On 29 December last year, British twins were delivered by Caesarean section at Stafford District Hospital, UK, to Monique and Neil Ward. The Wards had been attempting to conceive for 25 years and spent £100,000 on fertility treatment. The Wards were married in 1986 and after six months of trying to conceive tests revealed that Neil Ward had a low sperm count due to a reversed vasectomy. The couple then proceeded with an NHS-funded method of delivering sperm straight into the uterus via a catheter. However, after eight cycles they remained unsuccessful.
The Wards then decided attempt to get pregnant using IVF - a procedure that was not available to them on the NHS. Three cycles of IVF cost the Wards £12,000 and were unsuccessful. Following these this disappointment the couple sought specialist advise at a Harley Street clinic paying £1000 for a consultation and then commencing a new method of IVF. ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) is a form of IVF where only one sperm is needed as it is injected directly into the egg cell. This means that the sperm does not have to travel to the egg or penetrate the egg's external levels and is especially effective for combating low sperm count. The treatment cost the Wards £5000 per cycle and the couple spent £20,000 in total, having to remortgage their house to finance the treatment.
When ICSI was unsuccessful the Wards began to consider using donor sperm. However, when they attended a consultation at Midland Fertility Services clinic in Aldridge they were advised that they should also consider using a donor egg due to Mrs Ward's age. Given the two year waiting list, they began to investigate IVF clinics abroad. In 2008 the couple travelled to Valencia, Spain where fertilised donor eggs were placed directly into Monique's uterus. However, the first attempted failed - it was on the second attempt that Monique Ward becoming pregnant with twins. The treatment in Spain that led to the pregnancy cost the couple £27,000, excluding travel and accommodation costs.
Despite the large amount the Wards have spent on private fertility treatment over 25 years they say they have no regrets. Mrs Ward said in response to the birth of Benjamin and Walker one month early: 'Now we're just looking forward to the next 25 years of happiness bringing them up'.