Category Archives: Events

Hewitt Fertility Staff Epic Cycle


To mark the beginning of The Hewitt Fertility centre’s support for National Fertility Awareness Week, a group of staff decided to do something a little special to honour the occasion. Mark Hargreaves, Paul Mallanaphy, Pauline Green and Lee Jones set out from Liverpool Women’s Hospital with the aim of completing a 100 mile round trip to Kershaw’s Clinic in Oldham – the site of the first IVF treatment 40 years ago – and back again.
After 100 miles, three flat tyres and some questionable navigating, the team arrived back at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital after almost 10 hours of cycling.

On the coldest morning of the year so far the team gathered at the hospital at 7:00am and set off soon after. Reaching Kershaw’s clinic in Oldham, the home of the first ever successful IVF treatment, around midday the team took a short break, a couple of quick snaps, a chat with the staff and set back off home again. Racing against the setting sun – the clocks going back a week previous had meant time was of the essence – the team battled the icy cold and a succession of flat tyres before arriving back to the Liverpool Women’s Hospital in time for dinner and a much deserved hot bath.

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As a solicitor who deals with fertility law matters, I have come across the legal implications of IVF as it has developed throughout the years.  However as a woman with PCOS and a trustee of  Verity, the Charity in England and Wales that deals with fertility issues, I am in somewhat of a unique position in looking at the development of IVF over the last 40 years. The development has clearly only been possible given the advances in medicine and science.

However, it is also essential and something that I am acutely aware of that it is also the need of society’s attitude to develop as well as the law to progress in order to keep up with the continuing developments.  When IVF was first developed in 1977, the law was woefully inadequate to cope with the legal questions it poses.  Since introduction of the ability for children to be conceived using a variety of different medical techniques, the law has also had to play catch up somewhat to ensure that not only the children but the intended parents and any relevant donor or surrogate are all protected in the future.  The HFEA 1990 Act was considerably updated in 2008 with relevant instructions for civil partnership and donor anonymity as an example.

However, many in the medical and legal worlds now consider the HFEA 2008 to also be woefully inadequate.  The HFEA have granted a licence to Newcastle Fertility Clinic to develop treatment with mitochondrial diseases.  This is where a third person’s gene are used to replace an unhealthy mitochondrial disease.  However, technically this can lead to possibility that a baby can be born with DNA from three individuals.  This ultimately leads to a legal question as to whom is the parent and whether the current law under the HFEA 2008 is adequate for these future developments.

Fertility law also poses a number of ethical issues as to whose welfare should be the priority particularly when a court is deciding situations such as contact after a surrogacy arrangement.

Whatever the future may hold, progress needs to be made in the legal understanding of these medical advances so that society through the courts can make appropriate decisions without involving intended parents in complex legal court cases.    It is has been an exciting time in fertility treatments and law over the last 40 years and no doubt the next 40 years with the proposed amendments to the Surrogacy Act 1985, together with the medical advancements of IVF, will lead to yet more legal questions to answer.

Caroline Andrews is a Family Law Solicitors at Wortley Byers Law in Brentwood and a Volunteer Trustee for Verity the PCOS Charity in which PCOS is a leading cause of sub-fertility issues in women in the UK, affecting 1 in 5 women.



Katie supporting NFAW

Katie is supporting NFAW and raising funds.

She says ‘ Fertility Network are amazing and are an incredible support to those experiencing fertility issues.

If you can spare some change, you’d be donating to an amazing cause 🙂

Follow the discussion @fertilityNUK’

Thanks, Katie

Go to Katie’s JUSTGIVING page

Annual Ferring Cake Bake

The Reproductive Health division at Ferring each year organises a cake sale to raise money for NFAW.

In the last two years they  have raised more than £1,500, selling the cakes that various people make and bring in, with an auction of cakes too.

‘As we are the Reproductive Health division we associate well with the NFAW and thus happily take the opportunity to raise awareness and funds for the cause.’

Thank you to everyone at Ferring for your continued support – and we can’t wait to see those fabulous cake pictures!

Andrology Solutions supporting NFAW #FertilityFellas

Andrology Solutions will be hosting an informal drop-in session for anyone who is in the area between 12 noon and 2 pm every day except Friday for the awareness week.They will have their andrologists on hand to answer any queries you may have about male fertility.
They will also have a cake sale on those days to raise some much needed funds for Fertility Network UK.

75 Wimpole Street London W1G 9RS  Tel 020 7224 2322