A HEARTBROKEN woman desperate to become a mum has been refused IVF treatment because her partner already has children.
Gemma Dykes always expected that one day she would have her own family.
But the 31-year-old’s dream has been left shattered after health bosses refused her fertility treatment on the NHS due to partner Kevin Smith already having two children.
Gemma, of Shiney Row, said: “All I’ve ever wanted was my own family, and that’s been snatched away from me.
“We’re in a loving and happy relationship but they won’t even give us the chance to have a shot at having a baby.”
Kevin, 28, had two children in his late teens during his first serious relationship but has been with Gemma for the past six years.
He said: “It’s shocking. The fact that I have children from years ago has nothing to do with Gemma. I was just a kid myself at the time. I don’t understand why they have these rules.”
After two years of trying to conceive naturally, Gemma and Kevin went for a series of tests at Sunderland Royal Hospital. Results showed Gemma was suffering severe endometriosis, which meant her fallopian tubes were blocked.
“They told me my only chance of ever having a baby would be through IVF and I should look into that straight away,” she said.
The couple then went to see fertility specialists at Newcastle’s Centre for Life.
“But they told us that because we were from Sunderland, we weren’t entitled to treatment on the NHS,” said Kevin. “Apparently our primary care trust won’t pay for this fertility treatment because I already have children.”
The couple were left even more distraught after hearing one cycle of private treatment would cost £3,000 –money they don’t have.
Gemma, a former Biddick School pupil, added: “I just couldn’t believe it. I always thought I would have my own family. It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow and all I want is to be a mum. It would be nice if I had something to celebrate next year but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
“It makes me really angry when I read about people in jail getting all these treatments on the NHS but I can’t just because of where I live.”
Gemma and Kevin, a pub worker, are now planning to write to MP Bridget Phillipson in a bid to highlight what they see as an “unfair” system.
Gemma added: “We just want the chance to have a family of our own. Is that too much to ask?”
Dr Mark Lambert, consultant in public health medicine, NHS South of Tyne and Wear, said: “We know that it is distressing for people to be told that a treatment is not being made available to them on the NHS.
“Across the North East there is a consistent approach to the availability of fertility treatment, which takes account of guidance from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence.
“Three courses of treatment are available for couples who meet the eligibility criteria.
“NHS organisations across the North East give priority to couples where neither of the partners has ever had a biological or adopted child, which is therefore one of the eligibility criteria for access to fertility treatment.”