A determined Scottish mother has given birth to her miracle baby after 25 years of failed IVF procedures.
Helen Dalglish, from Glasgow’s Dennistoun, endured a whopping 21 attempts to conceive – costing nearly ?100,000 – before welcoming daughter Daisy Grace when she was 53.
The 54-year-old told the Daily Record about her joy after years of heartbreak and how she never gave up on her dream of becoming a mother.
She said, ?When you get that little miracle at the end, you forget the 25 years.
“I looked down and the bump got bigger and I was like ‘am I dreaming?’
Helen Dalglish, from Glasgow’s Dennistoun, endured a whopping 21 attempts to conceive – costing nearly ?100,000 – before welcoming daughter Daisy Grace, aged 53.
?Even looking at her, I can’t believe I’m a mother. It’s surreal.’
Helen moved to Cyprus in her twenties and began trying to have a baby with her then-husband at 28.
They moved back to Scotland soon after and when tests showed no complications they were diagnosed with ‘unexplained infertility’.
Tests in Cyprus had revealed a possible problem with the positioning of Helen’s uterus, but she said doctors in Scotland were not concerned.
The couple underwent four intrauterine insemination procedures, where sperm is placed directly into the uterus, without success before moving on to IVF.
They were only eligible for one round of free treatment on the NHS and over the next 20 years they would endure a succession of failed, privately funded attempts – despite producing top quality embryos.
But the rebellious Helen could still envision her baby.
She said, ?Sometimes it became too much emotionally, physically and financially.
Helen, pictured with Dasiy Grace, was diagnosed with ‘unexplained infertility’ in her late 20s after trying to conceive with her husband
Dasiy Grace was born in September, when her mother was 53, after 21 IVF attempts in 25 years
‘Sometimes we stood still for a year or two. Since they said it was inexplicable, we thought we’d do some yoga, meditation, alternative health, because nothing is stopping us, maybe it just happens if we forget.
?Anyone who fails, you are absolutely devastated. It’s like death. I’d be down for a few weeks, but then I’d pick myself up and say ‘fine, if you want this baby, get yourself something done’.
“I tried to forget the failed attempts as if I had started over.”
Helen began to worry that every time medics tried to transfer her embryos back into her uterus, the procedure would be excruciatingly painful, thinking medics were “running into a wall.”
She requested anesthesia for future procedures, but still the result was negative.
More than a decade into IVF, Helen heard a Scottish consultant talk about infertility and decided to move clinics.
But she was crushed when the consultant confirmed her uterus was severely tilted and said he believed all of her other embryo transfers had been “wasted.”
From then on, Helen became pregnant three times, only to have heartbreaking miscarriages.
Left: Helen during her pregnancy with Daisy Grace. Right: Helen with her mother Christine and her daughter
She said, ?At the time I was 41 and 42 and they just didn’t stick. I would come around nine or ten weeks (pregnancy).
?What kept me going was that I just kept seeing this baby. I tried to switch it off sometimes and say ‘stop punishing yourself and letting your body go through this’. Sometimes I tried to accept it, but it didn’t work.’
Helen decided her only chance to become a mother now was to finally agree to use donor eggs, but despite creating 10 strong embryos, she received the crushing news that they had all perished.
She said, ?I decided I wasn’t going to do any more and tried to get over it, but it kept coming back. Then I found Dunya.’
At the time, Helen had moved back to Paphos, Cyprus, with her current partner and decided their ‘last chance saloon’ was Dunya Fertility Center in Kyrenia.
She said, ?I wasn’t planning on doing the very last treatment. My father had been seriously ill at home in Scotland and passed away.
Little Daisy Grace looks relaxed after birth in a ruffled skirt. Her mother has wished for a baby for 25 years
?My mom said I should do another one. Before Daddy died, he said to her ‘what can I send you from heaven?’ and she said ‘please send her a baby’.
‘In the end, that just gave me that extra push to go for it.’
The couple’s first attempt failed when they ran genetic tests on their embryos, but they were stunned to conceive on their second attempt with the clinic.
A medic had tried out the transfer procedure to make sure he could get to Helen’s uterus properly, and the couple received their positive pregnancy test via email two weeks later.
Helen said, ?The two of us burst into tears and screams. My mother thought it was negative, but they were tears of relief and happiness.
“I think my father must have had something to do with it.”
Helen developed diabetes and preeclampsia, a condition that causes high blood pressure during pregnancy, but with every month she grew more confident that she would finally meet her baby.
She gave birth to a healthy baby girl in September at the age of 53.
She said, ?When we got home I burst into tears. It felt like 25 years of grief trying to escape and caught me in a moment when I wasn’t expecting it.
It’s absolutely heaven. She’s getting better. She seems like the most calm, relaxed, happy baby. It’s almost like I’ve waited so long and now I’m being spoiled.
?I was very close to the deadline at 53. I don’t think you can anymore at 55.
?I want to thank all the staff and the doctors and everyone at the clinic.
“She’s a little darling and worth waiting another 25 years for.”
Helen’s doctor, Dr Alper Eraslan of Dunya IVF, said her determination would be an inspiration to others.
He said: ‘Although it can be both psychologically and financially difficult at times, we want to use our support, knowledge and experience to help women who want a healthy baby.
“We are so happy to see women like Helen finally get the chance to have children of their own, and we will continue to do our best to help other couples make this dream come true.”
Mother, 54, welcomes baby after spending almost ?100,000 on failed IVF treatments over 25 years