A very happy birthday to our very first baby here at the Agora, Caitlin Newbury, who turned 10 this weekend! And many thanks to her mum Lorna for the pictures and this wonderful quote:

“I feel thankful every day to you all for my little miracle! Much love, Lorna Newbury” x

Caitlin and her big brother James

You can read Lorna’s story below and in our recently published book ‘The Agora Book of Fairy Tale Endings’ which has since been showcased on BBC South East Today. The BBC programme also featured interviews with our medical director, Dr Carole Gilling-Smith, and with some of the mums whose stories were included in the book.

See the BBC South East video clip here:  https://www.facebook.com/AgoraFertility/posts/1264495677029978

To request your FREE copy of the book in the mail, please send your name and address to admin@agoraclinic.co.uk with the subject line Fairy Tale Endings book request.


Our eldest child, James, has cerebral palsy which was caused by a difficult birth involving an emergency caesarean. After he was born, life was very busy and although Richard (my ex-husband) and I knew we wanted a second child, we put it to the back of our minds as we attended an endless round of appointments with James.

A few years after James was born, we started trying for another baby but nothing happened and, almost before we knew it, James was approaching 10. At this point, we realised that we needed to get on and find out if there was a reason why I wasn’t conceiving, so our GP referred us to the local hospital. After various tests, they found that one of my fallopian tubes was narrow and scarred, which was a possible reason. The Agora wasn’t yet open and the only option at that time was to go to London for treatment; however, that would have been very difficult to fit around James’s many appointments. Fortunately, my consultant at the time mentioned that the Agora was going to open shortly and, if I could hang on a while, I might be able to have my treatment there. Although time wasn’t on my side – I was by now 39 – we decided to wait, and so it turned out that we were among the first to be treated there.

I was very excited about our first visit; everything was brand new and from the start we felt as if we were being welcomed into a family. The staff were so friendly and positive; I didn’t know much about IVF at that time but when we met Carole, Mel and the team they explained everything so clearly and made us feel so comfortable. The clinic itself was lovely, not at all like a hospital environment. They put us at ease and made us feel that we were in the best hands. We were confident that if anyone was going to be able to help us, it would be the Agora team. As well as their medical expertise, they were also lovely to James and they seemed to feel empathy for our situation. And so our journey began…

After some initial tests, Carole and the team explained what they felt would be the best treatment plan. They explained everything so clearly at every step of the way and reassured us that we could phone them at any time. We felt well supported, confident that they were there for us, and wanted us to be successful as much as we did. This made the treatment process easy when it could so easily have felt bewildering and overwhelming.

I started a course of IVF; it was easy living near the clinic and not having to travel to London. On days when James wasn’t well and was off school, we could bring him with us, which also took a lot of the pressure off. The medical procedures, such as egg collection, didn’t feel daunting and not for one moment did I feel nervous. Afterwards, they phoned to tell me they had harvested two eggs and they could put one back in (the other was frozen). I was surprised and a bit disappointed that there were only two eggs but I was told that they were good quality. Carole and the team were always very honest and realistic about the chances of success so I knew that nothing was guaranteed, especially taking into account my age. They didn’t always tell us what we wanted to hear, but it was better to know the reality; at the same time, everything was being done to make sure we had the best chance of success.

After the implantation, I had to wait what seemed like a very long two weeks before I could do the pregnancy test. At the back of my mind, after the years we’d been trying when nothing had happened, I didn’t want to pin my hopes on success but at the same time I felt there was a glimmer of hope. It would also be the first baby born as a result of treatment at the clinic, so we felt that everyone was waiting with us for the first Agora baby!

Two weeks later, I remember getting up early to do the pregnancy test alone, but I found I couldn’t bear to look at it. Instead, I handed it to Richard. When he said it was positive, I still couldn’t believe it. So I did another two tests – both showed I was pregnant. Then I phoned the clinic and spoke to Mel. And when I told her she couldn’t believe it either!
It seemed such a miracle after so long – we were all so excited. It was amazing.

After the initial euphoria of discovering I was pregnant, it began to dawn on me that it was still early days and that we had a long journey ahead of us. This was brought home to me when we had the first ultrasound scan: the team were concerned that the baby was smaller than normal. This made me feel a bit anxious, but we tried to stay positive. After that, every time I went for a scan it all seemed to be going well and Caitlin was growing without any problems.

Throughout my pregnancy, I stayed in touch with the Agora; because of James’s difficult birth, the consultant at the hospital (who also worked closely with the Agora team) arranged for me to have a caesarean and deliver our baby himself. So our daughter Caitlin – and the Agora’s first baby – arrived. A few days later, we proudly carried her into the clinic so that everyone could share in our joy – what a reception we received!

I look at her now and I know she’s my little miracle. We were so lucky to have her on our first attempt and it’s been amazing for James to have his little sister.


For further information or to arrange an initial consultation, please contact us on 01273 229410. Alternatively, join us at one of our open evenings.