the experience having thought she would have a healthy pregnancy with a baby at the end.
The couple did not try for a few years as Pamela says she was “scared” the same thing would happen again but at the age of 25 she was rushed into hospital with an ectopic pregnancy which she described as “devastating”.
Pamela told how she has wanted to be a mum for her “whole life” and that husband Ian wants to experience fatherhood.
She said: “I’m determined to keep trying because there’s something in me that just wants to keep fighting to try and get pregnant and have a kid.
“Every time I think about giving up I end up keeping going.
“I just think that, until I’ve tried everything possible, I don’t want to give up.
“It would mean the world to me. If you asked me what I wanted to do as a job when I was young, I would have said ‘be a mum’.
“It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do my whole life.”
She added: “I’ve got six nephews and they’re really good to me, they’re basically like sons to me.
“They’ve been there for me – they give me a card on Mother’s Day, to their aunty, but it’s just not the same as having your own kids.
“I just really want to experience that, my husband feels the same – he wants to be a dad.
“It’s quite sad when it’s Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and you are sitting there thinking ‘it’s just the two of us’ – but he’s always going to be there for me, whatever happens.
“If we come to the end of the road and we’re told there’s just no possibility this is going to happen for us then we would look into fostering or adopting.”
As of April, funding for IVF treatment on the NHS will not be provided to couples where either partner has already received the number of NHS-funded IVF treatment cycles supported by NHS Scotland, regardless of where in the UK they received treatment.
Despite being ruled out for free IVF treatment, the couple are determined to continue their efforts to raise the money for a further cycle.
Pamela said: “My husband’s cousin has set up a www.gofundme.com page to raise money so that we can maybe get the chance to have another IVF cycle. She’s quite close to us and really feels for us and decided to set it up on our behalf. We’ve been overwhelmed and crying tears of joy over the kindness that our friends and family have shown by donating and the things they have been saying about us as well. It can cost anything between £5-£10k, we’re looking for £6k but we’re saving ourselves in case it costs more.
“I’ve had two IVF cycles on the NHS a few years ago but then I had frozen embryos from one of the cycles that I transferred to the Glasgow Centre for Reproductive Medicine, a private hospital.
“The money we had saved up went on this – around £2,500 – and it took a long time, there were quite a few years between the last IVF treatment and the frozen embryo transfer.”
She added: “You can keep going as far as you want with IVF provided you’ve got the money. If we raise the funds but it still doesn’t work then we would have to keep on trying to conceive naturally but I need medication to ovulate with my PCOS. After that we’d look at fostering or possibly adopting a child.”
NHS Lothian confirmed they spent £2.59 million on providing IVF treatment to eligible couples in 2016-2017 – more than in the two previous years.
Tracey Gillies, medical director at NHS Lothian, said: “We work entirely in line with Scottish Government guidelines regarding IVF treatment.”
Pamela said the new Scottish Government guidelines limited couples because it’s been shown it can take three or more IVF cycles to become successful.
She added: “They’re cutting everybody who has had treatment off by saying it’s only new people that are registered last April who can have free cycles. I think it’s unfair because it’s stopping thousands of people like myself from having more IVF treatment.”