EMMA Edey and husband Lee long to have a child more than anything in the world.

The couple desperately want to become parents but face missing out on the opportunity because of a postcode lottery.

For three years they have been battling to be allowed IVF on the NHS.

But because they live in Colchester they are not eligible for the treatment.

In 2015 North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group decided to withdraw free IVF for couples, except in exceptional circumstances.

The cost-cutting move sparked outrage among couples trying to conceive.

But for many the worst part was knowing if they lived ten miles up the road they would still get treatment for free.

For many couples it is now their postcode and their pay packet which determines if they will become parents.

Across the UK only three authorities offer the recommended three cycles of IVF for free, with others offering a reduced service or none at all.

Now Labour MP Steve McCabe is pushing through legislation to bring the injustice to an end.

He hopes the private member bill, set for a second reading on January 25, could be passed into law as early as next year.

Emma, 39, and Lee, 45, of Russell Court, have been married for ten years.

Emma was born with Hirschsprung disease, which affects the bowel, and had to have a colostomy bag fitted.

Aged one she had surgery to reverse the problem, but three years ago had to have a colostomy bag fitted again.

 

Over the years she has had three or four operations which have left scar tissue on her stomach.

Despite knowing they may face some difficulties the couple attempted to conceive naturally.

But after a few years of trying their friends and family suggested they seek help.

“We had been trying for quite some time and we were not getting anywhere,” Emma said.

“Friends started saying I needed to get checked. Because of all the operations I had everyone always thought it would be difficult for me to get pregnant.

“They pushed me to go for tests and to look at IVF.”

Emma started on the road to IVF, but was told the service was only running for one more month in north Essex.

However, she missed the deadline because a hormone level was fractionally too high so she was not put forward for treatment.

She said: “It was a case of sorry but we don’t do the funding anymore.

“It is ok if you are strong enough to fight, but I imagine there are lots of people who don’t feel strong enough. Then that is their lives ruined.

“It is heart breaking. I can’t explain it to anybody.”

Last year the couple believed there was a breakthrough, only for it to vanish months later.

Emma said: “We were trying for exceptional circumstances instead so that we could get the funding.

“We were awarded funding last May but then we didn’t hear anything for months and months.

“Then in September we received a letter saying the funding wasn’t able to go through as my hormone level is too high.

“We now have to go back to the CCG panel to see whether we will get funding.

“It is frustrating to be told we had got the funding and then three months later they say sorry they don’t know if we can have it.

“I have no chance of conceiving naturally our only hope is IVF. I’ve waited months and we just haven’t got anywhere.”

Emma hopes the move to change the law will lead to a fairer deal for couples across the country.

"It can’t continue as it is – it is just not fair,” she said.

“It is not going to save money - the money will have to go into mental health.

“This move to stop the postcode lottery all over the country might not help me as it is a year away.

“I started looking into IVF when I was 36 or 27 and I will turn 40 this year.

“If it doesn’t come in until next year I will be 40/41 and will be too old for IVF by NHS standards.

“I’ve been battling for the last three years. My friend who lives 10 miles down the road could have three treatments.

“I just can’t get that round my head. My depression has gone through the roof.

Southend Standard:

“It is tiring and I am left thinking can I do this anymore. I have got to do it otherwise I am never going to have children.”

Emma and Lee hope to find out by January 16 if they will be eligible for funding.

A spokesman for the CCG said: "North East Essex CCG does not offer IVF treatment for fertility purposes alone, but we fund assisted conception services under certain circumstances.

"These are set out in our Fertility Services Policy, for which patients must meet the eligibility criteria.

"We are committed to ensuring that patients' cases are carefully considered."