Fiona and Eoghan during the filming of TV3's The Babymakers
A Newbridge woman, who went through years of fertility treatment, is welcoming the announcement of IVF funding for couples in 2019.
Fiona Gibson, a Kilcullen native, said she is, however, somewhat sceptical of Minster for Health Simon Harris' announcement.
“I’m going to wait until December to cast any judgement because I’m looking to see what the plan is first”, said Fiona, a music teacher.
One in six Irish couples struggle with fertility.
Fiona and her husband Eoghan O'Toole, both teachers in Cross and Passion in Kilcullen, suffered many setbacks, but are now expecting twin girls in December.
Fiona said she knew for years there was a chance she wouldn't be able to conceive.
“I would have always kind of known there was going to be trouble anyway because I always had problems with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but myself and Eoghan sat down in 2013 and we said we’ll give it a go. When nothing happened after a year, I went to a fertility clinic in Newbridge, and I was with them for two years trying loads of rounds to develop follicles and stuff, and then after two years they said 'no I think IVF is the way to go'.
“So then I went to the clinic in February 2016, and almost two years later the babies should be born”, she added.
It hasn't been easy sailing for the couple, who met 10 years ago.
“So I did an artificial insemination first, then I did two IVFs, the first one was cancelled and the next one there was no fertilisation, then we did a round of ICSI, which is where they inject the sperm into the egg, and I got pregnant from that but unfortunately that ended in a chemical pregnancy. At Christmas time last year I transferred three embryos in a frozen transfer and none of them took, and then I did another cycle in April of this year, and that’s the one that worked, we managed to get two babies out of it!”.
She added that it has been financially and mentally draining on both of them.
“Each round cost around €7,000 because the basic price is €5,000, and then if you add in something like bringing the embryo to five days it’s another €1,000. Then if you add in all these extra little procedures you’re talking another €1,000 on top of that again.
“It’s a stress that a couple does not need when they’re going through fertility.
“You end up working more to try and get more money together to fund it, instead of working less to give yourself a chance. It’s a vicious circle.”
Fiona and Eoghan took part in the TV3 series, The Babymakers, which followed couples' journeys with their IVF treatment, and Fiona said she is delighted she shared her story.
“If I can voice my opinion. how it felt for me about all that extra pressure on me with money and stuff, on top of the physical effects it has on you, I will and I’ll shout it from the rooftops how it should be funded.
“It’s a medical condition and it should be treated as such.”
While the pair are beaming with excitment for their two arrivals in Decemeber, Fiona said with IVF you are never certain that you’re ever going to get these babies.
“I'm so excited, I can’t wait. Christmas is so hard when you want a baby and this year now, hopefully, will be our perfect Christmas with two little girls.”