Every month, Natalie Laing would suffer through headaches, nausea and terrible cramps, hoping that she might at last be pregnant.

But every month in the four years she and husband Shane, of Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty, have been trying for a baby, her hopes have been dashed, "like a hard reality slap", and it was just another painful period.

Natalie has been diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition in which tissue like the lining of the uterus grows outside the organ. Her case is severe and it is preventing her from having a baby.

The 28-year-old Comvita saleswoman said her periods caused a "twisting and a crunching in my tummy" that left her hunched over in pain and feeling nauseous, but she had thought this was normal because she was so used to it.


Eventually she sought medical help, which led to exploratory surgery last July and she will have a second operation in several months to remove faulty tissue.

The disorder "has caused chaos to my reproductive system, to the point that I am unable to conceive naturally. The good news is that because my endometriosis is so severe, we are now eligible to receive publicly funded IVF".

"That, however, is now another waiting list of 18 months to two years, unless we wish to pay for it ourselves and then it is only a one month wait and a casual bill of $16,000."

Natalie and Shane, a boilermaker/welder, who have been together for nearly 10 years and married for three, have started fundraising so they can go private for IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) treatment and minimise the delay.

"My egg count is very low and what you would expect in the body of someone at least 10 years older than me. Fertility Associates told me I need to start trying now because it's only going to decline further."

Natalie said the emotional toll of infertility was awful and she had only recently started talking about it.

Donations to Natalie and Shane can be made here

What's endometriosis?

• A condition in which tissue like the lining of the uterus grows outside the organ.

• Estimated to affect 120,000 women and girls in New Zealand.

• Symptoms include tiredness, bowel troubles, painful periods, abnormal bleeding and difficulty getting pregnant.

• Treatments can include hormone therapy and surgery, and in some cases hysterectomy.