Single woman tells of her joy at becoming an IVF mother… at the age of 51 

‘I proved the doubters wrong’: Single woman tells of her joy at becoming an IVF mother at the age of 51 despite her parents’ concerns that she would struggle as older lone parent

  • Kelly Clarke, 51, from West Sussex became mother to Lyla  in March
  • Had IVF procedure in Greece via a sperm donor and fell pregnant 
  •  Recent figures show almost three women over 50 gave birth every week last year as the number delaying motherhood beyond middle age soars

When Kelly Clarke first told her family she wanted to become a single mother at the age of 50, she encountered some resistance.

Her parents were ‘desperate’ to stop her going ahead with IVF, concerned that she would struggle as an older lone parent.

But she decided to go ahead with the procedure. And now, at the age of 51, her dreams have come true after welcoming little Lyla into the world earlier this year.

Miss Clarke, from Crawley, West Sussex, was known among friends for being ‘great with kids’ and always wanted to be a mother but had been unlucky in love.

When Kelly Clarke first told her family she wanted to become a single mother at the age of 50, she encountered some resistance. Pictured: Miss Clarke and baby Lyla Rae

As she approached her 50th birthday, she knew ‘time was not on her side’ and decided to fly to Greece in March last year for an IVF consultation on the recommendation of a friend. 

Her next trip to the clinic in Athens was delayed by the pandemic, but when she returned a few months later in July, she was implanted with an embryo fertilised by a sperm donor.

She returned to Britain and, 12 days later, discovered she was pregnant. Her baby girl was born by caesarean section at the end of March.

Miss Clarke, a former manager at Gatwick Airport, said: ‘I managed to become a mother against all odds. I’ve always wanted to be a mum.

She returned to Britain and, 12 days later, discovered she was pregnant. Her baby girl was born by caesarean section at the end of March

She returned to Britain and, 12 days later, discovered she was pregnant. Her baby girl was born by caesarean section at the end of March

‘I still can’t quite believe it and am constantly overwhelmed with the joy of finally being a mum at 51. She’s the perfect baby – I couldn’t ask for anything more.’ Despite their initial reservations, her parents are now ‘incredibly supportive’.

‘They were against me doing it, which was hard – I felt like I was being disowned,’ Miss Clarke said. ‘But I can see now it’s because they love me so much.

‘They worried about how I would cope if it wasn’t successful, because they knew how much I wanted to be a mum. But it never even crossed my mind that it wouldn’t work – I just had a feeling.

In total, she spent about £4,000, which covered treatment, fertility drugs, flights and accommodation – considerably cheaper than in the UK, where she was told the process could cost up to £15,000

In total, she spent about £4,000, which covered treatment, fertility drugs, flights and accommodation – considerably cheaper than in the UK, where she was told the process could cost up to £15,000

‘Now that Lyla’s here they couldn’t be better grandparents. I don’t know what I’d do without them.’

In total, she spent about £4,000, which covered treatment, fertility drugs, flights and accommodation – considerably cheaper than in the UK, where she was told the process could cost up to £15,000.

‘Lyla is going to know she is loved and how much I wanted her – she’ll know the lengths I went to to bring her into my world,’ she added.

Recent figures show almost three women over 50 gave birth every week last year as the number delaying motherhood beyond middle age soars.

At least 139 women over 50, including 14 over-55s, gave birth in NHS hospitals last year – the highest number in the past five years.

Recent figures show almost three women over 50 gave birth every week last year as the number delaying motherhood beyond middle age soars

Recent figures show almost three women over 50 gave birth every week last year as the number delaying motherhood beyond middle age soars

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