Devon couple’s desperate dream to have a baby relies on private IVF fundraiser

After five years of trying for a baby and being stuck on a long waiting list for NHS IVF treatment due to the coronavirus pandemic, a Devon couple is pinning their desperate dream to have a baby on a private IVF fundraiser.

Katie and Joshua Searle, who are both aged 27 years old and first met at college when they were 16, had hoped to start a family years ago but unfortunately, due to medical reasons, they have been told it is highly unlikely they will conceive naturally.

For the past two years, they have been on an NHS waiting list for IVF and had been at the top of the list. However, the pandemic hit and then after lockdown Katie had to lose some weight which means they have gone way back down on the waiting list again.

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With no guarantee when their turn will come, Katie and Joshua, of Barnstaple, have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise £6,000 in the hope it will grant their wish of becoming parents.

Katie and Joshua Searle have launched an online fundraiser to pay for private IVF treatment

Katie, a hospital worker at North Devon District Hospital, said: “The whole process of looking into IVF started about four years ago, and then Covid set it back about 18 months altogether. Unfortunately, every time we get close we seem to fall further away again.

“I have tried other medications but it hasn’t worked, and we have been told we’re looking at another year’s wait so we have decided to go down the private route.

“It’s a lot of money but if it works it will be worth every penny. We are desperate to start a family. We have both suffered mentally now with this and going down the private route feels like taking back control for us. We have been on waiting lists for so long, but if we raise this money we can now choose what’s going on and it will keep our minds focused.”

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As UK private clinics are costly, the couple has decided to go abroad for IVF.

Katie said: “We’ve found, and been in contact with, an amazing clinic in Athens’s in Greece. They offer amazing award-winning treatment with a very good success rate, and it is also at a fraction of UK prices, even with travel.

“All costs are laid out before you agree to it, whereas a lot of UK clinics have a lot of adds on that, so there are no hidden costs.

“We have a video consultation with our consultant next month, and we are looking at early next year to go out there for the IVF treatment.”

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Revealing the emotional toll not being able to conceive has had on their lives, Katie said: “When you are growing up, you just assume you will be able to have children and that it will be okay. I sort of knew we were going to be told we couldn’t have children natural after trying for so long, but hearing it was difficult, and I had to also deal with feeling guilty afterwards for stopping Joshua from being able to have children as well.

“Going through this had made me realise how many other people are going through it too. Being younger, I think it’s actually harder to talk about as people think you still have time.

“We have kept focused on keep trying. To have a baby would mean absolutely everything to us. It’s the little things that are so hard like seeing baby adverts come up on television.

“My husband comes from a really big family and all his cousins have had children, and some are younger than us, and some are having their second or third child. You obviously want to be happy for them, but it gets harder and harder to see.”

To donate to the fundraiser, please click here.

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