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After 16 heartbreaking years of trying for a baby, Louise and Mark Warneford had all but given up hope of ever having a child.

Warneford suffered 18 miscarriages and spent  R1.4 million on fertility treatment before specialists found embryo-killing cells in her body were to blame.

But after a doctor told them an embryo donation might work, the couple gave it one last go.

The egg donor was a success – and on June 1 last year, at the age of 48, Warneford gave birth to William, weighing 2.2 kilograms.

The mother, now 49, said: ‘Mark and I had been trying for a baby since I was 32. We'd suffered 18 miscarriages and spent 1.4 million 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.' Ex-flight supervisor Mrs Warneford and her husband, 55, a driver, met in 1999 and decided they wanted to start a family.

However, due to Warneford's vasectomy from a previous relationship the couple had to look for an alternative way of conceiving.

Warneford, from Swindon, said: ‘We went to a fertility specialist and they suggested a sperm insemination. 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.

‘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 we always lost the baby.

‘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.'

Having almost given up, Warneford went to a fertility clinic, where she was told that her body harboured natural killer – or NK – cells, which can destroy embryos if they wrongly identify them as a foreign threat.

Warneford, whose husband has two children from a previous marriage, as well as a grandchild, said: ‘I met a specialist in maternal medicine called Hassan Shehata and he told me that I had killer cells in my body, which was why I couldn't hold a child. When I was 47, I said to Mark that we had to try one more time before I was 50.

‘This time, I decided to do my own research and had embryo donation in the Gynem Clinic in Prague. William was born at 37 weeks through a 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, it was completely worth it for my dream baby.'

She added: ‘We want people to know that it is doable.'

Dr Shehata, director of the Centre for Reproductive Immunology and Pregnancy, said: ‘She was quite determined to succeed and I thought both her and her partner deserve a chance to be parents.'

© Daily Mail