A new mum has spoken of her joy after finally completing her family following a battle with infertility – after strangers paid for her to have one last try at IVF.
Michelle, 41, and Terry Britton, from Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, welcomed their son Sonny Britton into the world in August after 12 years of trying and emptying their savings on fertility treatments.
The couple were on the verge of giving up hope of ever becoming biological parents.
Miraculously, the IVF cycle, which was their third, worked and they are now enjoying life as the family of three they always dreamed of.
Michelle, a professional nanny and Terry, 46, a retail worker, first tried to conceive when they first met in their 20s, but now feel being older parents has worked out better for them.
Michelle said: ‘There was a point where I thought I was never going to become a mum. We’d tried two rounds of IVF, and both failed, it was soul destroying.
‘I’d thrown myself into volunteering for a fertility charity, so I was surrounded by people who understood what I was going through.
‘But one day the owner of the charity came into the shop and told me in front of everyone they were able to give me a grant to try one last round of IVF, funded by donations.
‘I just broke down and fell to the floor in front of all the customers. I couldn’t believe people were so kind to donate money to help someone they’d never met have a baby.
Despite them both undergoing years of tests, medics could never find a biological reason as to why they were never able to conceive – known as unexplained infertility.
Michelle explained: ‘I think it would have been easier to accept if we had known the reason we couldn’t get pregnant.
‘Because we never knew what the problem was, I blamed myself for everything, I thought I was too anxious, or I’d done something wrong.
‘The longer it went on the more stressed and anxious we both became, and it was a vicious cycle.’
The couple were eventually granted two rounds of IVF on the NHS – but sadly, both attempts failed.
The Fertility Foundation were able to give the couple a £2,500 grant, which they added to £3,000 of their own money to try one last time.
Michelle said: ‘I do struggle with anxiety, and I was also having to care for my husband as he’d been badly injured and was hit by a car, so it was a difficult time to try to let my body relax.
‘The two-week wait is terrifying and so stressful – when I did the test, and it came up saying not pregnant I was just crushed.
‘By our third attempt, it was a lot easier. I knew what to expect, I could self-inject, and I was a little more relaxed.
‘Even though we knew it was our last attempt, as I was almost 40, we tried our hardest just to go with the flow.
‘I had that much treatment that eventually, injecting myself became like making a cup of tea.
‘It didn’t sink in when I found out I was actually pregnant, I did the test before I went to work and was doubting myself as it hadn’t worked the first two times so why would it work now.
‘I had taken a break from the treatment and had done everything right, I had been away on holiday, I kept myself relaxed but of course it was always in the back of my mind, but it was obviously the right timing.
‘The pregnancy was tinged with sadness as we found out I had been carrying twins, but sadly lost one in the early weeks.
‘It was devastating and made the whole pregnancy fraught with worry – but Sonny is a fighter, and the further along we got the easier it became.’
‘I wake up every day and can’t believe he is ours.
‘He is all worth it in the end. All of the stress has been worth it. It has been an emotional roller coaster, not easy but when you’re there it’s amazing.
‘He is so loved, all of our families cried when we announced it. They all know the hard journey we have been on to get to where we are now.
‘Everyone gets so emotional when they meet him, and he is the first grandson on both sides, so he’s well and truly spoilt. Everyone wants to always come and visit him.
‘Being older parents has worked out well for us, we’re very relaxed and chilled out and I think that has rubbed off on him because he is a very chilled out baby which is amazing.’
Tone Jarvis-Mack, CEO of the Fertility Foundation, said: ‘Michelle has often mentioned having Sonny has been due to the kindness of strangers, but it’s more than that.
‘Both Michelle and Terry’s genuine and honest helpfulness towards others was a huge factor in us deciding to help them in what they viewed as their last best hope of becoming parents.
‘Their desire to help us in helping others did not stop when they were pregnant.
‘With the help of Terry, Michelle completed a fundraising walk in support of our charity and raised over £1,500.
‘We are an independent family-run charity, and we receive no government or guaranteed funding, so this money goes such a long way in helping us to help others.
‘We are so proud to have been involved in their journey and now have the opportunity to be part of Sonny’s life.’