TINY William Smith looks like any other healthy eight-week-old baby.
But the boy from Barnby Dun, Doncaster, is his mum and dad’s “little miracle” - born from a frozen egg.
William’s parents had treatment at a South Yorkshire clinic and he is the first baby to be born there following frozen egg treatment.
Wayne and Janine Smith, of Madin Lane, turned to the CARE clinic in Sheffield for help after they had problems conceiving a child.
After their second cycle of NHS-funded IVF treatment hit problems, doctors at the clinic suggested the couple froze some of Janine’s eggs using new procedures, so they could fertilize them later.
The process worked - and William was born in January this year, two weeks late, but fit and healthy after beating all the odds.
It was the first time the process had been completed at the clinic in Nether Edge.
Janine, a 34-year-old nurse, and 37-year-old tiler Wayne had been trying for a baby since 2004, and went to see their doctor for tests in 2006.
They were told their only option for a baby would be IVF, and were put on a waiting list for six months.
They had their first cycle of treatment in 2007 but it proved unsuccessful.
They tried again in 2008, but a problem meant staff were unable to fertilize the egg - so doctors at the clinic offered to freeze the eggs. After getting over the upset, the couple tried again with frozen eggs in late 2009. Two of the four eggs which had been frozen defrosted successfully and both fertilised and divided in the dish. Finally, one of them implanted successfully in the womb.
Janine and Wayne finally achieved her seven-year dream of parenthood when Janine gave birth this year.
Janine said: “We were really lucky to have the treatment funded by the NHS, and you are only allowed to have two goes in our area. Because the second cycle was incomplete we were able to continue. This was our last go, and we’d already started putting together a plan to adopt.
“It was only after I had conceived that they told me we were the first to become pregnant from a frozen egg at their Sheffield site.
“I was over the moon - it was something that I never imagined would happen, and there are not words to describe how I felt.
“I think William is miracle baby. He beat the odds at every stage. All along there were chances the egg would not defrost successfully, or that it might not fertilise, or may not implant in the womb. I can’t imagine how he could be any more precious.”
Wayne said he thought the freezing process sounded like science fiction at first.
He added: “We were keen to try anything, even though we didn’t know anything about freezing eggs. We knew the pitfall and we struck lucky.
“It was emotionally-draining going through IVF and the freezing process - until you have gone through it you cannot imagine how difficult a time it is. But now I have a wonderful son as a result of the process. It felt like winning the lottery.”
The doctor who treated the couple, Adel Shaker, said new processes had increased the chances of eggs surviving being defrosted.
He said freezing was an important option for women whose fertility was declining because of age, or those facing cancer treatment, and thought the technology would become used more and more.
“We wish the family all the best,” he added. “We are delighted for them.”