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Clinic takes practical step to mark 40th birthday of IVF

24 October 2017
A leading NHS clinic is binning the bunting for National Fertility Week - and instead marking it with a practical initiative to help those dreaming of starting a family.

Cambridge IVF is to hold a free four week programme, called Fitness for Fertility, which also celebrates the conception 40 years ago on 31 October of the world’s first IVF baby, Louise Joy Brown.

The Thursday sessions between 6pm and 7pm on 9, 15, 23 and 30 November at Kefford House, Maris Lane, Trumpington, will cover topics ranging from pre-conception advice to dealing with the emotional impact of trying for a baby.

At the first session complimentary therapist Irina Szmelskyj will explore the benefits of acupuncture while the second will feature a full and frank question and answer session on fertility related concerns.

The third will welcome expert fertility counsellor, Jackie Stewart, who will discuss coping strategies, while latest evidence on adopting a healthy lifestyle, nutrition and eating will be the subject of the last.

The clinic, which is part of Cambridge University Hospitals and has close links with The Rosie Maternity and Addenbrooke’s, will be offering discounts on a wide range of its fertility and fertility support treatments throughout November.

In simple terms, IVF involves fertilizing a human egg in a laboratory dish and implanting the resulting embryo in the mother's womb.

The technique was pioneered by Cambridge University physiologist Robert Edwards who in 1966 teamed up with Oldham obstetrician and gynecologist Patrick Steptoe. An often forgotten third pioneer was Jean Purdy, who was recruited as a nurse by Edwards at the Physiological Laboratory in Cambridge. She became the world’s first embryologist before her premature death 1985.

Cambridge IVF lead fertility nurse specialist, Jennie Rollason, said: “If anywhere should be celebrating the 40th anniversary of IVF it is Cambridgeshire, since this is where the technique was first pioneered all those years ago. 

Stephen Harbottle“While it would be simple to celebrate these two occasions with a big cake, bunting and a photo opportunity, we decided the best way was to offer practical help to those who matter most – the patients.”

Consultant embryologist, Stephen Harbottle, said: “There was a lot of worry among patients when funding was withdrawn for free IVF treatment and this is another way of reassuring patients old and new that we are here for them.

“We will be celebrating 40 years of IVF, and all the progress that has been made, and for us that means working with even more people to create the future they want.”

To book visit www.fitness4fertility.eventbrite.co.uk  and for information on Cambridge IVF visit http://www.cambridge-ivf.org.uk/.

Details on National Fertility Awareness Week between 30 October and 5 November, are available at http://www.nfaw.org.uk/