AN IVF open evening is being held at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s new Fertility Unit on Wednesday (November 19).
The event will celebrate 30 years of IVF and look back at advances made in fertility services at the hospital.
Fertility Manager, Karen Woodcock said: “Our event will be a great opportunity for anyone who is trying for a family or having trouble conceiving to find out more about our state of the art service, in an informal setting.
“Dealing with infertility can be an extremely stressful and upsetting experience, but it is more common than most people realise. One in seven couples will experience difficulties in conceiving, and the evidence is that this will become an even greater problem in the future.
“I would like to personally invite anyone who may be interested in IVF to come along to our celebration to find out more.
“There have been significant changes in fertility services over the last 30 years including greater accessibility to fertility treatments.”
The new £600,000 fertility unit is equipped with the latest technology to help clinicians provide the best treatment. It has a dramatic interior design and striking colour scheme, aimed at making patients feel more at ease during their investigations and treatment.
Couples referred to the Countess of Chester Hospital are seen in the fertility clinic within a short time and investigations arranged immediately.
“Our aim is to reduce unnecessary delays, stress and uncertainty, which will hopefully result in a successful pregnancy,” added Karen.
The Countess of Chester Hospital provides a full range of fertility investigations and treatments and is licensed by the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA). It was one of the first units to be 100 per cent compliant with National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines.
The first pregnancy achieved following invitro human fertilisation (IVF) of a human oocyte was reported in The Lancet from the Monash team in 1973, although it only lasted a few days and would today be called a biochemical pregnancy.
This was followed by a tubal ectopic pregnancy from Steptoe and Edwards in 1976, resulting from the successful partnership with Bob Edwards which resulted in the birth of Louise Brown in 1978; Courtney Cross, also in 1978; and another unnamed birth from Oldham, the world’s first IVF babies. The ability to freeze and subsequently thaw and transfer embryos has also significantly improved the effectiveness of IVF.
The other very significant milestone in IVF was the development of the intra cytoplasmic sperm injection of single sperms by Andre van Steirtegham in Brussels, 1992.
This has enabled men with minimal sperm production to achieve pregnancies, sometimes in conjunction with sperm recovery, using a testicular fine needle or open testicular biopsy, with some men even with kleinfelter’s syndrome occasionally achieving pregnancy.
Thus, IVF has become the final solution for most fertility problems, moving from tubal disease to male factor, idiopathic subfertility, endometriosis, advancing maternal age, and anovulation not responding to ovulation induction.