WITH the number of UK same-sex couples undergoing fertility treatment on the rise, one set of new Oxfordshire parents have shared their journey from despair to joy following the birth of their first son.

Jessica and Natalie Classby-Monk from Benson welcomed baby Eli into the world in June 2017 following their seventh cycle of IVF treatment.

The road to becoming parents wasn’t easy with Jessica, 31, having undergone a number of failed treatment cycles, a heart-breaking still birth and a miscarriage.

However, to mark Oxford Pride at the weekend, the pair are urging other same-sex couples to never give up on their dreams of becoming parents.

Jessica first fell pregnant on her second cycle of IVF treatment at the Oxford Fertility clinic following three failed cycles of IUI at another clinic.

The initial joy, however, eventually turned to heartache eight months into the pregnancy when their unborn baby named Leo died in the womb.

Jessica said: “We were devastated and still are. It doesn’t get easier.

“We will always love Leo, he made us realise just how much love we have to give and how much we wanted to be parents.”

The next cycle of IVF, however, resulted in a miscarriage after just six weeks.

Down to their last frozen embryo, the couple tried again. Jessica fell pregnant and, at 36 weeks, Eli was born.

She said: “Eli has given us so much joy.

“We love the simple things, like going for a family walk and days out, everything we’ve dreamt of doing for so long.

“It’s amazing to see him develop, change and learn.”

A recent report by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority revealed that the number of IVF treatments for patients with a female partner has increased by 30 per cent since 2014.

Medical director at Oxford Fertility Tim Child said: “We are delighted to be seeing more same-sex couples coming to Oxford Fertility to explore treatment options to help them build their family.

“We attended Oxford Pride this year to further raise awareness of assisted conception amongst the LGBT community.”