'I had my miracle baby at 53 after 25 years of IVF - it feels like a dream'

Helen Dalglish said she 'never gave up' her dream of having her baby and described Daisy Grace as an 'absolute joy.'

Mum has miracle baby after 25-year IVF journey costing £100,000

A mum who endured 25 years of failed IVF has shared her joy after having her first “miracle” baby at the age of 53.

Helen Dalglish, from Glasgow, struggled to get pregnant naturally and underwent 21 rounds of the treatment from the age of 28, spending almost £100,000.

Now, the 54-year-old lives in Cyprus with one-year-old Daisy Grace and her partner and said it feels like ” a dream” to hold her baby in her arms.

She told STV News: “I started crying uncontrollably the moment I brought her home from the hospital.

Helen said Daisy Grace is 'always smiling and laughing'

“I realise it had not sunk in that she was mine until I got to my front door.

“All the 25 years of grief escaped from me – it had all disappeared the moment I met my Daisy Grace.”

Helen moved to Cyprus in her 20s with her then husband and began trying for a baby with no success.

Tests performed on Helen and her partner revealed no issues. When she was told she had “unexplained infertility”, they moved back to Scotland.

Helen underwent four intrauterine insemination procedures at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, whereby sperm is inserted directly into the uterus. When it did not work, she was offered IVF.

The couple were offered free round of the treatment on the NHS before going private – another decade of treatment without success.

“I was doing IVF from 28 until I was 40-odds. I had always been told my eggs were really good quality,” she said.

“They were fertilising and defrosting fine. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get pregnant, time after time.

“You’re told ‘sorry it didn’t work. We’d take a couple of weeks and you just had to get back on your feet again.

“You’ve got to stay positive but its like hell while you’re waiting.”

Helen decided to move clinics after hearing a Scottish consultant’s lecture on infertility at a Nuffield clinic in Glasgow.

After undertaking tests with the doctor, he told her that the tilted position of her womb meant that her embryo transfers were unlikely to have worked before and would which would require a myometrial transfer.

She claimed this was not picked up by previous doctors.

By then in her early 40s, she fell pregnant and miscarried three times.

Christine said Daisy Grace 'brightens up everyone's day'

Helen then decided to resort to donor eggs and in another tragic stroke of fate, the ten embryos she received had perished.

“It was like a death every time I miscarried. It was grief,” she said.

“It was devastating knowing my own eggs had been wasted. I felt angry. It felt like I had lost my chance at a family.”

“And then, the donor eggs died. There was a point where it felt like God was telling me not to have a baby, with everything that went wrong.”

Helen moved back to Paphos, Cyprus in 2019 after her marriage broke down and had met another partner.

She had researched Dunya, a fertility clinic that accepted women up to their mid-50s, but said she was unsure of putting herself through further stress.

Daisy Grace with her gran Christine

After her dad died from cancer aged 81, her mum insisted she gave it one last go.

She first visited the clinic in summer 2019, who put her on medication to boost her fertility hormones and began running tests.

She said: “One of the last times my mum and dad spoke, she asked him to ‘send Helen a baby.’ She wanted me to give it one last go.

“I didn’t want to look back and think I never tried that one last time. At least if it didn’t happen, it was never in my hands.”

After embryos from a donor egg candidate were fertilised and stored, she was given the news that only one survived, which was inserted into Helen’s uterus.

The couple waited an agonising two weeks to find out if it had successfully embedded and “prayed for a miracle”.

Helen’s blood test results had been promising, but she didn’t want to get her hopes up.

Helen said: “I remember that day we opened the email that said the numbers were in their thousands, meaning I was pregnant. We started crying with joy.

“My mum was terrified it was another failure when she heard the noise – but when I told her the news, she was over the moon.

“She believes my dad sent us the baby. I think there was something in that.”

After years of heartbreak, Helen’s admitted her pregnancy was at times “worrisome”.

She had developed diabetes and pre-eclampsia and was put on a restrictive diet, with regular tests and scans to ensure her baby’s health.

Daisy Grace with mum Helen and gran Christine

Doctors induced Helen at 37 weeks and she gave birth to a healthy baby girl in September 2022, weighing 6.6lbs.

“We are all totally in love with her,” Helen said.

“She has given my mum a new lease of life after losing my dad. It’s like he is here again. We are all ecstatic.”

Their new life with Daisy Grace has been an adventure for the family – and the cheeky tot rules the roost.

“She’s an absolute joy – she’s the happiest baby ever. She always has a big smile on her face and is constantly laughing.

“She sleeps and eats good, and she loves being in the water. She always brightens up our day.”

Helen shared some words of encouragement to other women who are struggling to have a baby.

“Don’t give up on your dream and make sure you look at all your options,” she said.

“I could always see a baby there, even after every failure. It was worth those 25 years.

“She is my diamond – I still can’t believe my luck.”

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