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Woman Spends £70,000 On IVF: "It Was Money Well Spent"

12/11/2015 13:31 GMT | Updated 12/11/2015 13:59 GMT

A woman who underwent 10 years of IVF treatment has told of her joy at finally having her first child - after spending £70,000 on fertility treatments.

Teresa Greenhalgh, 46, and her husband Tony, 53, from Wrexham, north Wales, endured a decade of uncertainty, but after discovering Greenhalgh's immune system was rejecting the embryos, they were able to try alternative treatment and are now the parents of 20-month-old Adelaide Louise.

Greenhalgh said: "It felt like we were holding a miracle in our arms. All those years of trying and all the money we spent was worth it for that moment.

"All those awful dark moments - and there were so many - they just melted away in a moment."

teresa greenhalgh

Teresa Greenhalgh was told by doctors that she would never conceive

Greenhalgh tried for a baby with her first husband from the age 26 for five years without success.

However, she never sought help and the couple broke up when Greenhalgh was 31.

In 2002 she met Tony, then 39, who has daughter Lauren, 21, from a previous relationship.

Then 33, Greenhalgh - who discovered she has polycystic ovaries - said she and Tony started trying for a baby six months into their relationship.

"We loved each other and knew there was no point hanging around," she explained.

After two years the couple, who both work as IT contractors, had not conceived naturally and in October 2005 Greenhalgh had her first round of IVF at a private clinic at a cost of £8,500.

"We spoke to our GP about IVF on the NHS but the waiting lists were long, and we didn't want to waste time so we went straight to a private clinic," she said.

Though the treatment was initially a success, the pregnancy was ectopic.

After a second round of unsuccessful private treatment a year later Greenhalgh was advised to consider adoption or surrogacy.

"It felt really cruel to tell a woman who was only 33 she'd never be a mother and in all honesty, it was like a red rag to a bull,' she said.

"We wanted a child that was genetically ours and after being told I'd never be a mum I felt determined to prove the doctor wrong.

"I just felt in my gut I could have a baby of my own."

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Over the next five years the pair underwent another three rounds of treatment at a cost of £8,500 each - which failed every time.

They stopped holidaying abroad, and started working 70 hour weeks to earn extra cash.

"We even commuted further distances to be able to carry out the best paid IT contracts," said Greenhalgh.

"By then, my brother and two sisters all had children - and as much as I loved my nieces and nephew, they were also a reminder of what I didn't have.

"I couldn't bear being around friends who had children, it was too painful."

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Mum Spends £70,000 On IVF

At the age of 41, Greenhalgh decided to have break from IVF, only starting treatment again at 43, when she started going to The Zita West clinic in London.

"I wanted to be able to tell myself I had tried everything I could," she said.

"I didn't want to live with regrets and thoughts of 'if only I'd tried one more time' if it didn't work."

The couple were put under the care of Dr George Nduwke.

New technology at the clinic revealed a problem in Greenhalgh's immune system that meant her body was rejecting the embryos as foreign beings.

Greenhalgh had £15,000 worth of treatment, including an intravenous infusion of egg protein and soya oil called Intralipids, which is used in women with immune abnormalities.

She also had an endometrial scratch - a procedure used to enhance the chance of implantation through a minor scratch to the womb lining.

"Previously I'd been sent straight down the route of IVF and it felt like I was on a conveyor belt," she said.

"But this time I also saw a nutritionist and made radical diet changes, including cutting out all alcohol and processed foods, had acupuncture and even stopped using tampons, as advised by Zita."

In June 2013, embryos were implanted into Greenhalgh and two weeks later, she discovered she was pregnant.

teresa greenhalgh

After trying for a baby for so long Teresa Greenhalgh was terrified she would experience problems during her pregnancy

"People assumed I would be thrilled to be pregnant, but I was terrified of something going wrong," Greenhalgh recalls.

"I just wanted our baby to be born, and was on tenterhooks throughout the pregnancy."

After spending another £3,500 having the embryos tested, Greenhalgh had a normal pregnancy and her daughter Adelaide Louise was born in March 2014.

teresa greenhalgh

Teresa Greenhalgh and her daughter Adelaide Louise

"We made sacrifices to get there, but it was worth it," Greenhalgh said.

"We feel so blessed to finally have a child together."

Zita West, founder of the Zita West fertility clinic - a midwife who has looked after celebrities including Kate Winslet and Sophie, Countess of Wessex during their pregnancies - said: "We get good results from looking at treatments both in terms of what can be done medically and holistically.

"We are all thrilled to have helped Teresa become a mother."

Mum Spends £70,000 On IVF