Felixstowe man urges health chiefs to reconsider decision not to part with funding for IVF treatment

Matthew Shapland is appealing for Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG to reverse their decision not to give

Matthew Shapland is appealing for Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG to reverse their decision not to give him funding for IVF treatment. - Credit: Lucy taylor

A Suffolk man who was told he and his partner will not be eligible for IVF treatment funding is today appealing for health chiefs to reconsider their decision.

Matthew Shapland, of Felixstowe, suffers from cystic fibrosis, a condition which causes the majority of male suffers to be naturally infertile.

The 23-year-old and his partner, who has a child from a previous relationship, applied to the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for ‘exceptional funding’ for the treatment.

They were hopeful of being successful because of Mr Shapland’s condition, but at a meeting of the group’s individual funding request panel last week, it was refused.

Mr Shapland said: “It has been really tough.

“When this landed on us, after going to hospital for tests and examinations, it did push me back a little bit. We are trying to see the positive side and hoping they do change their minds.

“I have only got one sister so for me it is going to be carrying my name down the line. It will mean everything to us, especially for me to be able to experience it all (raising a child).”

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Despite the setback, Mr Shapland, who used to work at Greggs in Ipswich, has said he will not give up.

He has been engaged to his partner, who it was requested remains anonymous, for more than two years and they have been trying for a baby for three.

In a bid to get officials to reconsider their position, he has written a letter to the CCG in which he says: “I have fought so much through my life to be as normal as possible as Cystic Fibrosis can contradict my life whenever it wants.

“We are determined not to give up hope in parenting our own child. Medical science has come too far to be wasted, especially for people who want it the most.”

IVF, known officially as In vitro fertilisation, is one of several techniques to help couples with fertility problems have a baby.

However, it does cost couples in the region of £5-8,000 for each attempt.

A spokeswoman for the CCG said the group considers the requests through a process which ensures it takes into account National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) standards.

She added: “The (CCG’s) policy was developed, working with a number of our neighbouring counties and was the subject of wider clinical consultation, with the aim of ensuring best practice and equitable access to services.

“All of the CCGs policies are developed with the aim of ensuring that the limited healthcare resources are used equitably to achieve the best quality services across the CCG area.

“Everyone has the right to appeal and support to do this, if required, is available from PALS.”