Lindsay and James Fenwick longed for a baby – but conceiving children just didn’t seem to happen as easily as it did for other broody couples.
Years of infertility forced them to shelve their plans to start a family, until they decided to undergo IVF treatment in Sheffield.
Now the Fenwicks are proud parents to a much-loved five-month-old daughter, Freya – and to help other women achieve their dreams just like she did, Lindsay offered to donate her own eggs at the Care Fertility clinic in Nether Edge.
The Fenwicks were just 14 years old when they met at school. They married at the age of 23, and started trying for a baby almost immediately.
Lindsay said: “We always wanted children, but after about 12 to 18 months, when I still wasn’t pregnant, we went to see the GP and got referred to a specialist, who put us through a series of tests.
“One doctor who I went to see said I’d got polycystic ovaries and referred me to a consultant, who sent me for blood tests and said I hadn’t, in fact, got polycystic ovaries.”
Lindsay was given a course of the drug Clomid, which stimulates and regulates ovulation, but the medication had little effect.
She and James, who works as a fireman, started to consider IVF after reaching their 30th birthdays.
Lindsay continued: “It was a case of, do we want to go down the IVF route or not? We went back to the GP and were referred to the hospital, who said they couldn’t find anything wrong with either of us.
“We could go through the NHS in order to have IVF, but there was a two-and-a-half year waiting list.
“Before that, I’d have to lose weight in order to lower my body mass index to below 30. It was 32 at the time.
“We knew that if we weren’t successful we wanted to adopt.”
However, the couple realised that if they took the NHS route, then adopted, they could not start a family until their early 40s.
So, last February, they had their first round of treatment at the private Care Fertility clinic.
“We decided that, if I couldn’t have produced eggs, I’d have needed somebody’s help to have a baby, and with deciding to donate I also got a discount on the IVF,” said Lindsay.
“With the discount, it cost just over £3,000.”
But when the first round failed, the couple, from Thorne in Doncaster, were unsure whether they wanted to proceed again.
“It wasn’t so much the worry of it being a drain on our finances, it was the worry about how it would affect us both emotionally. But, by the time we went to review the process in May 2012, we’d decided we wanted to give IVF another go – and now we’ve got Freya.”
Freya was born in April this year weighing 9lbs 7oz, but needed to spend the first weeks of her life in Doncaster Hospital’s neonatal unit because of problems with her breathing.
“The birth wasn’t what I expected,” Lindsay said.
“I wanted an active, natural birth without using much more than gas and air, but that wasn’t how things turned out and we ended up with an emergency Caesarean section.
“Freya was very ill, but the nursing staff were fantastic.”
She added: “Freya’s doing really well. When you do egg donation, you take the drugs at the same time as the person that’s taking your eggs – it’s not like your eggs are stored anywhere, they’re put straight into another woman.
“We also have the option to find out if that woman became pregnant, although we haven’t done it yet.
“It’s lovely to think that, by donating, we’ve given somebody else that chance.”
Adel Shaker, medical director at the fertility clinic, said: “We would like to send our best wishes to Lindsay and James on the birth of Freya.
“We are busy making babies every day so we love to hear of a new arrival.”
IVF centre is one of country’s oldest
The Care Fertility clinic in Nether Edge, Sheffield, has been responsible for thousands of pregnancies and births since it opened its doors 25 years ago.
One of the oldest IVF clinics in the UK, the centre helps the one in seven couples who experience fertility problems and need some form of assisted conception.
A third of the clinic’s patients are referred from the NHS for free treatment – people from Derbyshire are entitled to one free treatment while those from Rotherham, Barnsley, Doncaster and Bassetlaw are entitled to two free treatments, as are patients referred from Sheffield’s Jessop maternity wing.
The latest national figures for IVF show 25.6 per cent of the treatments using a woman’s own fresh eggs resulted in a live birth – up 0.4 per cent in a year.
Success rates rise to 32.2 per cent for women aged under 35, while according to Care Fertility, their rate for females of the same age is far higher, with 40.4 per cent giving birth successfully.
Visit Care Fertility for more information.