A couple from Godmanchester have raised more than £600 for Hinchingbrooke Hospital’s fertility clinic after IVF treatment undertaken through the facility led to the birth of their son.

Jess and Joe Gilbert were one of the last couples in the area to receive NHS funding for IVF treatment and decided to take on the Glencoe Mountain Marathon, one of the toughest marathons in the country, to express their gratitude.

Joe said: “After suffering multiple miscarriages, we were referred to the fertility clinic and told we wouldn't be able to conceive naturally. We were fortunate enough to be granted NHS-funded IVF and despite only a one in three chance of success, the treatment was successful. We welcomed baby Leo Alexander into the world on July 22 at 12.15am.”

The couple were so grateful for the fertility clinic's help and support during their treatment, they decided to raise money to help future patients. They presented their cheque to consultant obstetrician, Dr Erika Manzo, at a presentation which took place last month.

Joe said: “We owe the NHS more than we can ever pay back and we owe the tax payer £5,000. Jess and I wanted to do something to give back to the hospital, so I decided to take on the Mountain Marathon, with Jess and Leo braving the bleak weather to cheer me on. We knew we wouldn't be able to raise the full £5,000, but we were so happy to be able to repay some of what we feel we owe.”

IVF treatment is where the egg is removed from the woman's ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory.

NHS Choices estimates that around one in seven couples in the UK have trouble conceiving - around 3.5 million people in Britain.

She said: “We are very grateful to Joe and Jess for their generosity. As a department we just want to help give our patients the best chance at becoming parents and for us that's the best gift we could ask for. Their kind donation will go towards improving the hospital environment and treatment for our patients.”