Woman in desperate race to lose four stone so she can get pregnant after doctors give her husband five months to live
Mrs Hughes has lost 21lbs since starting a diet
A woman is facing a race against time to lose four stone – in order to become pregnant before her husband dies.
Ayla Hughes, 24 is desperate to have a child with her husband Ben, 28, who suffers from chronic organ failure.
Doctors have told former shop worker Mr Hughes he only has five months to live.
Final wish: Terminally ill Ben Hughes, hopes his wife Ayla will have started IVF treatment before he dies
However, the couple have a million-to-one chance of conceiving naturally, as Ayla has polycystic ovaries and Ben’s sperm count has been reduced by years of daily medication and operations.
Childcare assistant Ayla, from Shrewsbury, has lost a stone-and-a-half so far through joining a slimming club and exercising.
She said: “The news was devastating, but we’re concentrating on fulfilling the dreams we have together.
“I’ve already lost more than a stone through Slimming World, but I still have three and a half stone to go.
“I want to get the weight lost by March next year, which will hopefully give Ben time to realise that the procedures have worked and he’s on his way to becoming a dad.”
Ben has been through a series of operations throughout his life to correct Aortic Stenosis, a condition which has left his heart unable to pump blood properly.
He married Ayla in February 2007 – and underwent a double transplant to replace his faulty heart and lungs a month later.
But last month he was given the tragic news that his body is now rejecting the organs – giving him just six months to live.
Ben and Ayla Hughes on their wedding day in February 2007: He underwent a double transplant a month later but his body is now rejecting the new heart and lungs
He said: “We have been thinking about having a baby for around three years, but with everything else going on, we just haven’t been able to concentrate on it properly.
“Now there is more need to get the IVF underway as soon as possible.
Although I may not be around to hold my child, as long as I know the IVF has started and Ayla is alright, it will mean the world to me.”
Couples need to meet strict criteria to be considered for IVF and at 19-and-a-half stone Ayla was judged to be too overweight.
The national IVF success rate is around 30 per cent – meaning Ayla and Ben face a daunting challenge even if she does manage to slim to 14-and-half stone.
She has already lost a stone and a half, taking her weight to 18 stone, but must lose at least three and a half more to qualify for the treatment.
“These past five years have been the best. Ben is the most wonderful person I have ever met and he’s changed my life,” Ayla said.
“If it wasn’t for the transplant, we would not have had this time together. Now I have the most powerful incentive imaginable to lose weight.
“I’m not a gym person, but I’m doing little bits of exercise and concentrating very carefully on what I eat.”
Ben has also joined in Ayla’s diet to help give her encouragement.
He said: “I’m doing all the things a normal supportive husband would do. I’m eating what she’s eating, which makes it easier for her.
“Whenever I catch her reaching for sweet treats, I give her a little smack on the hand.
“It’s been helpful to concentrate on achieving this together. It’s been nice to have something to occupy our minds.”
Ben drew up his bucket list earlier this year as his condition worsened. He also hopes to swim with sharks, visit the set of Coronation Street and meet hero David Bowie.
But he added: “Having a son or daughter would be a wonderful thing to leave to our families – it would be a part of me which would continue living after I’m gone.”
Ben and Ayla are hoping that their plight will help inspire others to sign up for the organ donor register.
For more information, visit https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk