When Suzanne Gaskell was told she was too fat for IVF treatment she was devastated.
She and her husband Chris had been trying for six years to have a baby but when Mrs Gaskell was referred to a fertility expert she was told she would have to lose weight in order to have treatment.
She was so determined to be a mum that she managed to lose a staggering seven stone and drop five dress sizes.
And now, after a ten-year battle, she has finally given birth to her daughter, Lily-Ann.
Mrs Gaskell, 30, who owns her own hairdressing salon, said: ‘I was absolutely devastated when I was told that I was too heavy to get pregnant.
‘Chris and I had been trying so long for a baby, that we thought we would never be parents.
‘So I decided that I was going to lose the weight - I wasn’t going to let it stop me being a mum. When I finally held Lily-Ann in my arms, I knew that it had been worth all the hard work.’
The couple married in June 2002, when Mrs Gaskell was 21, and they had started trying for a baby in the months before the wedding.
Mrs Gaskell, who lives with husband Christopher, 36, a technical artist for a games company, in Warrington, Cheshire, said: ‘We knew that we both wanted to have children whilst we were still young, and be young parents, so we started trying before we got married.
‘We thought it would happen straight away, but when it didn’t, we weren’t worried as we thought it would happen soon.’
But after they had been trying for three years without success, Mrs Gaskell went to see her GP, who referred her to see a fertility consultant.
He told her that she wasn’t going to get pregnant whilst she was overweight at 17 stone, and that he could only help her if she lost weight.
She said: ‘I was just devastated. My weight had never been an issue for me before. Chris loved me whatever size I was, and I’d never imagined that being overweight would have stopped me getting pregnant.
‘I was so devastated abut what the consultant had said, that it put me off going to see anyone else. So we just carried on trying naturally.’
But after another three years, Mrs Gaskell still hadn’t fallen pregnant and she decided to go and see a different fertility expert.
She said: ‘My mum encouraged me to go to see someone different so I went back to my GP and he referred me to a consultant at Hope Hospital.’
The consultant said that her weight could be making it difficult to conceive and suggested if she lost weight then he could carry out investigations.
She said: ‘I had been trying for a baby now for six years and I still hadn’t fallen pregnant. Deep down I knew that my weight was getting in the way of being a mum.
‘So i said to the consultant that I would lose weight and I would come back in three months having lost some.
‘I went home determined that I was going to succeed. More than anything I wanted to be a mum and if it meant that I had to lose some weight, then that was the answer.’
Mrs Gaskell ditched the takeaways, crisps and biscuits and instead ate cereal for breakfast, salad for lunch and fish and vegetables for dinner.
She said: ‘I changed what I was eating and I went to the gym three times a week too. I’d never even stepped foot in a gym before but I was determined.’
The weight started to fall off Mrs Gaskell and three months later she had lost two stone. It took her two years to reach 10 and a half stone. She went back to the consultant and he performed an examination of her fallopian tubes in December 2009, which was clear.
She said: ‘I was so thrilled when I lost all the weight. It made me feel so much more fit and healthy, and it finally meant that I could have fertility treatment and be a mum at last.’
Mrs Gaskell was given a fertility drug Clomid and she still failed to fall pregnant so in June 2010 they underwent a course of fertility treatment with Care Fertility at Wigan and Leigh Infirmary.
The treatment was a success and Mrs Gaskell gave birth to the couple’s daughter in May, who weighed a healthy 7Ib.
Mrs Gaskell said: ‘It had been such a difficult ten years for us. Every time I saw family and friends having babies it would be so upsetting.
‘It’s been such a long battle - it took ten years and me having to lose seven stone - but now we finally have the daughter we have dreamed of for so long. We feel like the luckiest parents in the world.’
A spokeswoman for Care Fertility said: ‘It has been such a long battle for Suzanne and Christopher, and we were delighted that we could help them have the family they have waited for so long for.’