Joy as 'Miracle Babies' Clinic Comes of Age; since 1987, a Midlands Fertility Clinic Has Helped Thousands of Couples Realise Their Parenting Dreams. Health Reporter Emma Brady Joined the Parents and Their "Miracle Babies" as They Celebrated Its 18th Birthday
Byline: Emma Brady
"I always knew I would become pregnant, that the treatment would work, I just didn't think it would take so long."
As Paula Hughes cuddles her three-year-old daughter Georgia, it is hard to believe she spent almost a decade - and pounds 30,000 - on starting a family with husband William.
In 1994, after 18 months of failing to conceive, Mrs Hughes underwent tests that revealed one of her fallopian tubes was blocked although it meant she should still be able to conceive naturally.
But after several months of unsuccessful attempts, the office administrator from Brierley Hill contacted Midland Fertility Services in Aldridge, Walsall.
During the clinic's 18th birthday celebrations at Cooper and Jordan C of E Junior School, in Aldridge, the 37-year-old explained how eventually, by using Viagra, she became pregnant.
"We decided to go for IVF treatment using ICSI, which is where they inject a sperm into the egg, because it was the best method available at the time," said Mrs Hughes.
"The first cycle didn't work but a few months later, after the second cycle, I fell pregnant - but an early scan revealed it was an ectopic pregnancy.
"The foetus was in one of my fallopian tubes, so that had to be removed, but during the operation a second foetus was found in the other tube - so both had to be removed.
"I didn't know what to think, I just felt numb but I knew IVF (ICSI) would still be an option for us."
A further three privately-funded cycles still failed to produce a pregnancy, but Mrs Hughes heard about a consultant in London who used Viagra to help women's uterus linings thicken during fertility treatment.
"In women it increases the blood flow to the womb, causing the lining to grow," she said. "I told Dr Lockwood and she agreed to give it a go so in early 2001 I had my ninth cycle of treatment, taking the Viagra before the eggs were implanted.
"That didn't work but three months later we tried it again and in October 2001, I found out I was pregnant."
Again an early scan revealed a problem. Mrs Hughes was expecting twins but one had stopped growing in the womb.
On July 27, 2002, at Wordesley Hospital, in Stourbridge, she gave birth to Georgina. …