A couple from Halifax who scooped a £1 million lottery windfall say they now feel like double winners after they were able to help both their daughters have children through IVF.
As soon as they realised they had won on the EuroMillions Raffle in February 2018, Ruth and Mark Chalmers’s thoughts turned to the struggles their daughters Natalie and Leanne each had with the condition polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Now Mr and Mrs Chalmers are celebrating life as grandparents as they spend time with Natalie’s son Koby, now three, and Leanne’s son Brogen, 19 months.
Mr Chalmers said that his first thought after he realised they had won was to make sure his daughters got on the property ladder and were mortgage-free.
“And, after that, it was the grandchildren,” he said.
“Natalie had gone through it for quite a number of years of trying to get pregnant and different things going on with her medical conditions.
“At one stage, she rang me in floods of tears saying ‘they want to take my womb out’ and she thought that was the absolute end.
“But luckily, she persevered, she saw some other doctors, and we didn’t need to go down that route. And then we looked at going down the IVF route.”
He added: “So we’ve sort-of had another double lottery win."
Natalie, 33, explained how she had been through years of operations and tests to try to help her conceive despite having PCOS, but was told it was almost impossible to get pregnant conventionally.
She said that when her mother and father told her about the lottery win making the IVF funding a lot more realistic, she felt “happy, excited, nervous”.
Natalie said: “I just can’t thank them enough for it. They have given me him (Koby), really. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”
Leanne, 36, said: “So, when I first found out (about her PCOS) my doctor actually said: ‘You’ll never have kids’, but it turns out that they were wrong.
“It’s not impossible. It’s just really hard.”
The sisters said it is important people with PCOS are given help and support to get pregnant.
“It’s getting a bit better now,” Leanne said, “When I was diagnosed with it, there wasn’t a lot out there.
“I tried researching it and there wasn’t really much to read about it. A lot of it was quite negative.
“And it was pretty much: ‘You’ve got to get used to the fact that you’ll never have kids.'”
She added: “I found out quite young, I think I was 21 or 22, so it was quite devastating at the time, thinking that I’d never be able to have a family or children or anything.”