October 3, 2019

A decade of state of the art IVF here at Oxford Fertility

Birthday

For more than three decades we’ve been supporting couples across the region who face infertility and has helped over 13,000 babies enter the world. Today marks ten years since we opened our £4 million state of the art facility, which brings together expertise in patient care, the county’s first and only state of the art IVF lab and cutting edge research, all under the same roof.

Our ethos of combining high quality care alongside world-leading research has led to significant advances over the decade, including:

As Oxford Fertility enters its next decade, it’s encouraging to see how, with the help of research and the amazing support of our patients who entrust us, the practice of fertility care has developed.

Pioneering research – we offer couples the opportunity to become involved in research studies, helping future generations. Since opening, we’ve conducted numerous observational and experimental award winning studies and collaborated in international randomised clinical trials. One collaborative study we conducted with Oxford University helped young children with cancer preserve their fertility.

Frozen embryo rates – According to the HFEA, the number of IVF cycles using frozen embryos has doubled over the past ten years. We’ve led this trend. Treatment using frozen embryos now sees improved success rates over fresh, and is recognised as a preferred route for couples who have already been through IVF, as it’s safer and cheaper. We’ve been at the forefront of this movement and the HFEA has now reported that we achieve significantly higher success rates in this field than the UK national average.

Natural alternatives – We were the first clinic in the UK to offer successful unstimulated IVM, a cheaper and safer alternative to IVF, particularly for women with polycystic ovaries, as it avoids the need for drugs. We also offer mild IVF and last year opened an alternative therapy service for those who want acupuncture or reflexology alongside treatment.

I can’t wait to see how this personalisation and success rates will increase further over the next ten years.

Concentration of expertise – we’re the largest facility in the region, offering the widest range of treatments. We support over 2,000 couples every year, each with a personalised treatment plan to precisely meet their needs. This attracts, retains and develops the brightest staff.

Commenting on the milestone, Tim Child, our Medical Director says: “As Oxford Fertility enters its next decade, it’s encouraging to see how, with the help of research and the amazing support of our patients who entrust us, the practice of fertility care has developed. It’s no longer ‘just’ IVF. There is now a wide variety of proven treatments and processes we can use. After investigating we can tailor treatment to closely meet the needs of each patient. I can’t wait to see how this personalisation and success rates will increase further over the next ten years.”

 

Patient stories:

Helen, 42 and Rob 45, from High Wycombe, were one of the first patients to be treated at Oxford Fertility’s new facility. Ten years on, Helen shares her memories:

The team provided advice on the best treatment for us, giving all of the facts.

“After tests revealed we needed fertility treatment, our GP referred us to Oxford Fertility. Our first appointment was at the John Radcliffe Hospital. The team were great, but they were squeezed in a small space.

“Our transfer took place at the new facility, which blew us away. From the easy parking outside, to seeing into the lab where the embryos were being nurtured – you could tell it had been planned perfectly around IVF patients and had the right space and equipment for everyone. Also not being at a hospital just made it feel better, as you associate hospitals with people who aren’t well.

The team at Oxford Fertility were so kind, lovely and respectful of everyone’s journey. They celebrated our highs and provided support through our lows.

“The team provided advice on the best treatment for us, giving all of the facts. It was especially important for us to weigh up the pros and cons, as being 32, I was too young to qualify for NHS funding. The postcode lottery back then meant you had to be 35 to receive funding.

“But the approach worked well and I became pregnant with Sophie. We returned two years later to defrost an embryo and along came our baby Viking Chloe – we joke she’s a Viking as back then only the toughest embryos could be frozen, defrosted and survive. Although I know procedures have since changed and now freezing sees the same results as fresh IVF!

“The team at Oxford Fertility were so kind, lovely and respectful of everyone’s journey. They celebrated our highs and provided support through our lows. Although Sophie is now 9 and Chloe is 6, our experience will always stay with us and makes us appreciate them even more.”

 

Ten years ago Claire, now 41 and Tim, 41, lived in a village just outside Oxford and were one of the first patients to be treated at the purpose built Oxford Fertility facility. Claire explains:

It was so modern and welcoming. I remember the staff were so kind and made us feel relaxed.

“We’d been trying for a baby for over three years when our GP referred us to Oxford Fertility. Our first appointment was at the John Radcliffe Hospital, but our second was at the new facility. It was quite a contrast – it was so modern and welcoming. I remember the staff were so kind and made us feel relaxed.

“We knew that it wasn’t guaranteed to work, but I always felt confident and did all I could to help, including acupuncture and looking after my diet. My instinct was right and it worked first time, with the arrival of James.

We are so grateful to the team at Oxford Fertility, they gave us everything that we have ever wanted.

We returned two years later. This time I was more nervous, thinking that we’d used our luck up. But we were successful again and Luke joined our growing family. Then, just after I’d finished breast feeding Luke, to our surprise I fell pregnant naturally with Phoebe. I think my hormones had changed and so, in part, I thank the IVF in some way for her too.

“Now 9, 7 and 5, our children mean everything to us. With rugby, tae kwon do, swimming, music and school work, we have a full and busy family life. Our children are kind, clever and loving. They amaze us.

“We are so grateful to the team at Oxford Fertility, they gave us everything that we have ever wanted.”