A SINGLE woman in her 50s who “always wanted to become a mum” has given birth.

Kelly Clarke, from Crawley, says she always wanted to have a family but had never met the right person, so decided to go through the process alone.

Despite resistance from her family, Kelly flew to Athens for an IVF consultation on the approach to her 50th birthday in March last year.

Four months later, she flew back to Greece for the fertilised embryo to be implanted and a test 12 days later revealed that she was pregnant.

At the age of 51, Kelly gave birth to a baby girl via caesarean on March 31 this year.

The Argus: Kelly Clarke, from Crawley, with her baby at Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath Kelly Clarke, from Crawley, with her baby at Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath

Lyla Rae Clarke, who is now seven months old, was born at Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath.

She weighed 7lbs 8oz.

After help from her mother Barbara, 74, Kelly said she is “constantly overwhelmed with the joy of finally being a mum”.

“I managed to become a mother against all odds,” she said.

“Anyone who knows me will tell you how much I’ve always wanted to be a mum. I still can’t quite believe it.

“She’s the perfect baby – I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

The Argus: Kelly Clarke, 51, from Crawley Kelly Clarke, 51, from Crawley

The former North Terminal manager for Gatwick Airport said due to the nature of her career, she never had much time or luck in her relationships.

“I’d been met with a huge amount of resistance from family for deciding to become a single mum at 50, because they were worried about me and the implications of using a donor,” she said.

"They were so against me doing it, which was very hard - I felt like I was being disowned.

“I adored being an auntie to my nieces and my friends' children, but now I wasn’t just going to be an aunt, I was going to be a mum.”

In total, Kelly spent £4,000, which included treatment, fertility drugs, flights and accommodation - considerably cheaper than treatment in the UK, which Kelly was told could cost up to £15,000.

The Argus: Kelly Clarke, from Crawley, pregnant at the age of 51Kelly Clarke, from Crawley, pregnant at the age of 51

At the Greek IVF treatment centre, Kelly signed an agreement confirming she would tell her daughter the truth about her conception – something she says is important for Lyla to know.

“I won’t lie and say it’s easy being a single parent, I knew it wasn’t going to be. But Lyla is an absolute angel and has been a dream, I’m incredibly lucky,” she said.

“I’ll be completely honest with Lyla from the moment she can talk. They suggest explaining the donors as angel donors or angel father - to give some sort of presence to how she came into the world.

“One thing’s for sure, Lyla is going to know she is loved and how much I wanted her – she'll know the lengths I went to bring her into my world.”