Childless Couple Make Unusual Request Instead Of Traditional Wedding Gifts
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Choosing the perfect wedding gift for the happy couple can be a very difficult decision, especially if the bride demands wedding guests spend at least £285 on materialistic gifts for the big day.
However, one couple asked their wedding guests to help them 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 left heartbroken when their one free chance on the NHS failed.
They were overwhelmed by the generosity of loved ones and instead of traditional wedding gifts they received thousands of pounds to help them try for a baby.
Nikki, 40, explains: "We already had our home, our kitchenware and furniture, the only thing missing from our lives was children.
"We were really unsure whether to ask people to help, we didn't know if it was cheeky or rude, but in the run up to the wedding people asked constantly us what we wanted as wedding gifts, but there was only one thing we wanted.
"We made sure everyone knew they were under no obligation at all to but if they were unsure what to bring as a gift, this was the most precious gift they could help with."
The couple were trying for a baby when Nikki discovered her fallopian tubes were blocked, which meant she would struggle to fall pregnant naturally and if she did conceive, it would be an ectopic pregnancy. Nikki was shocked at discovering she had fertility problems.
"I never thought for a moment we would have any issues at all," she said.
"I remember breaking down as the news was so overwhelming."
Nikki then had to decide to have her tubes removed. The couple had one funded attempt on the NHS but sadly it failed.
"It was a very stressful and upsetting time, but we knew IVF was the safest way to try for a baby.
"After our failed round on the NHS, we decided we needed a break from it all."
Nikki and her husband Marc, who works as a problems manager for a communications company, wanted to try again but knew that IVF would cost them £3,000 - £5,000 per cycle.
When guests started to ask them what they would like as a wedding gift, they decided to ask for help.
"We already lived together, we didn't need a dinner set or a toaster. The only thing missing was children," she explained.
The couple married in August 2013 and they were amazed by the financial help they received.
"The wedding speeches were so emotional. Everybody there on the day knew how important it was to us and they were part of making it possible. We were nervous to ask but people were thrilled by the idea and were happy to help.
"They knew it meant everything to us and that made their gift even more special.
The couple felt emotionally ready to try again after their honeymoon. They paid for their first round of IVF but were left heartbroken when the cycle had to be abandoned due to Nikki not responding to the medication to produce any eggs.
Thanks to their wedding guests they were able to try for a third time - but knew it was their last chance because they didn't have any money left.
The IVF cycle at The Fertility Partnership's (TFP) Oxford Fertility clinic was successful and just two weeks later Nikki and Marc found out they were expecting.
Nikki said: "I couldn't believe it. I went home from work one day to do a test, I couldn't wait."
"Everyone was so happy for us, it just made it all the more special knowing our loved ones had played such an important part in making it happen."
The couple welcomed non-identical twin sons, Freddy and Olly, who were born at 37 weeks in November 2014. Nikki and Marc are themselves identical twins
Nikki said: "People assume we had twins because both Marc and I are identical twins, but identical twins are not hereditary.
"Having twin boys was such an incredible blessing for us.
The couple, who have been together since 2010 and were friends for several years before that, also had one frozen embryo left but after consideration decided to donate their remaining egg to research.
Freddy and Olly are now six years old and are "thriving" at school.
Nikki urges people to do lots of research and to consider IVF.
She said: "The staff at The Fertility Partnership were absolutely amazing. There is a huge emotional side to undergoing IVF treatment and so many options available, I tried fertility acupuncture and used Embryoglue section.
"I also had an embryoscope, time lapse incubation and was able 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 it toll.
"For anyone going through this, I would say put your trust in the clinic and use their resources.
"Ensure you have good support around you and talk if you can to others perhaps experiencing the same as you will discover it's a lot more common than you realise."
Nikki added: "We are forever grateful to our friends, family and the clinic, we can't thank everyone enough."
The Fertility Partnership is one of the UK's largest IVF providers and fertility specialists. You can find out more here.