A lawyer who struggled to have a baby for seven years has now given birth to a healthy little girl after being fitted with a 'bionic' cervix.
Janett Walker, 41, suffered four miscarriages and lost a premature baby because her cervix was too weak to support an unborn baby.
Doctors 'clamped' the neck of her uterus using a synthetic material called mersilene, to stop a foetus from falling through.
The operation allowed the lawyer to carry her baby Ainka, meaning 'cherished one' to 37 weeks before she gave birth by Caesarean section in June.
Janett, who gave birth at Liverpool Women's Hospital, said: 'I just can't believe it. I wake up in the morning sometimes and think my beautiful baby was a dream, but there she is asleep in her cot.
'If I hadn't been fitted with the bionic cervix, I would never have been able to to have a child.
'The operation didn't signify the end of the road for me, I still suffered two miscarriages afterwards, but then it enabled me to have Ainka. She's wonderful.'
Janett, who lives with her husband Graham, 42, in Windermere, Cumbria, now wants other women to know that this operation is available.
She said: 'Although the procedure is common in the US, many doctors in the UK aren't aware of it.
'The operation involves cutting the abdomen and lifting up the bladder to reach the cervix.
'The top of the cervix is tied with synthetic material, called mersilene, to stop the foetus from falling through.
'A tiny gap remains, so that the cervix can perform it's other functions too normally.'
Janett met her husband in 1993 in Hong Kong where she had a job as a youth worker while Graham served in the army.
They came back to the UK, married in 1997 and started trying for a family six years later.
Janett was initially unable to conceive and had three rounds of IVF treatment. These were unsuccessful and she was diagnosed with Asherman's Syndrome, a disorder of the womb.
Janett discovered she had a rare condition which meant that her womb was mysteriously scarred. But after an operation to smooth out the scar tissue she was told she should be able to conceive naturally.
In 2006 she became pregnant with a boy she named Jeremiah, but she lost him at 16 weeks. She conceived again in January 2007, but this pregnancy ended at 18 weeks after her cervix collapsed from the weight of the child.
She said: 'It was such a traumatic miscarriage, the kind that keeps going through your mind for months afterwards.'
The couple were taken to Lancaster Hospital where doctors finally realised Janett had a problem with her cervix.
They were referred to Liverpool Women's Hospital where doctors told them about a procedure that could help.
If she were to concieve again at 13 weeks pregnant Janet could have a stitch placed in the lower part of her cervix, enabling it to support the womb.
In late 2007 she became pregnant and at 13 weeks had the stitch, or transvaginal cerclage, she hoped would enable her to carry a baby full term.
But at 16 weeks her cervix began to collapse again and she was confined to bed, with her feet up, in the hope that gravity might keep her baby inside.
At 23 weeks the baby, called Imogen Grace, could hang on no longer. She lived on a life support machine for 20 days before the decision was made to turn it off.
It was at this point that Doctor Roy Farquharson at Liverpool Women's Hospital, suggested fitting Janett with a 'bionic' cervix.
She underwent the operation successfully in September 2008 but suffered a further two miscarriages, unrelated to her weak cervix, before she finally gave birth to Ainka via caesarean.
She added: 'It takes doctors a matter of minutes to check if women have a weak cervix which may not be capable of supporting a child for nine months.
'All women should be screened before they try for a baby. And they should be made aware of the operation that could save them unnecessary miscarriages.'
Article: 4th August 2010 www.dailmail.co.uk
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