A MUM has had has her first child aged 50 after a £14,000 PPI payout meant she could finally afford IVF treatment.
While PPI calls are a nuisance for many, Alison John, 51, says a mis-sold PPI refund made her dreams come true.
Alison and her husband Phillip, 58, had given up hope of ever having kids, after a sixteen year battle of trying to conceive proved fruitless.
But the couple’s luck turned around when a £14,000 PPI refund paid for the couple to complete three cycles of IVF – resulting in the birth of a little girl, Megan, three weeks before Alison’s 51st birthday.
In 2000, Alison, then 34, came off the contraceptive pill after she and Phillip decided the timing was right to start a family.
But a decade passed and she hadn’t fallen pregnant.
Doctors couldn’t find anything medically wrong with the couple and the couple couldn’t afford IVF – leading Alison and Phillip feeling as if they would need to come to terms with being childless.
Alison said: “Our relationship has always been strong. We have been married for 26 years now. But not being able to have a child was hard.
“We considered IVF until we discovered the cost of it and then we knew it was impossible.
“I’d completely given up until a chance meeting at our bank with a financial advisor.
“They looked at our accounts and asked if we had ever considered looking into the PPI scandal.
“I’d heard of it but didn’t think to check if we were eligible for a payout.
“I’d had loans over the years and credit cards.
“The bank gave me a number to call and a few months later we were told that the bank would pay us £14,000.
“I was blown away.”
With £14,000 in the bank Alison and husband Phillip decided that the one thing they wanted most in the world was a child of their own.
Alison added: “We thought about going on holiday but once it’s all over all you have are memories and photographs.
“We already owned our own house and both worked full time.
“After a bit of soul-searching we deciding trying IVF was the right thing to do.
“Phillip was apprehensive about his age. He needed a bit more reassurance than me.
“He said ‘I’ll be the oldest dad at the playground.’
“But I still feel the same as I did at 34. To me age is just a number and I wasn’t going to let it hold me back from becoming a mother at any age.
“I felt so excited that we could finally have the chance to be parents.”
However, Alison admits that medical professionals were quick to advise her on the risks involved with having a baby at 50.
Alison said: “I was asked over and over if I was sure I wanted to put myself through it.
“Doctors warned me about the heightened risk of having a baby with Down’s Syndrome or suffering a still birth.
“But every pregnancy has a risk factor. I never changed my mind for a moment.”
After receiving hormone therapy Alison had five eggs removed from her ovaries which were later fertilised with Phillip’s sperm in a laboratory.
Alison said: “It was a gamble with our money, we knew there were no guarantees, but Phillip and I agreed it was money we would never have had and so it was worth the risk.
“The first two cycles of IVF didn’t work, but after the third cycle I fell pregnant.
“I told my mum who was ecstatic. She was going to be a grandmother for the first time aged 77.
“She told all her friends and our family.
“I couldn’t blame her but sadly I later miscarried the baby.
“It was devastating having to go back to everyone we had told and say that we had actually lost the baby.”
Heartbroken Alison and Phillip decided to try again but this time kept their IVF a secret and only told family on a need to know basis.
Alison said: “Our fourth attempt resulted in my pregnancy with Megan.
“All of the doctors and midwives I met with were fixated on my age but I’ve still got my health, I’m active, I’m busy, I volunteer.”
After a caesarean section Megan was born weighing 5lb 8oz.
Alison said: “I hadn’t expected the C-section. I thought I’d be giving birth naturally in a pool but it wasn’t to be.
“The baby was breech and doctors decided I’d need surgery immediately.
“My age was a huge factor in how they treated me. I was monitored so closely.”
Alison admits there are moments when her age does cause confusion when she is out with Megan.
She said: “Sometimes I correct people if they think I’m her Nan but often I just ignore it.
“I started off breast feeding but I switched to bottle because my supply wasn’t enough.
“I don’t know if the milk dried up because of my age but I didn’t mind giving up. I just wanted her to be happy and well fed.”
Megan is now 13 months old and Alison and Phillip are hoping to try for a brother or sister for Megan in the near future – as they still have a cycle of IVF left to try.
Alison said: “I’m hoping for a baby boy, a brother for Megan and one of each for Phillip and I.
“But we don’t mind either way.
“Megan is everything we ever dreamed of and we are so happy to finally be parents.
“At some point we are planning to go back to the clinic to give Megan a sibling. Another baby would just be the icing on the cake.”