A COUPLE have shared their experiences of going through IVF during the pandemic as they look forward to the arrival of their much longed-for baby in April.

Victoria Shires and John Whitmore, from Horwich, whose wedding was cancelled last June due to coronavirus, were in the middle of the IVF process when treatment was put on hold in March

Victoria, 37, has endometriosis - a condition where tissue similar to the womb lining grows in other places - and the couple knew that conceiving would always be a challenge.

In 2019 they began their IVF journey at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester as they specialise in endometriosis.

In January 2020 Victoria, a client relationship manager, was receiving Prostap injections, used to treat those with endometriosis and prepare her body for pregnancy. But she was three months into this when lockdown hit.

She said: “It was a bit of an emotional time not knowing what the next step was going to be. I got in touch when I saw they were reopening in June and because they already knew I had a low egg count and my age – I was 36 then – the treatment was restarted as soon as possible.

“It was really lucky as the timings of my cycle matched up to when the appointment was so we could re-start the injections straight away. The staff were absolutely brilliant. We managed to have three successful embryos. Then it felt like our one and only hope - quite literally all our eggs in one basket.”

Victoria is now 28 weeks pregnant and their baby boy is due in April.

John, an infrastructure specialist, already has a 10-year-old daughter from a previous relationship but for Victoria the IVF offered her the chance to carry her own baby.

John, 39, said: “It was amazing when we got the results. We’d got everything set up and I just said, let’s do it now. I was feeling confident as Victoria had said she was feeling a bit different and a bit sick.

“When she passed me the test and I saw the word ‘pregnant’ I was delighted. I was jumping around, Victoria was crying, she was hugging her mum.”

“After all the disappointment in 2020 with the wedding being cancelled, it was a silver lining.”

The pregnancy is going well and the couple are now planning on getting married in July this year.

Victoria said: “We were so lucky. Everything fell into place at the right moment.

“Our advice to anyone going through the IVF process is don’t give up hope, keep looking forward and stay positive.

“This journey is about taking one step at a time and you’ve got to be patient.”