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For any woman undertaking IVF, it can be a undeniably tough experience but going through it during a pandemic has made it all the more difficult.
On 6 January 2022, Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley announced a pause on elective surgery due to the Omicron spread of COVID-19 across the state. As a result, IVF clinics were asked to cancel their appointments for 90 days to free up health resources.
Distraught from impact the decision has had on herself and others, a Victorian woman named Melanie posted a heartbreaking video to Instagram begging for the Health Minister and Victorian Premier Dan Andrews to reverse the decision.
The video has gone viral after being viewed over half a million times. (Watch the video above)
“My name is Melanie and I’m currently going through the IVF process and I really want to let you know this is not something I elected to do,” Melanie says in the video.
“Not one other person who is going through IVF or has been through IVF or is just about to start IVF has elected to do it. This is something we are doing as our only opportunity to have a child.
“We have tried everything else. Trust me. We have tried everything else.
“To put a blanket ban on IVF for three months … we think COVID-19 is a pandemic, infertility is a pandemic, and now we’re dealing with both,” she said.
“Our bodies cannot be paused.”
Melanie is begging the the Victorian goverment to allow women to continue with IVF treatments.
Melanie said she was “on her knees” begging for the premier and health minister to allow IVF procedures to continue.
Fighting back tears, a distraught Melanie spoke to the Health Minster and Premier: “Go to your children’s room, have a look around and then mentally empty it… delete any trace of children in your house. It’s awful and it’s odd, it’s so weird – it doesn’t make sense.”
“You have both made a decision that is greatly affecting not only myself but so many women around Victoria, and I can’t even fathom how you came to the decision that you did.”
“You have both made a decision that is greatly affecting not only myself but so many women…”
Melanie’s viral post has been flooded with support, from those undergoing IVF themselves to medical professionals and more.
“Thank you Mel, for sharing your story. I stand with you. As someone who is currently an Ivf warrior myself. This is absolutely wrong and 💔 heartbreaking. You are extremely brave! Im so sorry you are also going thru this. Let’s fight this together 🙌,” wrote one woman.
Melbourne Fertility Specialist, Dr Raelia Lew added: “Thankyou for sharing your story. Victorian IVF professionals are confident like in every other Australian state we can practice IVF in a pandemic safe manner. Give our patients a chance. Sending love ❤️”
Television presenter and mum-of-three, Belinda Russell wrote: “Thank you for being so brave and shining a spotlight on this heartbreaking issue. Hopefully it will spark change and help you get on with creating your family. 💕💕
On 17 January 2022, Acting Health Minister James Merlino called a state-wide code brown order which will come into effect at midday on Wednesday and is expected to last from four to six weeks and allows medical staff to be deployed to areas of priority and changing services.
But James Merlino confirmed the emergency code was not connected to IVF and these services would resume “as quickly as possible”.
“I’ve got some dear friends currently going through IVF or have been through IVF. I know what an emotional toll it is what a financial toll it is,” he said.
“This is in many cases a last opportunity to create a family for themselves and I am absolutely empathetic.
“The moment we can boost or return to services for IVF patients we will absolutely do so and we’re looking at what we can do right now.”
Federal Minister for Women’s Economic Security Jane Hume has called for the government to reverse the Victorian government to reverse the decision.
“I have watched the stories of many women going through IVF who have tried every avenue of starting a family and this was the last and only option. Some women don’t have 3 months,” the statement read.
“Victorians for 2 years have done the right thing, locked down when required, isolated when required, and got vaccinated. After all this, for some to be told they can’t have IVF now to have the opportunity of having children is heartbreaking.”