A Kiwi dad is celebrating the miracle birth of his first child after 22 years of trying. Shane Comiskey, 55, and his Australian wife, Susan, 42, were told by doctors they would never have children due to an unexplained infertility.

But the couple refused to believe them and, more than two decades after their marriage, their daughter, Anna Margaret, was born on October 2 in Liverpool Women's Hospital, United Kingdom.

The birth was even more special as Susan had survived a 12-month battle with cancer, enduring two operations and painful radiotherapy treatment.

Shane said he was delighted to be able to give his parents in Whakatane the good news.

"People often asked if we had children and I would say, 'We don't, but they are on order.' We always tried to lighten the situation," said Shane.

"We have been asking God for a miracle child for years and it feels like a miracle child. She is a gift."

The couple have worked as missionaries in more than 40 countries and have been pastors at the Victory Family Centre in Liverpool, northwest England, for 3 years.

They had been trying for a baby since marrying 22 years ago.

Fifteen years ago, doctors told Susan about a pituitary gland problem, which might have been causing her infertility.

A small benign tumour in the gland led to increased levels of the hormone prolactin, which stopped ovulation and resulted in infrequent or no periods.

She started fertility treatment after moving to England and was given drugs to regulate her menstrual cycle, which made a pregnancy more likely and also shrank the tumour.

But in 2008 doctors spotted a suspicious lump in her neck and she was diagnosed with a cancer of the thyroid.

Susan finished her treatment last year but in January she started feeling sick. She feared her cancer had spread as the sickness got worse.

"My cycles had always been a bit bizarre so I still didn't make any connection. But after a month or two I thought, 'I wonder', and did a pregnancy test. It was positive. I nearly fainted."

bevan.hurley@hos.co.nz