By Mollie Mansfield
A woman who tried to get pregnant for two DECADES and suffered a heart-breaking 18 miscarriages is finally a first-time mum – at the age of 48.
Louise Warneford and husband, Mark, 55, spent £80,000 on IVF treatments over 18 years before falling pregnant with their son, William.
The couple gave up on trying for their dream baby in 2010 but Louise knew she needed to give herself one last chance at becoming a mum.
And in 2015 – after discovering she had ‘killer cells’ which meant her own body was destroying her embryos – she fell pregnant through using an egg donor.
And even though people sometimes mistake the couple for baby William’s grandparents, they are now over the moon to have a child of their own.
Louise, a full time mum from Swindon, Wilts, said: “Mark and I had been trying for a baby since I was 32.
“We’d suffered 18 miscarriages and spent £80k but looking at William now, it was all worth it.
“I’m not the spring chicken that I used to be and it does take me a while to chase him around the floor but it’s worth it.”
The couple first met in 1999 and Louise immediately knew that Mark was ‘the one’ that she wanted to start a family with.
However, due to Mark’s vasectomy from a previous relationship the pair had to look for alternative methods to make Louise’s dream a reality.
She added: “We went to a fertility specialist to find out about the quickest way of conceiving, and they suggested a sperm insemination.
“So we found a donor who had the same attributes as Mark and I, and we went along with the process.
“I fell pregnant a number of times with the insemination, but every single time I ended up losing the baby around the 14-week scan mark as they couldn’t find the heartbeat.
“Each time I got my hopes up and thought that ‘this was it’ and I was going to have the perfect family I’d always wanted – I couldn’t stop crying every time I miscarried.
“We decided to try IVF but despite falling pregnant a number of times, we always lost the baby.
“It was a complete mystery why my body kept rejecting my baby at just a few weeks old but it was heart-breaking every single time.
“I gave up in 2010 as I couldn’t go through the emotional turmoil anymore.
“There is no grief that can compare to losing a much loved and wanted baby – all your hopes and dreams are shattered.
“We’d even tried using an egg donor but that failed as well.”
However, determined to find out what was wrong with her body for peace of mind, Louise decided to find a clinic who could diagnose her fertility problem.
Louise said: “I met a specialist in maternal medicine called Doctor Shehata and he told me that I had killer cells in my body, which was why I couldn’t hold a child.
“I told him I’d had 18 miscarriages and that I couldn’t go through that again but he gave me the courage to have one more try.
“I didn’t do anything until four years later, when I was 47 and I said to Mark that we had to try one more time before I was 50.
“This time, because I was too old for certain clinics in the UK, I decided to do my own research and had embryo donation in the Gynem Clinic in Prague.
“I finally got pregnant when I was 47, with our son, William.
“He was born at 37 weeks through a planned c-section because I was told that there was a problem with the placenta.
“Although I couldn’t enjoy my pregnancy, because I was constantly scared that I was going to lose him, it was completely worth it for my dream baby.”
Louise is now sharing her story to provide help for anyone facing a similar situation to her and to raise discussion about miscarriages.
Louise said: “It was the toughest time in my life, but it’s so worth it for our dream baby.
“We’re a perfect family now and I finally feel complete – we even have a grandchild now, and at just ten months old, William, became an uncle.
“It was very expensive, and we spent £80,000 in total for fertility treatment, but we just put our life on hold for our dream baby.
“We saved the money over the 18 years of trying, and just didn’t go out very often – we were very frugal, but we wanted a child more than we wanted money.
“We want people to know that it is doable and despite my multiple miscarriages and rounds of IVF, our dream baby was achievable.”
Mr Hassan Shehata, Founder and Director of Centre for Reproductive Immunology and Pregnancy – www.crpclinic.co.uk, said: “Natural killer (NK) cells are subtypes of white blood cells which are responsible for body defence. The NK cells are known to attack foreign bodies such as viruses independently and directly hence the name natural killer cells.
“In some women these NK cells can wrongly identify pregnancy as a foreign threat and attack it causing a miscarriage.
“In Louise’s case, she was a brave young lady who persevered with the unusually high number of miscarriages where she and her partner have faced several failures and heart aching outcomes. However, I recall she was quite determined to succeed and I thought both her and her partner deserve a chance to be parents. I was very pleased to have managed to help them succeed and be part of such an incredible journey.”