Choosing the perfect wedding gift for the happy couple can be a very difficult decision, especially if the bride demands that wedding guests spend at least £ 285 on materialistic gifts for the big day.
However, a couple have asked their guests to help fund a very special gift – £ 6,000 for IVF.
Marc and Nikki Tibballs, from Slough, Berkshire, were devastated to discover they would be unable to conceive naturally and were heartbroken when their only free chance on the NHS failed.
They were overwhelmed by the generosity of loved ones and instead of the traditional wedding gifts they were given thousands of pounds to help them try for a baby.
Nikki, 40, explains: “We already had our house, our kitchenware and our furniture, the only thing that was missing in our lives were the children.
“We really weren’t sure whether to ask people to help us, we weren’t sure if it was cheeky or rude, but as the wedding approached, people kept asking us what we wanted as wedding gifts. , but there was only one thing we looked for.
“We made sure everyone knew they didn’t have to at all, but if they didn’t know what to bring as a gift, it was the most precious gift they could help with. “
The couple were trying to have a baby when Nikki found out that her fallopian tubes were blocked which meant she would have a hard time getting pregnant naturally and if she conceived it would be an ectopic pregnancy. Nikki was shocked to find out that she was having fertility issues.
“I never thought for a moment that we would have any problems at all,” she said.
“I remember cracking up when the news was so overwhelming.”
Nikki then had to decide to have her tubes removed. The couple had an NHS-funded attempt, but unfortunately it was unsuccessful.
“It was a very stressful and overwhelming time, but we knew IVF was the safest way for a baby to try.
“After our NHS tour failed, we decided we needed a break from it all.”
Nikki and her husband Marc, who works as a problem manager for a communications company, wanted to try again but knew IVF would cost them between £ 3,000 and £ 5,000 per cycle.
When the guests started asking them what they would like for a wedding gift, they decided to ask for help.
“We were already living together, we didn’t need a dinner service or a toaster. The only thing missing was the kids,” she explained.
The couple got married in August 2013 and they were amazed at the financial help they received.
“The wedding speeches were so emotional. Everyone there that day knew how important it was to us and they helped make it possible. We were nervous to ask, but people were excited to idea and were happy to help.
“They knew it meant everything to us and it made their gift even more special.
The couple felt emotionally ready to try again after their honeymoon. They paid for their first IVF cycle but were heartbroken when the cycle had to be dropped because Nikki was not responding to the drug to produce eggs.
Thanks to their guests, they were able to try a third time – but knew it was their last chance because they were out of money.
Nikki said: “I couldn’t believe it. I came home from work one day to take a test, I couldn’t wait.”
“Everyone was so happy for us, it only made it all the more special to know that our loved ones played such an important role in making it happen.”
The couple welcomed non-identical twins, Freddy and Olly, born at 37 weeks in November 2014. Nikki and Marc are identical twins themselves.
Nikki said: “People assume we have had twins because Marc and I are identical twins, but identical twins are not hereditary.
“Having twins has been an incredible blessing for us.
The couple, who have been together since 2010 and had been friends for several years before, also had a frozen embryo, but after some thought, decided to donate their remaining research egg.
Freddy and Olly are now six years old and “thriving” in school.
Nikki urges people to do plenty of research and consider IVF.
She said: “The staff at The Fertility Partnership were absolutely amazing. There is a huge emotional side to going through IVF treatment and so many options available, I have tried fertility acupuncture and have used it. Embryogglue section.
“I also had an embryoscope, accelerated incubation and got to watch a video of the boys as embryos, which was fascinating.
“You have to inject yourself every day and the hormonal side of things takes its toll.
“For anyone who is going through this, I would say trust the clinic and use their resources.
“Make sure you have good support around you and talk to other people who may be going through the same thing if you can, because you will find it is a lot more common than you think.”
Nikki added: “We are eternally grateful to our friends, family and the clinic, we cannot thank everyone enough.”
The Fertility Partnership is one of the largest IVF providers and fertility specialists in the UK. You can find out more here.