Life Family Features

Thursday 23 November 2017

'After having a baby through IVF I got pregnant naturally and I just thought, 'Well that isn't fair''- RTE meteorologist

Joanna Donnelly
Joanna Donnelly
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

RTE meteorologist Joanna Donnelly has revealed how her own struggle to conceive led her to set up a fertility charity for people in a similar situation.

The presenter and mum-of-three, who joined RTE in February, said that she set up the charity Pomegranate with her pal Fiona McPhillips after they both experienced difficulties in becoming pregnant.

"My middle child was IVF. Afterwards, I got pregnant naturally and I just thought, 'Well that isn't fair' - there are people in a terrible position of never being able to afford IVF.

"People seem to know that IVF is very expensive and it is, but they often don't realise that the run-up to IVF is also very expensive.

"You don't just wake up one morning and say, 'I am going for IVF; you have all the scans, all the tests, which have usually depleted people's savings before they go anywhere near a private hospital for IVF. I just thought, 'That isn't right,' so we set up Pomegranate."

They chose the name because the pomegranate is a symbol of fertility in many cultures.

According to its website, all monies raised for the charity go directly to funding fertility treatment, and no salaries are paid to those involved in the organisation.

Joanna told the RTE Guide how they've helped a number of couples welcome babies since setting up the charity.

"It's a big struggle trying to raise money, as you can imagine, but we do and we're able to sponsor IVF treatment for people who can't afford them.

"Thanks to Pomegranate, we have had seven born babies," she said.

Joanna is married to a fellow meteorologist, Dutchman Harm Luijkx. They're parents to daughter Nicky (12) and sons Tobias (8) and Casper (6).

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