A young couple, so happy to have given birth to their ‘miracle’ child through treatment at a fertility clinic that they included the doctor’s name in the baby’s, are hoping to spread a message of hope to others in the same situation.
Leo Geoffrey Sunny Twiddy, now 13 weeks old, was born weighing 7lb 14oz to proud parents Katherine and Arron Twiddy, 24, of Hubberts Bridge, near Boston.
High school sweethearts Katherine and Arron met when both were aged 16, during Boston High School’s first Sixth Form year.
At the age of 20 they decided to have a family, and in 2014 they got married.
Then came heartbreak.
Katherine says her and Arron’s ‘hearts stopped simultaneously’ as they were told they could not have children – both of them had ‘unexplained infertility’.
“It was three years of trying for a baby, and then we started doing tests, and then the tests and diagnosis came back – it ruined everything,” said Katherine.
With two options laid out before them – IVF or adoption – the pair chose the former and met with Dr Sunny Ikhena and his team at the CARE Fertility clinic in Pilgrim Hospital’s Bostonian wing.
Although IVF originally failed, another procedure known as ICSI – one step-up from IVF where the cells are broken down further – was successful on the first attempt – and Leo was born 39 weeks later.
“He’s a miracle baby, he really is,” said Katherine, who works at Next in Boston.
Proud dad Arron, a pig farm manager, said: “I’m just speechless, it’s the best feeling in the world and it’s completed us to be honest.”
Katherine said Arron had been ‘amazing’ throughout the whole process.
“He’s the best dad I could ever wish for,” she added. “It’s one of the things that most upset me for those years was that I knew he would be an amazing dad. He was exactly like I was during the whole process.”
The pair have praised the work of Dr Ikhena, with Katherine calling him ‘the nicest guy’.
“He was so calm and a wonderful man,” she said. “He did an awful lot of campaigning for us.”
Since then, Katherine has been looking to spread a message of hope to other parents – including starting a blog called Mum Hack.
She said her message was: “Don’t give up hope. It’s so easy just to do. I did a lot of times I thought ‘this is it’ and wanted to call it quits but didn’t because miracles do happen.”
She said online blogs and stories from other mums had helped her through her own experiences.
“Just knowing that it had worked for so many other people was comforting. There’s a forum for CARE patients and I was on that every day during the process, looking at pictures and stories.”
CARE Fertility is celebrating 20 years of making babies this year and nationally has helped 27,086 be born.
Boston’s clinic has helped bring 144 babies into the world since consultant Dr Ikhena began the programme with fertility nurse specialist Kirsten Thomas in July 2006.
Dr Ikhena told The Standard that when he started at Pilgrim in 2000 there were no services or support for IVF-type treatment in Lincolnshire.
He said CARE meant patients no longer had to travel long distances to have treatment – which is not only available to infertile parents but also others such as same-sex couples.
He said he had been surprised by the news that his name had been included in Leo’s but he was elated.