Claire and Tony Dunn have more reason than most to celebrate their twins’ first day at school this week – as it may have been a very different story were it not for a stroke of exceptional luck.
The couple, from Rowley Regis, were one of four families who won IVF treatment paid for by the Birmingham Post in 2005 as part of groundbreaking campaign calling for improved IVF access for the thousands who need it.
Mrs Dunn, 38, said she and her husband were “overjoyed” when they discovered they had won the competition and this week they proudly walked little Roxanne and her non-identical brother Kenzie up the path for their first day at at Highfields Primary School.
“We thought we would never be able to have children,” said Mrs Dunn.
“Thanks to the Post, all our dreams have come true and we are a perfect little family, with two beautiful children we never thought we would see.”
Before entering the competition, the couple had been told by doctors the only way they could have children of their own would be through surrogacy or adoption.
Mrs Dunn had already suffered an ectopic pregnancy in January 2005, following a privately-financed course of IVF treatment. She lost the baby following emergency surgery.
The Dunns heard about the Post’s initiative, highlighting the need for improved access to fertility treatment on the NHS and offering four couples a cycle of fertility treatment at the Midland Fertility Services (MFS) clinic.
Mrs Dunn said: “I knew we had nothing to lose by writing in. We had had a very bad experience prior to winning the contest.
“At the clinic, my treatment was not as straightforward as others I’d had in the past. The doctors performed a detailed examination and discovered I had a problem with the lining in my uterus.
“If it wasn’t for their research I would never have fallen pregnant.”
Staff at the clinic in Aldridge, Walsall, suggested Mrs Dunn took the drug Viagra to help thicken her uterus lining before implanting two of the frozen embryos created by her original treatment.
MFS believes the twins may be the first in the world to be born as a result of the drug, normally associated with treating male impotence
“It was a miracle to hear it had worked first time and I was pregnant within four months. That was the most amazing feeling, after everything that we had been through.”
Roxanne and Kenzie were born on April 25, 2006 at Walsall Manor Hospital.
Mrs Dunn said: “They dote on each other and are both looking forward to getting into the classroom for the first time. They enjoy art, drawing and have been learning new words and numbers.”
Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director at the centre said: “The first day of school is one of the happiest days of a parent’s life.
“We are thrilled that Claire and Tony have been a success story for the clinic and the Birmingham Post.
“We hope to continue our campaign to make sure free IVF treatment is widely available to thousands of families who need it.”