Louise Warneford suffered 18 miscarriages after her own body rejected her pregnancies. Her husband Mark, 55, from Swindon, revealed that she finally achieved their dream and became a mother at 48. Louise endured countless rounds of IVF, costing around £80,000, over a period of 16 years before a specialist finally found the reason behind her miscarriages.
In 2010, the couple agreed to have one final try after a doctor told them a donor embryo might be successful, and Louise gave birth to a healthy baby boy, William, at 37 weeks. Louise and Mark Warneford said the 16-year-wait was worth it. At 47, she’d suffered 18 miscarriages and given up all hope of having a child.Despite already spending £80,000 on IVF, a consultation with a specialist revealed she had ‘killer cells’ that were ending her pregnancies. This prompted her to try for a baby one final time using a donor embryo.
William was born healthy at 37 weeks via C-section when Louise was 48.
Even though people sometimes mistake the couple for baby William’s grandparents, they are over-the-moon to finally have a child of their own.
Louise explains: “Mark and I had been trying for a baby since I was 32. We’d suffered 18 miscarriages and spent £80,000 but looking at William now, it was all worth it. I’m not the spring chicken that I used to be and it does take me a while to chase him around the floor but it’s worth it.”
The couple first met in 1999 and Louise immediately knew that he was “the one.” However, due to Mark’s vasectomy from a previous relationship, the pair had to look for alternative ways to make Louise’s dream of having a baby a reality.
She says: “We went to a fertility specialist to find out about the quickest way of conceiving, and they suggested a sperm insemination. So we found a donor who had the same attributes as Mark and I, and we went along with the process.” The full-time mum admits finally having a child of her own is joyous.
The emotional turmoil that Louise endured when she would lose a baby – often around the 14-week mark – left her devastated Louise’s body kept rejecting her own embryos and even egg donation wouldn’t work. However, when the couple tried a donated embryo, the pregnancy continued
“I fell pregnant a number of times with the insemination, but every single time I ended up losing the baby around the 14-week scan mark as they couldn’t find the heartbeat. Each time I got my hopes up and thought that “this was it” and I was going to have the perfect family I’d always wanted – I couldn’t stop crying every time I miscarried.”
“We decided to try IVF but despite falling pregnant a number of times, we always lost the baby. There is no grief that can compare to losing a much loved and wanted baby – all your hopes and dreams are shattered…It was a complete mystery why my body kept rejecting my baby at just a few weeks old but it was heartbreaking every single time.”
Louise gave up on her dream in 2010, unable to face any more attempts. We’d even tried using an egg donor but that failed as well.”
However, determined to find out what was wrong with her body for peace of mind, Louise decided to find a clinic to finally diagnose her fertility problem.
Louise said: “I met a specialist in maternal medicine called Doctor Shehata and he told me that I had killer cells in my body, which was why I couldn’t hold a child.”
The doctor who helped the couple, Dr. Hassan Shehata, explained to them how natural killer cells in Louise’s body had identified pregnancy as a foreign body. Because Louise’s husband Mark had a vasectomy, the couple decided to use a sperm donor to help them achieve their dream of becoming parents.
“I told him I’d had 18 miscarriages and that I couldn’t go through that again but he gave me the courage to have one more try. I didn’t do anything until four years later when I was 47 and I said to Mark that we had to try one more time before I was 50.”
‘This time, because I was too old for certain clinics in the UK, I decided to do my own research and had embryo donation in the Gynem Clinic in Prague.”
The couple finally got pregnant when Louise was 47 and, despite a nerve-wrenching nine months, their son William was born healthy.
“We’re a perfect family now and I finally feel complete – we even have a grandchild now, and at just ten months old, William, became an uncle…”He was born at 37 weeks through a planned C-section because I was told that there was a problem with the placenta. Although I couldn’t enjoy my pregnancy, because I was constantly scared that I was going to lose him, it was completely worth it for my dream baby.”
Louise is now sharing her story to help anyone facing a similar situation to her and to raise discussion about miscarriages.
“‘We want people to know that it is doable and despite my multiple miscarriages and rounds of IVF, our dream baby was achievable.”