Thursday 19 July 2018

'It’s the most worrying thing you’ll ever do, you don’t need the financial stress' - woman welcomes State funding for IVF treatment

Eoghan and Fiona. Photo: TV3
Eoghan and Fiona. Photo: TV3
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

One Irish woman who lobbied the government to give funding for treatment to couples who are struggling with fertility has welcomed indications by government that this will now happen.

Fiona Gibson, who is now due twin babies in December, and her husband Eoghan O’Toole have spent €47,000 on IVF and extra fertility treatments since 2013.

The music teacher, who has been writing to Minister Simon Harris’ office to fight for financial assistance for couples going through fertility treatments, said couples do not need financial worries at a time when they are trying to conceive.

“It’s one of the most emotional journeys in your life, and that’s made worse by thinking about where you’re going to get more money.”

“You should be resting, doing less, giving the embryo time to settle in, but you can’t, because you’re thinking if this cycle fails then we need to find the money for another one. It’s a vicious cycle.”

“It’s the most worrying thing you’ll ever do and you don’t need the financial stress on top of what you’re going through.”

On today’s news, she said: “I think it’s fantastic news. I’ve been in contact with Simon Harris’ office over the last few years. To be fair I always heard back from someone, but it felt like a pipe dream, it felt like something that would never happen.”

One is six couples struggle with fertility issues in Ireland.

It is expected that the Government will commit to funding IVF treatments for couples unable to conceive from 2019, under the new proposals.

“We had good news and we have twin girls on the way in December. After a horrific, long journey we finally got there in the end,” Fiona, a music teacher from Kilcullen said.

“To this day I still can’t believe it’s going to happen because there are so many knocks. IVF is constantly a let-down.”

“Our first cycle was cancelled; our second cycle none of the embryos were fertilised; then it was a chemical pregnancy; then we transferred embryos and none of them took; and then we transferred embryos and two of them took and now we’re having twins.”

“This is a medical condition the same as anything else, and it should be treated as a medical condition.”

Fiona has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but the couple discovered other reasons why they were having trouble conceiving when they began IVF.

“It means that I don’t ovulate or anything so I can’t get pregnant. When we got into the IVF, we learned that my eggs and Eoghan’s sperm aren’t compatible; they don’t mix.”

Fiona and Eoghan didn't just have the expense of IVF, but lots of other add-ons as well.

“There are a lot of extras. I did three rounds of intralipids, a scratch, assisted hatching, and then when I got pregnant I was doing reflexology as well.”

She added: “Numerous times we had to stay in hotels because with the egg collection it’s very time specific, so because we don’t live in Dublin we felt we had to stay in a hotel to be there that morning.”

“It’s all the little extras. But you’d pay anything to have a baby.”

But an overjoyed Fiona, who featured in a recent TV3 documentary Babymakers, can now look forward to the arrival of twins in December at Dublin's Coombe hospital.

“We’re on top of the wold. There’s still that element of ‘is everything going to be OK?’ because you’ve been knocked so many times.”

The Babymakers, a four-part documentary series that follows six couples over the course of a year during which they undertake various fertility treatments, is available on TV3 Player.

Online Editors

Life Newsletter

Our digest of the week's juiciest lifestyle titbits.

Editors Choice

Also in Life