A couple who spent more than £100,000 on IVF treatment have had a baby on the eighth attempt. Sarah Francis, 33, and husband Darren, 38, were told that they couldn't have children.
Sarah said: 'We were told we would never have a child. It just wasn't working. Despite test after test, we just weren't given a reason why'. After a year of trying to conceive naturally, the couple sought medical help. But the IVF treatment they received was also unsuccessful. 'After seven failed tries we were told 'there's no more we can do for you', Sarah said.
In a last-ditch attempt, the couple from Southend were referred to a clinic near Harley Street, London.
'I had to have a blood test which involved 18 vials of blood taken from me, which then got sent to Chicago Medical Centre in America', Sarah explained. 'The result came back that my immune level was so high my own body was killing the embryo'.
'It was ironic because the condition means I never get ill because I have such a strong immune system, but it was attacking the very thing I wanted the most in the world'.
The couple decided on one more bout of IVF and returned to the clinic hoping it would work this time.
'We were told to go away for a few hours while they looked at the results', Sarah recalls. 'Darren and I went to Oxford Street to try to keep busy'.
'Suddenly, in the middle of the street the phone rang. We both looked at each other. I answered, expecting the worst and the clinician on the other end said 'it's positive'.
'I can't describe the emotion that welled up inside me. We didn't say anything to each other. We walked back to the car in silence and just both burst into tears'.
Little Evie was born at Southend Hospital on November 23, weighing 5lbs 15oz. Now her parents have a special gift lined up for her 18th birthday to show her how precious she is. Sarah said: 'I've saved the receipts to give to Evie on her 18th birthday to show how much she cost us'.
Sarah also has a message of hope to other couples going through similar situations; 'I know families who have been torn apart because of failed IVF. I felt like a failure. I even said to my husband 'I understand if you leave me'. But he was always amazingly supportive and I never felt like I was going through it all alone. We want people going through the same thing to know there can be a happy ending. Just don't give up'.