A Birmingham mother has given birth to Britain's first set of "frozen egg" twins, it was revealed yesterday.
Margaret McNamee has given birth to twin girls Anna and Isabella, and in doing so has given hope to thousands of women.
The 36-year-old, who lives in Sutton Coldfield with husband Michael Fahey and their 22-month-old son Matthew, gave birth last month following treatment at Midland Fertility Services clinic in Aldridge, Walsall.
The couple opted to freeze the remaining eggs after conceiving Matthew through IVF treatment because the idea of freezing any embryos went against their Catholic beliefs.
Ms McNamee said: "We knew there had been one other birth from this method, and that the thawing process is suspect, but we wanted to give it a go.
"We simply couldn't countenance freezing embryos because we would have seen it as freezing little people. This was a way of trying to have our family while staying true to our principles."
The couple met in 2001 and began trying to start a family as soon as they moved in together.
While Ms McNamee, who has two sons - Thomas, aged 19, and John, aged 16, - from a previous marriage, knew she could bear children, her husband suspected he had problem.
Mr Fahey, a 39-year-old electrician, said: "I knew there may have been a problem because my first wife and I had tried for six years, but nothing happened
"When we realised something was wrong the marriage was failing, so getting help wasn't really an option.
"When I settled down with Margaret, the issue became more pressing."
When Matthew was one, Ms McNamee's three remaining eggs were defrosted and, against all odds, survived the critical thawing process.
Two were then fertilised using her husband's sperm and put back inside her womb - then a fortnight later she found out she was pregnant
Ms McNamee added: "We went for a scan and I mentioned I had been really sick. The nurse joked that usually meant twins and we all laughed.
"Ten minutes later she was telling us that yes, we were expecting twins."
A second couple, who also underwent treatment at MFS, are now expecting twins as a result of using frozen oocytes.
This achievement will not only give hope to thousands of infertile couples desperate to become parents, but also female cancer patients whose fertility may be damaged after having chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Women with medical conditions like severe endometriosis, which can cause the ovaries to "shut down", may also be able to benefit from this new technique
Dr Gillian Lockwood, MFS's medical director, said: "We were thrilled to see this technology could produce another happy family.
"For most couples, starting a family means candlelight and roses rather than a trip to a clinic, but this development will give small but significant groups a chance to achieve their parenting dreams.
"One in 1,000 young adults are lifetime survivors of cancer but the price they pay is being rendered sterile.
"Freezing their eggs until they've completed their treatment gives these women the genetic chance of motherhood." n Emily Perry, born in June 2002, was the first baby born in Britain using the mother's own frozen eggs