Quarter Of A Century Later

Neil and Monica Ward have been trying to get pregnant for a quarter of a century. After so long and after spending $200,000 on treatments for infertility, the British couple is thrilled at last to be the parents of twin boys. The boys have been named Walker and Benjamin, according to media reports. Monica is 46 years old and gave birth to the twins on December 29, 2009. As a nurse, she can well appreciate how lucky she is to finally have these children.

Huge Ordeal

The Wards, who reside in Stafford, in central England, have undergone a huge emotional and financial ordeal in order to have children. Neil Ward spoke to the Express & Star during the course of Monica's pregnancy, "Every time it didn’t work it took 10 months to get over it and it was like a living hell for both of us," he explained. My wife is desperate for children and if you love a person that much you have to say yes no matter what the consequences."

The Wards began their conception saga in 1986. Since that time, they have been through 15 failed attempts at a variety of assisted reproduction techniques, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF costs $20,000 per attempt. The couple's eventual success was achieved through a combination of IVF, donor sperm, and donor eggs.

Laboratory Dish

IVF has significant success in treating infertility where other methods of assisted reproductive technology (ART) have failed. In this technique, eggs are fertilized in a laboratory dish outside of the mother's womb, with the use of specially treated sperm. The resulting embryos are then transferred to the mother's uterus, where it is hoped that implantation will take place, which is a fancy way of saying the mother is pregnant.

Throughout the Ward's tale of infertility, Monica's age was a factor. "What this story shows is that even if you've had lots of failed attempts with more conventional treatment, an older patient can still use donor egg and conceive successfully—sometimes you're just going to need that high tech treatment," said chief of the University of Southern California's reproductive endocrinology unit, Dr. Richard Paulson.

Home at last with her two small sons, the mother has thought more about her final successes than her years of failure. The happy ending of her long sad story comes in the form of two boys named Benjamin and Walker. As Monica Ward told London's Telegraph, "When I held them for the first time my eyes just filled up with tears," and commented that she's "still pinching myself that after so long trying it finally happened."

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