We are delighted to announce that  IVF-Life , a  group of state-of-the-art fertility clinics offering genetic testing, immunology and regenerative medicine services staffed by its own laboratory within the group and with outstanding success rates in the market, has acquired the 100% shares of Licensed Center 0338, in Daresbury.

“This acquisition is a key milestone for IVF-Life’s international expansion plan, and our commitment to maintaining our position as recognized experts in the management of complex cases explains  Jon Aizpurua , founder and  president of the IVF-Life group.

For the UK clinic, this means a broader scope of service and an opportunity to continue to improve in all areas of the patient journey.

“This integration will allow our UK clinic to benefit from the experience and expertise of our Group colleagues while working within our UK regulatory framework.” comments  Jenny Dobbs ,  CEO of  IVF-Life UK.

As stated by the NHS, in the UK alone, 1 in 7 couples have problems getting pregnant naturally, and will have to resort to assisted reproduction to achieve pregnancy.

This figure speaks to the relative frequency with which infertility-related problems occur today. In this sense, one of the problems that makes more and more women and couples resort to assisted reproduction to achieve pregnancy is the delay in which they seek pregnancy.

As we have told you, although in many occasions or situations in our day-to-day lives the search for economic or emotional stability prevails, the truth is that the older a woman gets, the less likely she is to achieve a natural pregnancy. Advancing age brings with it a decrease in both the number and quality of eggs that a woman produces in each cycle, so that as age advances, the chances of achieving pregnancy are reduced.

In this sense, one of the main objectives that we set ourselves at infertility clinics, apart from obviously helping our patients to achieve pregnancy, is that little by little assisted reproduction is normalised and is simply considered as any visit to a medical specialist when we have a disease. In fact, since 2009, infertility has been declared by the World Health Organisation as a disease included in the health system.

Why do many couples not want to talk about infertility?

As we have seen, infertility-related problems are very common nowadays. We should understand and see it as something relatively normal that, by delaying the age of motherhood, our own biology plays against us and we should put ourselves in the hands of specialists.

But it is true that there have always been certain myths or taboos about infertility that have made it a subject that is embarrassing or embarrassing to talk about.

For example, did you know that, contrary to common belief, infertility affects men and women equally? There has always been a mistaken belief that fertility problems were associated with women. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nowadays, around 40% of the cases we treat in our clinics are associated with men, with another 40% affecting women and 20% of the cases we find in which both partners show some pathology.

Another factor is the feeling of guilt that many patients feel when they are diagnosed. Often the couple is not understood without children, so when these do not arrive, a certain feeling of guilt appears. Questions such as “Why us?, “What have we done wrong?, “Is there something wrong with me? are frequent at this time.

It is true that, on many occasions, patients are faced with misinformation on the subject. This lack of knowledge about the real reasons, information about treatments and, above all, knowing their diagnosis from a specialist helps them to understand the situation much better and to realise that this feeling of guilt is wrong. It should simply be seen as a medical problem, and as such, in the vast majority of cases we will find a solution together with the specialists.

Talking openly about infertility, the first step to normalising the situation

One of the tips we always give our patients is to talk openly about their situation and, if possible, to do so with other couples who are in the same situation as them.

Sharing their feelings, their questions and knowing how other couples who have gone through the same situation as they have experienced it will make them realise that there are many other people in the same situation as them.

Letting themselves be advised, knowing other stories and being able to talk freely about the subject will gradually make them see it as something normal.

The same applies to our consultations. Our specialists are at your disposal to answer any questions you may have, whether about your problem, how to deal with it, questions about the treatment… we want you to leave the consultations with all the information you need at home as you take the next step towards your pregnancy.

The importance of Councelling Support in assisted reproduction treatments

The psychological factor can be a key factor before and during treatment to achieve pregnancy. We must understand that when a woman or a couple receives the news that pregnancy is not coming because they have infertility problems, there are many emotions to deal with, especially in the case of women.

It is important to face the treatment as calmly as possible. In this way we will avoid anxiety or nerves and we will face it with a much better state of mind.

Equally important are the emotions you go through during each stage of treatment. All of them have an emotional charge that needs to be managed and for this, on many occasions, some help is needed.

Our counsellors support our patients during treatment to help them understand what treatment involves.  They also work with you to consider how it may affect you and those close to you, now and in the future. For this reason, all our treatment packages include two counselling sessions, to support your emotional wellbeing as well as your clinical care.

You can find all the information about our Counselling Support service here.

Please, do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or if we can be of any help.

We understand that receiving a cancer diagnosis can be devastating. The news is totally unexpected and a whole carousel of emotions can be triggered.

Nowadays, cancer is appearing more and more frequently. In the UK alone, 55,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.

In these cases, finding support from the closest circle of family and friends is important to cope with the disease both psychologically and physically.

Naturally, the emotions and worries during this stage multiply exponentially: how will my body react to the treatment, how will I feel, how long will it last?

In addition to all these questions, in the case of women who were in the process of starting a family, there is the fear of not being able to have children once the disease is over.

Treatments and early diagnosis now allow a high rate of patients to recover and overcome the disease. However, it is true that treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy directly affect future reproductive possibilities, as they directly affect the patient’s egg production.

It is very important that the patient consults all her doubts about the effects that the treatment may have on her fertility, as not all of them will affect her in the same way.

Once we are aware of the possible consequences, it is time to try to minimise them as much as possible.

At IVF-Life UK you have the doors open to ask and solve all your doubts with our medical team whenever you need it.

Fertility preservation for cancer patients:

IVF and cancer treatments are options which should be considered together, to ensure that everyone has the ability to start or extend their family if they wish to.

Preserving eggs or semen is an effective way to ensure that your reproduction options are open after your recovery.

Egg vitrification is the most successful technique currently available for the preservation of women’s fertility.

As we told you a few days ago, the patient’s eggs are extracted and then frozen and stored in the best conditions for their preservation.

Therefore, when a patient has to undergo a treatment to cure cancer, vitrification of her eggs allows, provided it is done prior to the start of treatment, to preserve her fertility and her future chances of seeking pregnancy.

Many patients are thus reassured by this possibility and know that, once they have overcome the disease, they will be able to fulfil their dream of starting a family or seeking another pregnancy.

If you would like to know more about fertility preservation for IVF after chemotherapy, feel free to browse our website.

To book your initial consultation appointment, it´s a good idea to get in touch with our team of experts who will be more than happy to offer you advice and support at this difficult time.

You can make an appointment with our specialists here.

Can cancer be prevented?

Nowadays, thanks to early diagnosis and the advances made in the different curative treatments, there is increasing hope of overcoming cancer.

There are many factors that can affect a person suffering from the disease, from genetic antecedents, to bad habits and even prolonged exposure to pollution.

It´s true that maintaining good health is important to avoid all kinds of diseases, including cancer.

In this sense, it´s important to take care of our body and maintain certain guidelines to prevent diseases such as cancer.

Here are the main tips that will help you to maintain the healthiest possible lifestyle and prevent disease:

  • Eliminate tobacco from your life.

Tobacco is undoubtedly one of the main factors that can lead to cancer. Even when we are passive smokers and breathe in the tobacco smoke that may be around us, we are inhaling the carcinogenic substances contained in cigarettes.

  • Maintaining a good diet is essential.

It has been proven that there is a direct link between obesity and an increased chance of suffering from cancer.

Eat a diet rich in grains, pulses, vegetables and fruit and try to cut down as much as possible on foods high in calories, sugar and fat, as well as sugary drinks.

  • Exercise regularly several times a week.

One of the best allies in preventing the disease is regular exercise. It is enough to do sport in moderation, it is enough to go for a walk. It is highly recommended to exercise at least three times a week for an hour, or 30 minutes if it is possible to do it every day.

  • Do not abuse alcohol consumption

Drinking large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis can lead to cancer. It is recommended that alcohol consumption should always be moderate, e.g. a glass of wine or beer with a meal, or occasional consumption at weekends or on public holidays.

  • Early diagnosis of cancer

Nowadays, early diagnosis, thanks to screening programmes, increases the good prognosis for curing cancer.

We live in a society that is evolving faster and faster. Customs, routines, lifestyle habits….. our society is becoming more and more tolerant and open-minded. An example of this can be seen every day in our surgeries with the increasing number of women who decide to become single mothers.

Courageous and determined women with a firm desire to become mothers and who do not want to wait for their ideal partner to arrive to fulfil their dream of having a child.

Today we would like to talk to you about the different options that, thanks to assisted reproduction, are available to women who are considering single motherhood.

If you’re single and looking to start a family, we can help.

When a woman decides to become a single mother, it is necessary to have a donor sperm sample in order to carry out the treatment.

These samples are selected from our sperm banks by our specialists after being genetically analysed in our laboratories. Our specialists are also in charge of selecting the donor sperm samples that best match the patient’s phenotype characteristics.

As for the technique used in the treatment, the most common are Artificial Insemination and In Vitro Fertilisation.

In order to determine the most suitable and effective treatment, each patient must be assessed individually to determine the state of their fertility and thus be able to opt for one treatment or another depending on the results.

Intrauterine insemination or In Vitro Fertilization?

Intrauterine Insemination is one of the simplest and most similar options to natural fertilization in assisted reproduction.

It consists of introducing the sperm sample from a selected donor into the woman’s uterus through a cannula.  To do this, a study of the menstrual cycle is carried out to determine the moment of ovulation, that is, when the egg leaves the ovary and reaches the fallopian tubes.

In Vitro Fertilization is a much more complex technique, but with higher success rates, especially in cases where we detect that there may be a certain risk or the studies carried out on the patient show that there may be some anomaly.

In In Vitro Fertilization treatments it is necessary to extract the patient’s eggs, which are then fertilized in the laboratory together with a sample of the selected donor’s sperm.

Once the embryos have developed, those most likely to implant and achieve pregnancy are selected for transfer to the mother’s uterus.

To increase the likelihood of pregnancy, the woman receives ovarian stimulation treatment with low doses of hormonal medication prior to egg retrieval.

Support single women embarking on IVF

Fertility coach and IVF-Life UK Patient Support Partner Mel Johnson created The Stork and I to empower single women to understand their options for starting a family following her own experience of IVF with donor sperm which resulted in the birth of her daughter. She offers three different online group coaching courses covering the different stages of solo motherhood, each run remotely for up to eight participants at a time.

‘Going Solo’ is for those still considering their options, covering topics such as making the decision to start your fertility journey as a single woman, grieving for letting go of the traditional route to motherhood, getting your friends and family on board, reviewing your finances and your options, choosing a clinic or alternative path, choosing a suitable treatment or method of conception, choosing a donor, preparing yourself and your body for your fertility journey, managing treatment solo, your support network and planning for the future.

Why choose IVF-Life UK for your assisted reproduction treatment?

At IVF-Life UK we pride ourselves not only on our passion for what we do, but also on our expertise in the field.

Our Daresbury centre, the Centre for Reproductive Health, is the UK’s first fully integrated fertility hospital.

Every detail of the centre has been specially designed by our consultants and embryologists.

Our clinical team is supported by an experienced laboratory team, a friendly and caring nursing team and a wider support team, all working to provide the best possible experience for our patients.

Our experience allows us to offer the highest standards of care to our patients and ensure that we are always at the forefront of innovation in fertility, gynaecology and maternity.

This means that the clinic is planned not only for ease of access, but also to offer our patients the highest level of care possible.

The centre is equipped to use the most advanced technology in a state-of-the-art environment by highly qualified fertility professionals.

Book a free 30 minutes consultation

If you want to learn more assisted reproduction treatments, receive some personalised advice and visit our clinic, you can book your 30 free minutes consultation here.

One of the patient care team will contact you to arrange to meet your patient care co-ordinator, and to have your clinic tour and to meet your fertility consultant.

When we talk about family, at IVF-Life UK, we do so without distinction and always with the pride of having contributed to the happiness of many women who wish to form their own.

Thanks to the ROPA Method, many female same sex couples can achieve their dream of having a baby by sharing the process of motherhood between them.

Is shared motherhood between two women possible?

ROPA Method, also knows as Reciprocal IVF, gives two women in a same sex relationship, the chance to both have a part in the conception of their baby.

This method follows the IVF protocol but includes fertilising the eggs of one of the partners with donor sperm, and transferring the very best embryo to her wife/partner. She then then carries the pregnancy. It’s more complex than IUI with donor sperm, but shared motherhood means that one woman is the genetic mother and the other is the birth mother of their baby.  So right from conception, motherhood is a totally shared experience.

Reciprocal IVF may take about five or eight weeks from the beginning of the treatment cycle to pregnancy test, depending on the drug protocol.

How is the treatment carried out?

The treatment is very similar to in vitro fertilisation. For this, in addition, the sperm of a donor from our bank will be used to fertilise the egg in our assisted reproduction laboratory.

First of all, it is important to carry out an evaluation of the reproductive health of both women in order to know their reproductive health. Although the couple has decided which of the two women will carry the pregnancy, it is not always possible based on the risks that this may pose to the development of the pregnancy, so an examination and diagnosis will also provide information and determine whether there is any risk to the pregnancy based on these tests.

Once it has been decided which of the two will provide the egg and which will be the gestational mother, both must begin a process of hormonal stimulation. In this way we will obtain the highest quality eggs to be fertilised with the donor’s sperm and at the same time the uterus of the other woman will be prepared so that it is in the best conditions to carry the pregnancy.

Subsequently, an ovarian puncture is necessary to extract the eggs from the woman who will provide her eggs. The selected eggs will be fertilised with the donor’s sperm, giving rise to the embryo or embryos that will be transferred to the other woman, which will evolve correctly.

Egg freezing allows women to save their eggs for when they are ready to start a family, making the most of their fertility when it is at its peak.

From IVF-Life UK – IVF Life we want to ensure every woman has the opportunity to start a family at whatever point in her life that she feels most comfortable and prepared at.

But not only that, egg freezing also allows patients diagnosed with cancer to preserve their fertility, before starting cancer treatment, in order to be able to seek pregnancy once the disease has been overcome.

Why is it important for women to know about fertility preservation?

The time at which many women seek pregnancy is increasingly delayed by the search for work and economic stability, and even by the absence of a partner.

Unfortunately, the search for personal stability does not always coincide with the time when a woman is most fertile. As age advances, the chances of achieving pregnancy naturally become less and less, as the quantity and quality of eggs begins to decrease with age.

Women should be aware that their fertility begins to decline from the age of 35 onwards, with the decline being more marked from the age of 37 onwards and leaving very few options for achieving a natural pregnancy from the age of 40 onwards.

For this reason, the option of freezing your eggs to preserve your fertility and have the peace of mind of being able to decide the best time to face motherhood is becoming increasingly important.

How is egg freezing performed?

Egg vitrification is a simple technique that allows the freezing and storage of eggs until the patient decides that the right time has come to become pregnant without the eggs losing their quality. For this reason, it is advisable to have it done before the age of 35, when the quality begins to decline.

To do this, the eggs are frozen using cryoprotective means in liquid nitrogen at -196ºC.

Previously, the patient must undergo a small ovarian stimulation to obtain a greater number of eggs than she produces in each natural cycle. In this way, there are more options to extract quality eggs and increase the chances of pregnancy when she decides that her time has come.

Fertility preservation for oncological reasons

Today, thanks to early detection of the disease, cancer patients have a high recovery rate.

However, these treatments, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can unfortunately have a negative effect on their reproductive health. But with our fertility preservation treatment, we give you the option of preserving your eggs or sperm prior to receiving cancer treatment, patients will be able to use their eggs/sperm to conceive once they have fully recovered and feel ready to do so.

When couples have to start an assisted reproduction treatment, many doubts and uncertainties arise. A new world of terms and information appears before them that is often not easy to understand.

We must understand that Reproductive Medicine is an unknown science for most people. Until they suspect that there may be a problem related to their reproductive health, most patients are almost completely unaware of what assisted reproduction consists of and the different techniques and treatments that exist to achieve pregnancy.

Through our blog, we would like to explain some terms that may generate some questions related to the main assisted reproduction treatments.

What are the differences between In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)?

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) are two of the most common treatments performed in assisted reproduction clinics today.

Although they can sometimes be confused, the truth is that there are many differences between the two. From the treatment itself or even its results to the type of patient suitable for the treatment.

  • IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) is an extremely common fertility treatment, where your eggs and sperm (or donor eggs / donor sperm) are mixed together and fertilisation takes place outside of the body. Embryos are then allowed to develop in our embryology lab, with the best embryo being selected for transfer back into the womb to grow naturally. Our aim for IVF is the same as yours: to create a healthy embryo that marks the start of your pregnancy journey.
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is one of the many fertility processes that we offer our patients. IUI aims to make achieving pregnancy easier by cutting out the need for sperm to enter through the cervix. This greatly improves the chances of it successfully reaching the egg.

For what kind of patient is each treatment indicated?

Not every treatment is suitable for the same type of patient.

In order to decide on the most appropriate treatment, it is necessary to carry out a reproductive health diagnosis to analyse what the problem is that is preventing pregnancy.

Based on these results, the specialists will decide which treatment is best for each specific case.

The IUI procedure is suitable for almost everyone.

We can usually help anyone suffering from sex-related problems, achieve their goal by using IUI as a method of fertility treatment. This is because problems such as premature ejaculation or difficult intercourse are simply a matter of the sperm being unable to reach the egg – something which is easily overcome by intrauterine insemination.

Women in same-sex relationships, or single women who are trying to conceive can also use IUI paired with donor sperm to conceive.

On the other hand, IVF is chosen by people who are struggling to  conceive naturally . Just a handful of reasons include:

  • Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Unexplained infertility
  • People with a risk of carrying genetic diseases
  • Poor sperm quality / quantity
  • Low ovarian reserve
  • Endometriosis

Why IVF-Life UK?

At IVF-Life UK we pride ourselves on not only our passion for what we do, but our expertise in the field.

Our Daresbury location, the Centre for Reproductive Health, is the UK’s first fully integrated fertility hospital.

Every detail of the centre was specially designed by our consultants and embryologists. This means that the clinic is planned not only for ease of access, but suited to give our patients the highest possible level of care.

Our specialised facility uses the very latest technology, in a state of the art environment, delivered by highly skilled fertility professionals.

According to World Health Organization, infertility is a disease of the male or female reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.

Infertility affects millions of people of reproductive age worldwide – and has an impact on their families and communities. Estimates suggest that between 48 million couples and 186 million individuals live with infertility globally.

Factors that can affect women and men vary greatly.

Undoubtedly, one of the factors that most affects fertility and hinders pregnancy is the age at which women seek pregnancy.

We know that society is constantly changing and that there are factors such as the search for job or economic stability that influence this decision to be delayed more and more.

It is important for women to know that the older they get, the more difficult it will be to achieve a natural pregnancy.

Unfortunately, a woman’s biological clock does not keep pace with her age. It is likely that when a woman is in her personal prime, it is more difficult to achieve pregnancy.

Scientific studies show that the older a woman gets, the lower the quality and quantity of eggs she produces. From around the age of 35 onwards, this decrease starts to be noticeable, and it becomes worrying from the age of 37 onwards. From the age of 40 onwards, the chances of a natural pregnancy are greatly reduced.

What are the main factors that influence fertility?

Nowadays, infertility problems are very evenly distributed between men and women. Between 30 and 40% of the cases we treat in our clinic are due to infertility problems in men, the percentage being exactly the same in women.

In the case of women, as we have said, age is a determining factor in achieving pregnancy, but not the only one.

In addition to their age, the main problems we encounter are:

  • Ovulation problems caused by:
  • polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • thyroid problems
  • premature ovarian failure
  • Scarring from surgery
  • Pelvic surgery
  • Cervical surgery
  • Cervical mucus problems
  • Fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Sterilisation
  • Medicines and drugs

For men, the main problems are related both to the production and the quality of their semen:

  • Abnormal semen:
  • Lack of sperm
  • Sperm that are not moving properly
  • Testicles: If they’re damaged, it can seriously affect the quality of your semen. Main causes are:
  • Infection of testicles
  • Testicular cancer
  • Testicular surgery
  • Congenital defects
  • Ejaculation disorders
  • Hypogonadism
  • Medicines and drugs

Egg freezing, an option to search for pregnancy at the most desired moment

Egg freezing allows women to save their eggs for when they are ready to start a family, making the most of their fertility when it is at its peak.

Eggs can be frozen for 10 years, but if you’re ready to start your journey to motherhood earlier, they can be ready when you are.

Once you decide you’re in the right place to start your journey to motherhood, we put together a treatment plan unique for you.

Within our onsite embryology lab, we will thaw  your eggs ready for fertilisation. With the sperm of either your partner or a donor, those eggs are then fertilised to create embryos.

When the time is right we  will create a plan for you to prepare for embryo transfer at the optimum time. Your  embryos are then transferred to your uterus. Once in your uterus one will hopefully implant and  you will  be advised on when to take a pregnancy test.

Getting confirmation of your fertility treatment first visit consultation is an exciting and big step on your IVF journey.

Maybe it’s your first appointment? Or maybe you have had treatment elsewhere?  Maybe you’ve had successful treatment already and are planning to try for another baby? Or maybe you’re not yet ready to start a family, but want to freeze your eggs for possible future use?

Whatever the reason for you needing fertility treatment, these are some of the key questions you should ask at your first visit consultation.  Coming away with the answers will make you feel more in control of your journey.

How does the clinic decide which treatment is right for me?

We tailor all treatment plans to each patient.  Key to this are the results of the initial tests you will have at your first visit consultation.  It’s also important for us to learn more about your lifestyle, and your medical and fertility histories.  Combined with the test results, this gives the clinical and laboratory teams the detailed information needed to give you options for the very best chance of having a baby.  The results of these tests allow us to recommend the best treatment for you, as well as the medications you will need for the best outcome.

What tests will I need to have?

Our comprehensive first visit consultation packages include all the tests needed for any single woman, lesbian couple, or male/female couple. These include:

  • Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) testing
  • ultrasound scan
  • semen analysis (for any male partner)
  • trial embryo transfer (if appropriate)
  • any other tests specific to you

Depending on which tests are required, most of  the test results will be available on the day of consultation. Any additional tests results will be shared with you during the doctor consultation.

I’ve already had tests, so can you use these results?

Some of these results may be useful to us, depending on how recently they were done. But we prefer to work from the results of tests we have carried out so we know the accuracy of the results, and that they are current.  The clinic staff will advise you depending on your available results.

What treatments are available?

IVF-Life UK offers tailored IVF and ICSI treatments.  These may include use of donor sperm, eggs, or embryos, if needed.  And our skilled scientists in the laboratory can carry out preimplantation genetic testing (PGT-A).  This helps identify the best quality embryos to improve pregnancy success rates.  We also offer fertility preservation – that is freezing sperm or eggs for men and women who want to postpone parenthood for either medical or elective reasons.

What success rates does the clinic have?

Before you start out, you want to know that you have chosen a clinic that has high success rates helping people to achieve their goal of a successful pregnancy.  At your first visit consultation, the doctor can give you more details of YOUR chances of success based on the reason for your infertility and your age.

View IVF-Life UK’s latest success rates here.

How will I stay in control of the costs of my treatment?

IVF-Life UK is committed to complete transparency regarding patients’ fees. It is very important to us that all our patients understand how much their treatment will cost, and what that treatment will include.

Our treatment costs are outlined in our prices section. However, all patients receive detailed individualised confirmation of costs before starting any treatment with us. This will help you to plan for your treatment and feel confident and more relaxed about how your treatment will progress.

Costs for our fertility packages cover all the usual stages of:

  • investigations – including initial consultation, ultrasound scan and pre-treatment tests as appropriate
  • treatments – including scans, counselling sessions, consultant appointments, procedure, pregnancy test, pregnancy first scan, and review appointment
  • counselling with a specialist fertility counsellor to ensure you receive all the emotional support needed throughout your treatment

The costs of any additional treatment needs would be discussed with you in detail before being progressed and before any additional invoice is issued.

Will I have a main contact throughout my treatment, someone who ‘knows’ me?

We understand that starting fertility treatment can be a very exciting but also a daunting experience. There may be a lot of new information to consider and dates to remember throughout your treatment journey. So we assign a dedicated Patient Care Co-ordinator (PCC) to help and support each patient having treatment at IVF-Life UK.

As soon as you contact the clinic you will connect with your PCC who will be your main point of contact for any questions and to help to co-ordinate your treatment. It is also important that you fully understand the costs involved and when payment is expected. We encourage you to ask as many questions as you need to throughout the journey.

Your PCC will explain the process, personally welcome you to the clinic, and organise the necessary appointments and tests to ensure your treatment runs smoothly.

If your assigned PCC is not be available, another member of the patient care team will always be able to answer your questions.

What happens if treatment isn’t successful?

Unfortunately, having a baby cannot be guaranteed by any clinic.  But the medical and laboratory experts at IVF-Life UK will work hard to give you the very best chance of success.  If a cycle is not successful, the team, including our counsellors, is here to support you through your options.  If you decide to try again, be reassured that IVF can be diagnostic even if it doesn’t result in a livebirth. In this case our doctors and scientists can learn from your treatment to make changes to any further cycles you have to improve the outcome.

In addition, IVF-Life UK is now part of IVF Life Group, a group of clinics across Europe.  This gives us all the advantages of major scientific, medical, and research resources for the benefit of all our patients right here in Cheshire, and throughout the North West.

When will I be able to start treatment?

Investment, restructuring and recruitment means we currently have no waiting lists at IVF-Life UK.  This means you can start your treatment as soon as YOU want. And as waiting for treatment can sometimes have an impact on its chance of success, why wait? Make an appointment today.

 

On 25 July we will mark the 43rd birthday of Louise Brown – the world’s first ‘test-tube baby’.  Throughout July we will commemorate her birth in 1978 with our Reasons to Celebrate IVF’.

Some of the reasons and facts will have global significance, and others will be closer to home or very personal.  But all of them will have been created by the amazing efforts of physiologist Sir Robert Edwards, gynaecologist Patrick Steptoe, and nurse/embryologist Jean Purdy.

Their combined brilliance led directly to the births of Louise, and her sister Natalie four years later. It also led to the creation of millions of families around the world ever since.

Louise’s parents Lesley and John Brown had been trying to conceive for more than nine years, but blocked fallopian tubes prevented Lesley being able to get pregnant.  When her condition was first diagnosed, Lesley was distraught at the thought of not being able to have a baby.

Hope in Oldham

But she was referred by her doctor in Bristol to Mr Steptoe at Kershaw’s Cottage Hospital in Oldham, where he was pioneering IVF with Edwards and Purdy.  She was told it was her best (only!) chance of getting pregnant. Although she was also warned that the treatment was like ‘science fiction’ and the chance of success was ‘a million to one’.

Undaunted, in November 1977 Lesley and John underwent egg collection and her eggs and his sperm were mixed in a petri dish (not in a test-tube as the tabloids described!).  Nurse Jean Purdy was the first to see the dividing cells of the embryo that would become Louise.

Following this they had their embryo transfer – after 63 other transfers for the many other women involved in the trial since 1971.  Only one had resulted in a pregnancy – but sadly no live birth.

Then a couple weeks later Lesley and John received a letter from Professor Edwards. This contained the news they’d been hoping for for more than 10 years:

“Just a short note to let you know that the early results on your blood and urine are very encouraging and indicate that you might be in early pregnancy. So please take things quietly – no skiing, climbing or anything too strenuous including Xmas shopping!”

A ‘miracle’ birth

Nine months later, on 25 July 1978, Louise Joy arrived – and the world’s media descended on Oldham and then to the Brown’s home in Bristol.  She was the first livebirth created outside of the human body and so was big news around the world.

In fact , before she was six months old her parents had flown almost 30,000 miles on  a world tour to share their story with international media – and to provide hope to millions of people that maybe they too could have a baby after years of involuntary childlessness.

The legacy continues at IVF-Life UK

How far has IVF come in those years! Which brings us to today in Cheshire, here at IVF-Life UK.  The clinic and our services opened in 2014 with a vision to offer easily accessible, comprehensive fertility investigations and treatment options individually tailored to patient needs, using the latest treatments and scientific expertise, in a purpose-built luxury clinic with state-of-the-art laboratories in comfortable surroundings.

And now we are also part of the IVF Life Group, a group of clinics across Europe.  This gives us all the advantages of major scientific, medical, and research resources for the benefit of all our patients right here in Cheshire, and throughout the North West. But all this is because of that original team of three pioneers, plus Mr & Mrs Brown, and of course, Louise!

Now your fertility journey may include IVF, ICSI, or reciprocal IVF/shared motherhood. Or it might include treatments which include donor eggs, or donor sperm, or genetic testing, to improve your chance of success.  And all these results from the work that led to the birth of Louise Brown.

Celebrating the family

One of the greatest motivations for Robert Edwards to develop IVF was his belief that ‘the most important thing in life is having a child’. And that’s what we celebrate this month – the hope that everyone who wants to have a family gets the chance to do so.

Reasons to Celebrate (1 to 6)

1.  worldwide, more than 9 million babies have been born following IVF treatment – which is more than the population of London

2. more than a quarter of a million IVF babies had been born in the UK by 2016

ICSI Treatment3. ICSI was discovered (almost by accident) in 1994. It revolutionised the chance of sub-fertile men becoming genetic fathers. Only one healthy sperm is needed for each collected egg. The embryologist selects the best single sperm for each egg, and under ultra-magnification, injects it into the egg. When successful fertilisation occurs, an embryo may develop – just as in a natural fertilisation, or in IVF

4.

5. Louise Brown and her husband naturally conceived their sons – although her sister Natalie was the first IVF baby to have a baby, when her first son was born in 2001

6. the world’s first frozen embryo baby was born in March 1984 in Australia. Baby Zoe followed her parents’ IVF treatment, and the freezing of some of their embryos for two months, before being thawed and transferred to her mother’s uterus. Embryo freezing gives patients more than one chance to conceive from a single IVF treatment cycle, either following a negative pregnancy test, or even after a live birth

Reasons to Celebrate (7 to 12)

Egg Freezing for Fertility preservation7. worldwide, ICSI accounts for three quarters of all treatment cycles, with just 25% being ‘standard’ IVF

8. In vitro fertilisation (IVF) literally means ‘fertilisation in glass’. Instead of sperm fertilising an egg within the body (in vivo), fertilisation takes place in a sterile dish (in vitro) in a laboratory – but NOT in a test-tube! Carefully prepared motile sperm are mixed with eggs – if one of the sperm penetrates the egg and fertilisation occurs an embryo may develop

9. embryos are stored at an extremely low temperature (-196˚C) to halt their development. Once frozen they can remain in liquid nitrogen for many years. After this, they may be thawed and used in treatment

Eggs on ice10. vitrification is a method of flash-freezing eggs and embryos which increases survival rates during the thaw process. Nowadays most UK clinics use vitrification instead of the slow-freeze method for freezing eggs and embryos

11. IVF has made female fertility preservation possible. Sperm freezing has been an option for men to preserve their fertility for decades. In the early 2000s egg freezing became available to women to preserve their possible future motherhood without creating embryos. Egg freezing gives young women diagnosed with cancer who need chemotherapy or radiotherapy which may damage their fertility, the possible chance of future motherhood. It also gives women who are not in a relationship and who want to be a mum in the future, the chance to preserve their eggs for possible future creation of embryos. Finally, it offers an alternative to couples who need fertility treatment but who have ethical concerns about creating and freezing embryos

Geri Timelapse12. the GERI™ time-lapse system provides stable and undisturbed embryo culture for patients’ embryos and allows the embryologists to monitor embryo development by taking a photograph of each embryo every five minutes. The embryologists can therefore observe all the critical events during embryo development and analyse the timings of these events using software with AI technology which has been developed from the data collected from thousands of embryos worldwide. This allows the embryologists to select the best embryos for transfer and cryopreservation.

Reasons to Celebrate (13 to 18)

13. IVF has given more options to lesbian women to become mothers. Initial assisted conception involved just IUI with donor sperm, but where this is unsuccessful – maybe due to blocked fallopian tubes – IVF with donor sperm provided an alternative route to motherhood. And now recoprocal IVF/shared motherhood gives two women in a same sex relationship the chance to both have a part in the conception of their baby

Benefits of combining IVF & Pre-implantation Genetic Testing14. PGT-A is a laboratory process that can de-select embryos with the wrong chromosomal patterns to improve livebirth rates. PGT-A is recommended in IVF cycles for patients with three or more good quality blastocysts, who have had repeated implantation failures, or recurrent early miscarriages, or in women who are more than 35 years old.

Sperm Donation15. IVF can be used with donor sperm – either for lesbian patients, or single women, or for M/F couples where the man’s sperm quality is too poor even for ICSI, or where there is a risk of him passing on an hereditary condition using his own sperm in treatment. All these options give people the chance of parenthood who would have previously remained involuntarily childless.

16. In the early 1980s a cycle of IVF cost between £1,500-£3,000 depending which early-adopter clinic you went to. And this was when the average UK wage was just £6,000!

17. The world’s first frozen embryo baby was born in 1984. Freezing good quality embryos has many benefits: 1) embryos are available for transfer either after an unsuccessful embryo transfer, without the need for another full treatment cycle. 2) Embryos are available for use following successful treatment and a livebirth, to have a sibling, all from the original treatment cycle. 3) Age-associated risks of pregnancy are determined by the age of the woman when the embryos were created rather than her age during any pregnancy from a frozen embryo transfer

18. A member of the IVF-Life UK team and her husband tried to conceive for seven years (through her 20s), before being advised they’d need fertility treatment. A single cycle of ICSI resulted in 17 eggs collected, two embryos, but just a single embryo of transfer or freezing quality. But now their daughter is six years old – so they became a family as a result of the ‘discovery’ of IVF.

Reasons to Celebrate (19 to 24)

19. IVF drugs have improved over the years to improve the chance of creating enough good quality eggs without the risks of ovarian hyper-stimulation. Protocols can also be varied and tailored for a woman’s specific hormone levels and other conditions. This can make a treatment cycle gentler for you. Options now also include ‘natural cycle IVF’ which involves no fertility drugs at all, or ‘mild stimulation IVF’ which includes lower doses of medications over shorter periods. However, both these give ‘significantly lower’ chances of a successful outcome.

Egg Donation20. The first child born from egg donation was reported in Australia in 1983, just five years after the birth of Louise Brown. Nowadays, each year, hundreds of women in the UK conceive with eggs donated by another woman. Reasons for this include:

  • a woman doesn’t produce any eggs because of a condition from birth – eg Turner Syndrome
  • a woman has previously had cancer treatment which has made her infertile
  • a woman has early menopause which has diminished the number and quality of her eggs
  • a woman risks passing on an hereditary condition using her own eggs to conceive
  • a woman is older and her own eggs will no longer create a pregnancy

IVF has made it possible for women with these conditions to carry a pregnancy and give birth.

21. For many decades donor sperm was originally used with IUI to help women become pregnant. But it soon became used in IVF cycles too. A woman or couple may need to use donor sperm if:
– a man’s testes many never have produced sperm because of a genetic condition
– surgery or drugs to treat cancer many have left a man infertile
– a man may produce sperm, but too few or poor quality to create a pregnancy
– a woman is single or in a same-sex relationship

22. For couples who need both donor eggs AND donor sperm, receiving donor embryos gives them the chance of parenthood. Some couples who have been lucky enough to create more embryos than they need to create their families, generously donate their viable embryos to other women or couples who cannot conceive with their own eggs and sperm. Although the baby is not biologically related to the birth parents, the mother gets to carry the pregnancy and give birth to the baby. From the start, the baby is legally recognised as the birth parents’ own – rather than as if they had adopted a baby. Embryo donation is an amazing gift and gives couples with complex fertility conditions the chance to become parents.

Fertility Counselling23. IVF-Life UK offers counselling support services to help you through your fertility treatment, pregnancy, and beyond. Our counselling services are in accordance with the guidance and recommendations of the HFEA. This requires all licensed clinics to offer patients the chance to talk to a counsellor before you start treatment. IVF-Life UK counsellors are registered with the British Infertility Counselling Association (BICA) and access to their care is included in our treatment packages, to ensure you are supported emotionally throughout your fertility journey.

24. In the UK, IVF is regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). This organisation was set-up to ensure that ‘everyone who steps into a fertility clinic, and everyone born as a result of treatment, receives high quality care’. It was created by legislation to work independently on behalf of the government – all as a result of the birth of Louise Brown.

25. Our final reason to celebrate and one of the most important is the acceptance of infertility, the normalisation of IVF treatments, eliminating barriers and the stigma towards infertility.