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Woman Finally Becomes A Mom After Her Late Father Leaves Her Money For One Last Shot At IVF

Cli, Andy and Jesse (PA Real Life/Collect)

A devoted daughter has paid tribute to her beloved dad, whose generous legacy completed the circle of life for her family when he left her £15,000 (~$19,300) for a fourth attempt at IVF that brought her a precious baby boy.


Personal trainer Cli McBratney, 32, of Belfast, Northern Ireland, told how she felt a strong maternal instinct for the first time when she fell in love with her civil servant husband Andy, 35.

But when, a year after their August 2014 marriage, their attempts to fall pregnant had not worked, they were advised by fertility experts to try IVF – only for three attempts to fail.

After spending £26,000 (~$33,440) on two private attempts, as well as having one NHS round of IVF, when her dad, Jim Burt, passed away from mouth and throat cancer, aged 52, in April 2017, devastated by his death, she had already given up hope of becoming a mom.

Vowing before his passing to do whatever he could to help her to start a family, true to his word, he left Cli the £15,000 she and Andy needed for one more try – only for the couple to finally be granted the miracle baby they longed for.

Positive that Jim had worked his magic from beyond the grave, Cli said: “I definitely think my dad played some role in the IVF working, wherever he is."

Cli as a baby with her dad (PA Real Life/Collect)

“I'm not religious at all, but the way it's all fallen into place really has blown my mind," she continued.

“Before my dad passed away he said he would do whatever he could to give us a child and he stayed true to his word."

After tying the knot on August 17, 2014, at a hotel and spa in Galway in the Republic of Ireland, Cli and Andy were eager to start a family.

Cli's positive pregnancy test (PA Real Life/Collect)

But when, after nearly of a year of trying, they were still not pregnant, in July 2015 they booked an appointment at Belfast Fertility.

Following tests, including an ultrasound, doctors discovered Cli only had one functioning ovary, while Andy was found to have a low sperm count.

“I guessed from my erratic periods that something might be amiss so I wasn't too shocked or surprised," Cheryl said.

She added: “We decided to jump straight in with two feet and moved forward with private IVF treatment, costing £13,000 (~$16,720), which we paid for using savings so that we could miss the NHS waiting lists."

Given daily hormone injections to encourage her body to produce viable eggs, after 10 days Cli had her eggs extracted. They were then fertilized in the fertility lab using Andy's sperm, before being implanted back into her womb, after which they waited for a nail-biting two weeks before taking a pregnancy test.

“Oh my goodness, those first two weeks were horrendous," she recalled. “Technically speaking I was pregnant, I had a fertilized egg inside me, it was just waiting to see if it would take."

Cli had three failed IVF attempts before welcoming Jesse (PA Real Life/Collect)

“I'd never wanted children until I met Andy, then when they told me I couldn't I thought, 'I'll show you!'" she added.

Sadly, however, the IVF failed, giving the couple a harsh “reality check" – indicating just how difficult falling pregnant was going to be.

Cli explained: “You think IVF is simple and that the doctors are doing all the hard work for you and it's going to work."

Andy, Jesse and Cli (PA Real Life/Collect)

She continued: “Of course, that couldn't be further from the truth and we learnt that the hard way."

Still determined to stay hopeful, the couple decided to go for NHS-funded IVF treatment and try again.

So, after nine months on the waiting list, in June 2016, Cli had another of her eggs fertilized by Andy's sperm at Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.

“It was the exact same process as the previous time, but I was less hopeful," she explained.

“I'd only been able to produce one viable egg this time and I couldn't help feeling from the get go that the odds were stacked against us.

“When we found out the pregnancy hadn't taken it was still sad, though. I guess a part of you hopes your body will work in weird and wonderful ways and it will all work out."

Andy, Jesse and Cli (PA Real Life/Collect)

Then, three months later, in September 2016, Cli was dealt another devastating blow, when her father broke the news he was dying of mouth and throat cancer.

She continued: “I remember thinking that if I could get pregnant, a grandchild would give my dad so much more to fight for.

“That's when I knew we had to try IVF again."

Baby Jesse (PA Real Life/Collect)

Digging into their savings once more for the £13,000 they needed, Cli and Andy visited the fertility clinic, Sims IVF, in Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland, after hearing of friends who had twins after going there.

Following an initial consultation in November 2016, Cli had hoped to be pregnant in time for Christmas, but the procedure was pushed back to February 2017 to give her body “time to recover."

“All my plans to tell people I was pregnant on Christmas Day went out of the window," she explained.

But in February 2017, Cli was going through the now all too familiar IVF process once again.

“We still had a good feeling, despite the past two disappointments," she said.

“We thought it would be grand – the whole process seemed more hopeful somehow."

Baby Jesse (PA Real Life/Collect)

When their high hopes were dashed for the third time in two years in March 2017, the couple finally decided to throw in the towel.

“It was hard," Cli said. “Every time we'd see a child on the street we'd cry. We ended up drowning our sorrows a fair few times."

Just two months after their third failed IVF attempt, Cli was left heartbroken again when her father passed away from cancer on April 23, 2017.

Baby Jesse (PA Real Life/Collect)

“I told him about the failed IVF and he was really upset," she said. “He was so determined he would do whatever it took for us to have our baby."

And, true to his word, Jim left his daughter £15,000 specifically for one last shot at IVF.

So, in November 2017, following a much needed break in Bali for two weeks, Cli and Andy returned to Sims IVF to start the treatment Jim had bequeathed them.

“We'd spent years focusing on having a baby, so we decided to focus on having two weeks of fun instead, before getting things started," she said.

“The clinic suggested using a sperm donor as a back-up plan this time.

“They also suggested Andy go on a course of Proceive fertility supplements to boost his sperm count."

Baby Jesse (PA Real Life/Collect)

Three months later, in February 2018, doctors fertilized five of Cli's eggs – three from donor sperm and two from Andy's sperm.

And, following further tests, they found the embryo fertilized with Andy's sperm was the most viable, so this was the one they used to proceed.

This time, during the dreaded two week wait for news, Cli was certain the pregnancy would take, saying: “I just knew that Dad would not allow me not to fall pregnant.

Baby Jesse (PA Real Life/Collect)

She added: “I was so confident this time around that I bought two balloons for my mum and Andy's mum that Mother's Day – which said, 'You're going to be a grandmother,' on it."

And, lo and behold, on Mother's Day March 11 last year, Cli and Andy found out they were expecting.

“I got up in the morning at 5am and I did the test and it said it was inconclusive and I told Andy and he wouldn't believe it," she said.

“I told him it hadn't worked but he wouldn't believe it and 10 minutes later I did another test and it showed the same thing," she continued.

“But then Andy had another look and the line had developed, as soon as he told me we burst into tears, jumping up and down on the bed.

“It was so early in the morning we couldn't even tell our nearest and dearest but that one moment – seeing it positive – blew our minds."

Baby Jesse (PA Real Life/Collect)

She added: “It was absolutely amazing and we were so happy,"

Following a “scary few weeks," with some minor bleeding, Cli looked on course to have a healthy pregnancy,.

And on October 10, 2018, Jesse was born by emergency C-section, after Cli's water broke five and a half weeks early, at Ulster Hospital, in County Down, Northern Ireland.

Andy and Jesse (PA Real Life/Collect)

“We were a bit worried as he was a few weeks premature, but he was born fit and healthy," she said.

“It's been brilliant ever since and there have been no issues whatsoever.

“I know I've got to say this but he really is fantastic. He's the most gorgeous boy."

Returning to work last week after marking Jesse's first birthday, Cli says she is perfectly content be the mom of just one cheeky little chap.

Discussing further IVF treatment down the line, she said: “I couldn't put myself through all that again.

“If I fell pregnant naturally that would be brilliant, but I know that is virtually impossible."

Andy, Cli and Jesse (PA Real Life/Collect)

She concluded: “We've been through so much to get where we are now but I wouldn't change a thing.

“It's all thanks to my wonderful dad's generosity that I'm a mum and every time I look at Jesse, I know how proud he'd be.

“Every moment of effort has been more than worth it!"