Sunderland’s first Gift baby turns 21

Gift baby Grace Carter, of Witton Grove, Houghton who celebrates her 21st birthday this week.
Gift baby Grace Carter, of Witton Grove, Houghton who celebrates her 21st birthday this week.
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SUNDERLAND’S first Gift baby is 21 today.

Grace Carter was the first baby born on the NHS who was conceived through the Gift infertility treatment.

Grace Carter with her mum June and dad Graham.

Grace Carter with her mum June and dad Graham.

Her parents June and Graham Carter, from Houghton, had been trying for a baby for four years before they were offered the then-pioneering treatment.

“We were so lucky,” said June, 53, who works for Walkers Opticians, Durham.

“There was only a 20 per cent chance that it would work.

“I never really thought about the fact that she was the first one born on the NHS in Sunderland. We were just ecstatic that we had our baby.”

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The Gift procedure – Gamete Intra-Fallopian Treatment – is the most simple form of infertility treatment.

The woman’s eggs and sperm are transferred directly into her fallopian tubes during a small surgical procedure.

At the time, it was reported that Grace’s birth was thanks to gynaecologist Maureen Dalton, who made the Gift treatment available on the NHS.

June and Graham, 54, general manager at optical company Dunelm, conceived twins during the procedure, although one was miscarried.

Grace was born in Sunderland Royal Hospital weighing 6lb 5oz.

“I think it’s pretty cool that I was Sunderland’s first NHS Gift baby,” she said. “It’s special for my mam and dad.”

A professional singer and barmaid at the Ramside Hotel, former Houghton Kepier School pupil Grace, who has supported Olly Murs, Jedward and UB40 at their concerts around the region, said: “A lot of people didn’t know I was the first one, so when I put a picture of the Echo’s front page on Facebook they were all really surprised.”

Mum June said: “It’s a really special birthday and she’s having a big party. I think we’ll be invited.”

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull