Baby joy after 15 years of childless heartache for Sunderland mum

Sheila, Hannah and Jason. Picture credit: BBC Newcastle
Sheila, Hannah and Jason. Picture credit: BBC Newcastle
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A Sunderland mum has praised pioneering medics who ended 15 years of heartache when she had her daughter after IVF treatment

Sheila Webster and husband Jason had IVF at the Newcastle Fertility Centre to conceive daughter Hannah, now seven.

Sheila and baby Hannah. Picture credit: BBC Newcastle

Sheila and baby Hannah. Picture credit: BBC Newcastle

The family are set to feature as part of a week of programmes by BBC Newcastle and Look North on the pioneering work taking place at the centre, run by the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University.

Sheila said: “After 15 years of infertility its makes me appreciate the work that they do at the Centre for Life and other fertility clinics.

“They make couples become families.

“Being a mum is amazing, everything I had hoped for and more.

Sheila and Hannah in the lab. Picture credit: BBC Newcastle

Sheila and Hannah in the lab. Picture credit: BBC Newcastle

“Hannah was due two days before my 40th birthday and it’s the best present I could have wished for.”

The centre is the biggest in the region with 1,500 couples being referred there every year.

Since opening in 2000 at the Centre for Life more than 4,000 babies have been born - and – working with leading scientists from Newcastle University - it’s about to carry out the world’s first licensed IVF treatment using the DNA of three parents but doctors say they need North East women to donate their eggs.

The centre has a shortage of egg donors and are asking North East women to consider donating - for treatment, research and for its pioneering Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy.

The clinic is the first in the world to be given a licence to carry out the advanced form of IVF and will start treatment later this year. Scientists there are trying to help women at risk of passing on serious genetic disorders have a healthy child.

Head of Newcastle Fertility Centre, Dr Jane Stewart said: “We have an active egg donor recruitment. we’re always in need of people for a number of reasons...for women who don’t have useful eggs for their own, of course women who are interested in the mitochondria treatment program and for research so we can move forward with these types of projects.”

There is a three year waiting list for donor eggs at centre. A third of donors give eggs to someone they know.