Crowdfunding websites are a popular way to raise money for everything from funding an album to university fees. But there has been a growing trend for people using them to fund IVF treatment.
One such woman is Kathryn Watson. The 33-year-old from Goole, Yorkshire, has set up a fundraising page to help make her dream of becoming a mother come true.
Kathryn suffers from endometriosis, a condition where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb is found in other parts of the body and that can cause infertility.
Though she’s undergone a number of procedures to treat the condition, doctors have revealed that she may only have two years to conceive and carry a baby as she will need to have her ovaries removed.
So to help her journey to motherhood, the transport clerk is now turning to IVF treatment with donor insemination, which will cost around £5,000 and has set up a GoFundme page to help make her dream a reality.
“Children are my world,” she writes on the page titled ‘I just want to be a mummy.’ “Even as a child I was mothering children and have always helped look after my nephews, niece and goddaughter.”
“The only job I have ever wanted to be is a mum, but as a single person that is not possible naturally.”
“I don’t want to enter a relationship for the sake of having a child, yet I know even as a single person I can provide so much love and support for a child.”
“I would just like to have the opportunity that so many people have and sometimes take for granted.”
The transport clerk goes on to say that she is not eligible for treatment on the NHS because she hasn’t been trying for a baby of over a year and she doesn’t want to take out a loan to fund the cost as she doesn’t want to begin parenthood in debt.
“Therefore I am kindly asking 5000 people to donate £1 to help me give a child a life. For it to be loved and cared for as much as my entire being can. If you are able to donate £1 or even just to share my story then I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” she continues.
Miss Watson, who was adopted herself when she was just three months old, says she can’t adopt because she is single and while she knows she will likely get criticised for trying to fund her treatment in this way, she hopes people will understand how much she wants to be a mother.
“It is a big risk and it isn’t always guaranteed to work but having a baby is all I have ever wanted,” she says.
“I have reached the age where a lot of my friends have had babies and while I am so happy for them it really hurts to think it could never happen for me.
“I know a lot of people will criticise me for doing something like this, but they don’t know the real me and what I am like.
“You will always get people who don’t understand but I know I can give the love and strength needed to bring up a child.”
Kathryn isn’t the only one to turn to crowdfunding to help fund a parenthood dream.
Earlier this year ITV news reported on a couple who have turned to strangers to help pay for their fertility treatment.
Anna Lewis and Simon Knight, from Brighton, no longer qualify for IVF on the NHS, so they set up a crowdfunding page which helped raised thousands in just a few days.
And in 2015 the Daily Mail reported on a couple who turned to crowdfunding when the NHS refused to pay for further treatment after their first treatment ended in a heartbreaking miscarriage.
A quick search on GoFundMe, reveals plenty of other childless couples who are going the same route and official figures reveal the trend has been on the rise.
Another crowdfunding platform, Give Forward, saw a 429% increase in the number of IVF and adoption campaigns on its site over the first eight months of 2016 compared to the same period last year, Give Forward’s CEO Josh Chapman told Bloomberg.
While a scan of the comments on many of the IVF fundraising pages reveals many offerings of support for treatment funding, others don’t believe that crowdfunding is the right platform for infertility treatment.
But with recent changes in the NHS provision for IVF treatment you can see why so many couples are desperate to head down the crowdfunding route.
Earlier this year, we revealed that the NHS has introduced new cost-cutting proposals that could spell the end of IVF treatment for thousands of couples.
Currently, women can receive a certain number of cycles on the NHS up until the age of 42. Under the new proposed guidelines, only women between the ages of 30 and 35 would be eligible for NHS-funded treatment.
Which could well mean more couples turning to strangers to help them chase their parenthood dream.
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