Fenland couple tell how IVF changed their lives as Cambs professor receives Nobel Prize

A TEA party was held at a Cambridgeshire IVF clinic in celebration of Professor Robert Edwards receiving the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Among the guests at Bourn Hall in Cambridge were Fenland couple Joanne and Michael Smith, who revealed how IVF treatment changed their lives.

WHEN twins Mason and Maya Smith arrived in the world in March 2010 it was the end of a 10-year wait for parents Joanne and Michael Smith.

The couple, from Elm, decided to start a family on their wedding day but when nothing happened after two years they grew concerned.

But after it emerged that Mr Smith had poor sperm mobility they were referred directly to Bourn Hall and began their first cycle of treatment in May 2009.

Mrs Smith said: “When nothing happened after two years we went to see our GP, whose first piece of advice was for us to give up smoking. We were both heavy smokers and giving up proved to be quite difficult but we both managed to kick the habit after about a year.”

The couple carried on trying to start a family but even after they had stopped smoking nothing was happening so they went to the chemists and bought some ovulation predictor tests. However, still nothing was happening so they went back to their GP.

Their GP referred them to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn where Mr and Mrs Smith underwent tests. It was established that Mr Smith’s sperm had poor motility and the couple were then referred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for further tests.

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Mrs Smith said: “The problem was that at the time Michael’s work took him abroad a lot so we often had to go for months between appointments which delayed the process.”

It took just two weeks for Mrs Smith to become pregnant after the couple was referred to Bourn Hall.

She said: “I was in quite a lot of pain and was reassured that was completely normal, but it was not until we had the scan at seven weeks that I finally believed we were going to have a family - and twins at that.”

Mrs Smith described the staff at Bourn Hall as “absolutely lovely and so helpful” and still keeps in touch with them by sending cards and photographs.

She added that Mr Smith loves being a dad and has recently changed jobs so he can be at home more to help look after the twins.

Mrs Smith, who is shortly due to go back to work part-time, attends a twins group every week in Elm and gets a lot of support from her mum who lives nearby and knows first-hand what it is like bringing up twins - Mrs Smith has a twin brother.

“I didn’t know what to expect before I had children,” says Joanne, “but I have to say it is a lot easier than I thought and I absolutely love it! We have just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary and couldn’t have asked for a nicer present!”

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