New mums become first couple in civil partnership to register baby in Barking and Dagenham

Sam and Kelly Sweeney tied the knot in 2005

Sam and Kelly Sweeney tied the knot in 2005 - Credit: Archant

Having a healthy child is reason enough for most parents to celebrate.

Sam and Kelly Sweeney tied the knot in 2005

Sam and Kelly Sweeney tied the knot in 2005 - Credit: Archant

But for Sam and Kelly, who have just become the first Barking and Dagenham couple in a civil partnership to register a baby, the birth of their son Harley marked the end of a particularly long and tortuous road.

Sam and Kelly Sweeney tied the knot in 2005

Sam and Kelly Sweeney tied the knot in 2005 - Credit: Archant

“Me and Sam were close anyway,” said Kelly, 32, “but now we feel like a family.”

Kelly and Sam Sweeney, 26, who live in Broad Street, Dagenham, dated for five years before tying the knot at Barking Registry Office in August 2010.

Kelly said: “We always wanted to get married and decided to do it when we knew the law had changed.


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“It was a year or so later that we started trying for a baby.”

But it proved to be a rocky road. Sam and Kelly were unable to pay for IVF treatment and, even when they found a sperm donor, it took several attempts before they succeeded.

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Kelly said: “We’re so happy. I still can’t believe he’s here after all the stuff we’ve gone through. It’s a dream come true.”

Sam said: “I feel amazing – on top of the world. It’s the most amazing thing ever because, at first, we didn’t think it would ever happen.”

Both said they were surprised to find they were the first couple in a civil partnership from Barking and Dagenham to register a birth.

Sam and Kelly, who met in 2005, knew after two years together they wanted to have children.

They decided Sam would be the one to carry a baby as she was “more maternal”.

Because IVF wasn’t an option due to cost, Sam and Kelly found a sperm donor through a website.

Sam fell pregnant with twins but joy turned to tragedy when the couple lost both babies – one at seven weeks and the second at 14 weeks.

Kelly said: “We knew we would try again, but I was scared.”

The Civil Partnership Act came into force in December 2005, giving same sex couples most of the same rights in law as married couples.

Since then 67 couples have entered into civil partnerships in Barking and Dagenham.

A council spokesman said: “As far as we are aware, they are the first civil partnership couple to register a baby in the borough.”

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