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Folkestone: Louise Fowler's IVF success after being told she was infertile and her husband's cancer diagnosis

By Sean Axtell

A woman who was told she was sterile but underwent successful IVF treatment despite her husband having been diagnosed with cancer has told prospective parents “miracles can happen".

Louise and David Fowler, 35 and 38 respectively, had their hopes of raising a family crushed in 2013 when David was told he was suffering from the disease.

Earlier that year, on returning from holiday in Turkey, the pair discovered a lump on David’s neck but assumed it was caused by a minor swimming injury.

Louise, William and Thomas Fowler
Louise, William and Thomas Fowler

Tests revealed David, an office administrator, had contracted Hodgkin lymphoma, an uncommon cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, a network of vessels and glands spread throughout the body.

Louise, a learning support assistant at Ashford’s Wyvern School, explained: “It was a scary time.

“To see someone you love go through that is painful, and it was particularly upsetting because we had recently decided to try for a family.”

Putting their plans for a family on hold, David underwent a six-month course of chemotherapy.

It works by killing cells in the body that are dividing quickly, and since sperm cells rapidly multiply, they are easily targeted by chemo.

The cancer was caught early and in 2014 doctors gave David the all-clear, furthermore, he was still fertile.

But in a cruel twist further tests revealed Louise was sterile.

“It was unbelievable because we had already been through so much.

David and Thomas Fowler
David and Thomas Fowler

“The toughest thing is when your friends around you are all having children and people are constantly talking about their children.

“It just feels like a stab in the heart,” the ex-Towers School pupil said.

Doctors discovered Louise suffered a hormonal inbalance causing irregular ovulation cycles, the pair went on to seek help of a Canterbury fertility clinic.

And so months of her life would be spent on Clomid, a medication used to stimulate ovulation, but it proved unsuccessful.

She continued: “I was on it for about six months but nothing changed, nothing happened, it felt hopeless.”

The couple, who live in Shaftesbury Avenue, Folkestone, decided then to try In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) at Care Fertility in Tunbridge Wells.

Louise went on: “It was our last hope really, by this point we’d been trying for a child for four or five years.

Louise and Thomas Fowler
Louise and Thomas Fowler
David, William, Thomas, and Louise Fowler
David, William, Thomas, and Louise Fowler

“Then, on the third cycle I fell pregnant, it was an unbelievable feeling.”

Louise and David, who have been together for 10 years would go on to have two boys, William and Thomas, who are now six months old.

“They have such different personalities - they are like chalk and cheese.

“To anyone else in a similar situation to ours, I would say just don’t give up, miracles can happen.

“You never know what is around that corner,” said Louise.

Mark Wilcox, Care Fertility director added: “We are absolutely delighted for David and Louise.

“Their journey to have William and Thomas hasn’t been easy – so we were thrilled to be able to help them.

“All our team send our very best wishes to the family.”

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