Miracle baby born after rare sperm surgery

(CBS News) Most moms and dads would probably say that their kids are miracles. Jennifer and Jason Schiraldi faced incredible odds to have the child they only had one chance to conceive.

The story of their daughter, now one-year-old Kenley, started the traditional way. Her parents were high school sweethearts. After college, they married and dreamed of someday starting a family.

They tried for two years, but Jennifer never got pregnant. Still, when her doctor suggested that Jason have his fertility checked, they weren't prepared for the bad news.

"It was absolutely devastating when I found out there was no sperm in my sample," Jason said. "It was as if somebody punched me in the chest.... Had the wind knocked out of me."

The dream of having their own child seemed to be over, but Jennifer refused to give up. "I didn't realize it was as bad as I guess it was," she said. "I still thought in my head at that time that they can do something to help him."

Their search for a solution led them to the Cleveland Clinic and its in vitro fertility lab, and one last chance, special surgery to physically search for sperm.

"We looked for hours to find sperm and we just didn't see anything living," lab director Dr. Nina Desai said. But finally, like a needle in a haystack, they found one, single sperm.

"We didn't expect this. Certainly, no one goes forward with an egg retrieval if there's only one sperm or very few sperm," Desai said.

So what are the odds of just one sperm fertilizing an egg and resulting in a baby? A typical sample has more than 60 million sperm. At one in 60 million, you have a better chance of being hit by lightning----one in 3000, or of getting a royal flush in poker - about one in 2.6 million

But the odds were even tougher. The clinic was trying out a brand new technique for freezing and then thawing the sperm and not only that - Jennifer needed three cycles of in vitro to produce a viable egg. And they would only have one chance.

Incredibly, the one in 60 million shot worked. But it wasn't until 5 months later, when Jennifer saw the ultra-sound, that she allowed herself to truly believe in miracles.

"She was the cutest little thing," Jennifer said. "Her hand went right past her face. I felt like she was waving at us. Hi mom and dad..."

Kenley is now a happy, healthy one-year-old girl.

"Every day is mother's day for me," Jennifer said. "I get to spend it with my beautiful little girl."

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    Jan Crawford is CBS News Chief Political and Legal Correspondent. She is from "Crossroads," Alabama.

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