AS their “miracle” baby approaches her first birthday, a Chelmsford couple are reflecting on their IVF experience.

Rachel and Tom Hinsbey began trying forababy as soon as they got married in 2010, but after 18 months Rachel was still not pregnant, so the pair decided to get checked out.

They had to have blood tests and Tom had to provide a sample forasemen analysis, which revealed he had a sperm count of zero.

Further tests at Broomfield Hospital and at Univeristy College Hospital, in London, revealed Tom did not have a vas deferens,aduct which carries sperm–and that he was also a carrier of cystic fibrosis.

The couple were then referred for NHS-funded IVF treatment, which they chose to have at the Bourn Hall Clinic, in Colchester.

Rachel, 30, said: “Knowing the cause of our infertility wasabig relief.

“It was good to know what was stopping us from conceiving, that there was something that could be done for us and we could put a plan of action in place.”

At the clinic, Tom underwent treatment, and, once this had been completed successfully, Rachel had blood tests, ultrasounds and began to inject herself with fertility drugs.

She returned in May 2013 for her eggs to be collected, which were then fertilised using Tom’s sperm, and one embryo was transferred into Rachel’s womb.

The couple then faced an anxious two-week wait before they could takeapregnancy test.

“I couldn’t bear to wait the two weeks before taking the test, so I did it a bit earlier,” admitted Rachel.

“We went through treatment thinking the first cycle would just be a trial go and to treat it like a learning experience.

“I had convinced myself it wouldn’t work, so when I looked at the test and saw it was positive I couldn’t believe it, it was suchasurprise!”

Their little girl, Amalie, was born on March 27, 2014, and the family have heaped praise on the clinic and the NHS.

Tom, 31, said: “The staff were always honest about our chances of success.

"I’m just so pleased we beat the odds.”

Rachel added: “Being a mum is amazing!

“We’re both so grateful to have been able to have our treatment on the NHS. It meant everything to us. Without it, we never would have had Amalie.

“We are so thankful to them and to Bourn Hall for their help in giving us the family we’d always wanted.”