Their daughter had dreamed of being a mother for most of her adult life, so you might expect Ray and Barbara Clarke to have been in celebratory mood when she finally announced she was pregnant last July.
However, rather than wrapping Kelly in their arms and talking excitedly about the soon-tobe new addition to the family, they shook their heads and asked wearily if she had any idea what she was getting herself into.
For Kelly was three months off her 50th birthday and single. The baby was the product of a donor embryo, created in a lab in Athens, Greece, with a stranger’s egg and stranger’s sperm.
And Ray, 74, and Barbara, 72, had made no secret of the fact they hoped their daughter’s attempt at IVF would fail.
‘I remember lying in bed, unable to sleep for worrying [after Kelly had the embryo implanted] and thinking: “Please God, let it not work,” ’ recalls Ray, a retired coachmaker.