'I'm being punished for falling in love': Woman's IVF anguish
- Credit: Dan Sunderland
A shop worker who has lifelong fertility issues has been told she cannot receive IVF on the NHS because her husband has a child from a previous relationship.
Alishia Kellett, 34, who grew up in Purland Road in Heartsease and Appleyard Crescent on the Mile Cross estate, dreaming of being a mum from an early age.
But at 16 she learnt she had an abnormal connection between her uterus and vagina and had her first operation aged 16 at a London hospital.
It was at this point doctors told her she would struggle to conceive naturally.
Mrs Kellett, who married her husband Peter, 37, in July this year, found out in late 2019 that they were not eligible for IVF paid for by the NHS because he had a daughter, now aged 10, from a previous relationship.
The former Heartsease High School pupil said: "After my niece was born everyone around me was becoming a mum. It affected my mental health massively.
"If I hear a newborn baby in a supermarket it makes me anxious. I get asked all the time when I will fall pregnant."
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The couple, who now live in Harleston, appealed the decision through their GP but found out last week her medical condition was not enough to warrant IVF.
Mrs Kellett said they would need to find between £5,000 and £13,000 to fund the procedure which is an amount they cannot afford. A fresh appeal has been lodged but the couple are losing hope.
"I'm expecting the worst and hoping for the best," she said. "I feel I'm not going to have the chance to watch my own child grow up or have their first day at school.
"I'm being discriminated against because of who I fell in love with."
From the ages of 16 and 24 she had eight operations to fix her condition after failed attempts and nearly lost her life around her 18th birthday from developing septicaemia and peritonitis.
A spokesman for NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group said: "Sometimes we have to make difficult decisions about specialist treatments such as IVF, and our current policy which is reviewed frequently states that couples without any children can receive treatment funded by the NHS."