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Homepage / News / Scots mum gives birth after being told cancer treatment could leave her infertile
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News, Outside MAN

Scots mum gives birth after being told cancer treatment could leave her infertile

A pioneering campaigner who fought for the right for others to have babies has celebrated the arrival of her own child after an against-the-odds pregnancy.

Claire-Ann McCallum-Thomson was facing infertility after a cancer diagnosis and challenged a policy that she claimed discriminated against single women who wanted to freeze their eggs.

She won her fight against the health board and was hailed as a “fertility pioneer”.

Now the 39-year-old and her husband Garry have welcomed their own baby girl , Camryn.

Claire-Ann, from Dalkeith, Midlothian, was fighting breast cancer in 2014 when she was told that the chemotherapy treatment she needed to save her life could leave her infertile.

She had the option to freeze her eggs but she would have to pay £4000 as she was single at the time and didn’t have a
fertilised embryo to freeze.

NHS Lothian did not charge women to freeze embryos and Claire-Ann was horrified by the discrimination as she didn’t have a partner so wasn’t in that position.

Hospital bosses agreed it was unfair and the ruling was scrapped, allowing women to also have their eggs frozen at no cost.

Claire-Ann and Garry met two years after she was diagnosed and got married in April last year.

Claire-Ann McCallum

They decided to try to have a baby as she had finished taking tamoxifen, which also affects fertility, in January last year.

But they were devastated when doctors said her chances of conceiving with the frozen eggs was very low.

Claire-Ann said: “I received a letter saying it had been almost five years since my eggs had been frozen and, if I wanted to keep them, I would have to start paying £500 a year.

“We made an appointment to go to the fertility unit and the same doctor who had told me I was a fertility pioneer told us that, because we were both touching 40 and with everything my body had been through, the odds of any IVF working were small.

“We came away from the meeting pretty upset but decided we would do our best not to make falling pregnant our only focus.”

The couple went off on a dream holiday unaware that Claire-Ann had already conceived naturally.

She said: “We had a holiday to New York booked for the New Year and we had a wonderful time. Our plan had been to return to the hospital in February to begin our fertility treatment – but that didn’t happen.

“When I came back from New York, I didn’t feel too well. My taste buds were different – I’d gone off beer – and I started to get other symptoms that I knew might mean I was pregnant.

“I did a test and I couldn’t believe it when the result came back positive. We were both over the moon.”

Camryn Carol Mary arrived on September 21, weighing 7lb 12oz.

Now the couple hope their story will give hope to other young women diagnosed with cancer who fear they may never have children.

Claire-Ann added: “Now we know I was already a few days pregnant when we were told it was unlikely I would ever become a mum.

“There were many times when I did fear I’d never become a mum but now Camryn is here and all our friends and family understand how special she is.”

Earlier this year, Claire-Ann appeared in the Sunday Mail to launch the search for models for this year’s Breast Cancer Care Scotland Fashion Show. It takes place on October 24 at the Hilton Glasgow Hotel.

For tickets, call 0345 0771892 or visit breastcancercare.org.uk/theshowscotland.

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