Welcome, Baby Willow Grace!

A couple has named their miracle baby after a doctor at Guy’s and St Thomas’ who supported them during their IVF treatment. Baby Willow Grace was born on 21 July 2021, after mum Emma was previously treated for cervical cancer.

After suffering symptoms for a few weeks, Emma was diagnosed in June 2013 with cervical cancer. The former special education needs teacher underwent fertility-sparing surgery by Mr Butler-Manuel at Nuffield Health Guildford Hospital to remove her cervix, surrounding tissue and lymph nodes.

An alternative procedure would have been a hysterectomy, however Emma was only 31 years old and hoped to have children in the future. Seven years later, without being able to conceive naturally, the 39-year-old and husband Rob were referred to the Assisted Conception Unit (ACU) at Guy’s Hospital to start IVF treatment under the care of clinical director and consultant gynaecologist Dr Jan Grace. Due to her cancer treatment and existing blood disorder, Emma required specialist care and support.

Supported throughout by Dr Grace, the couple were successful with their first round of IVF. At their 20-week scan, they found out Emma was pregnant with a baby girl, and decided to name the baby after Dr Grace and Mr Butler-Manuel’s charity, which is also called GRACE.

West Sussex-based Emma said: “Dr Grace gave us her time to ask questions and was very knowledgeable, caring and empathetic. She had an immediate

understanding of my medical history to date which was so reassuring and gave us confidence.

“Once Mr Butler-Manuel referred us to Dr Grace, we felt it was a sign. The name Grace has such a special meaning to us, we settled on the name very quickly. We’re aware that IVF isn’t always successful first time, however, this is our journey and proof that it can actually happen. Never give up hope and stay positive, miracles do happen.

“The whole team at Guy’s Hospital were so welcoming, calm and professional yet so friendly, understanding, supportive and empathetic. While the ACU treats many patients a week, never at any point have we felt like just another number. We have always been given time and never felt rushed. It is clear to us that the team is all extremely passionate about their job and supporting people. This makes such a difference to the care and attention that patients receive and we have been blown away by this positive experience.”

Dr Jan Grace, clinical director of women’s services at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “We are delighted with the birth of baby Willow Grace, who arrived on my birthday! It was such a pleasure for our multidisciplinary team to look after Emma and Rob and support them during their time with us at the ACU.”