I had my first baby at 53 – it took me 25 years and £100k on IVF treatments
A Scottish mum has finally given birth to her miracle baby after 25 years of failed IVF procedures.
Helen Dalglish, from Glasgow’s Dennistoun, had to go through a gruelling 21 attempts to get pregnant – costing her almost £100,000 – before welcoming daughter Daisy Grace.
The 54-year-old told has now told Daily Record of her joy after going through years of heartache and never gave up her dream of being a mum.
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“When you get that little miracle at the end, you forget about the 25 years," she said.
“I was looking down and the bump was getting bigger and I thought ‘am I dreaming?’
“Even now looking at her I can’t believe I’m a mum. It’s surreal.”
Helen moved to Cyprus in her 20s and starting trying for a baby with her then-husband when she was 28.
They relocated back to Scotland soon after and when tests showed no complications they were diagnosed with “unexplained infertility”.
Tests in Cyprus had revealed a potential issue with the positioning of Helen’s uterus, but she said medics in Scotland were not concerned.
The couple underwent four intrauterine insemination procedures, where sperm is placed directly into the womb, without success before moving on to IVF.
They were only eligible for one free round of treatment on the NHS – and over the next 20 years, they endured a succession of failed, privately-funded attempts.
However, defiant Helen could still imagine her baby.
She said: “Sometimes it got too much emotionally, physically and financially.
“Sometimes we stopped for a year or two. Because they said it was unexplained we thought ‘we’ll do some yoga, meditation, alternative health, because there’s nothing stopping us. Maybe it’ll just happen if we forget about it’.
“Every one that fails you’re absolutely devastated. It’s like a death. I would get down for a couple of weeks but then I would pick myself up and say ‘right, if you want this baby, get your act together’.
“I tried to forget about the failed ones as if I’d started from fresh.”
Helen was concerned that every time medics tried to transfer her embryos back into her womb the procedure was unbearably painful – and thought medics were “hitting a wall”.
She asked to be sedated for future procedures, but still, the result was negative.
Helen was crushed when one consultant confirmed her womb was severely tilted and said he believed all of her other embryo transfers had been “wasted”.
From then, Helen got pregnant three times but suffered heartbreaking miscarriages.
She said: “By that point I was 41 and 42 and they just weren’t sticking. I would get to around nine or 10 weeks (of pregnancy).
“What kept me going was I just kept seeing this baby. I tried to switch it off sometimes and said ‘stop punishing yourself and putting your body through this.’
“Sometimes I would try and accept it, but then I couldn’t.”
She decided her only chance of now becoming a mum was to finally agree to using donor eggs.
But, despite creating 10 strong embryos, she received the crushing news they had all perished.
She said: "I decided I wasn’t going to do any more and tried to get over it but it kept coming back up. That’s when I found Dunya.”
Helen had by this point moved back to Paphos, Cyprus, with her current partner and decided their “last chance saloon” was Dunya Fertility Centre in Kyrenia.
During pregnancy, she developed diabetes and pre-eclampsia, a condition that causes high blood pressure.
But with each passing month, she grew more confident she was finally going to meet her baby.
She gave birth to a healthy baby girl in September, aged 53.
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