Category Archives: News

Simply Fertility’s Embryologist and Laboratory Director Andy Glew looks back at four decades of fertility treatment

As National Fertility Week gets ready to celebrate 40 years since the birth of the first IVF baby, Simply Fertility’s Embryologist and Laboratory Director Andy Glew looks back at four decades of fertility treatment:

“My career started in 1984 when I was given the opportunity to work in a government funded institute specialising in animal reproduction and genetic research.  My position was funded by Professor Iain Craft, a pioneer in IVF treatment, and I soon found myself working in some of the most prestigious private hospitals across London.

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21 km walk along the Cotswold Way

On Saturday 11 November Antonia Rodriguez, Rachel Watson, Johanne Young & Kath Lambert set out to walk a section of the Cotswold Way. Despite the cold and wet weather they continued on in the mud and rain for over 21kms, rising both funds and awareness for National Fertility Awareness Week.

Released: 12 November 2017

2017: 40th anniversary of IVF success

#IVFis40 #TalkFertility #NFAWUK

Local Antonia Rodriguez and Kath Lambert plus a couple of friends took on the Cotswolds Way on Saturday 11th November to join forces with leading national patient charity Fertility Network UK to raise funds and awareness for the charity which has recently had its National Fertility Awareness Week (30 Oct – 5 Nov 2017) which this year is celebrating 40 years since IVF’s first success and getting people talking about the real facts about fertility.

Antonia and Kath walked a section of the Cotswolds Way starting at Chipping Campden taking on its hilly terrain with thick mist and wet and muddy conditions.

Aileen Feeney, chief executive of Fertility Network UK said: ‘On 10 November 1977, IVF worked: nine months later on 25 July 1978, the world’s first IVF baby, Louise Brown was born. Since then a quarter of a million UK babies have been born by IVF.  We are encouraging everyone touched by IVF to share their #IVFis40 memories – patients, IVF children and professionals.’

‘At the heart of the week was #TalkFertility – getting people talking about the real facts about fertility. Share our fertility myths and help shatter some common misconceptions about fertility and age, men and whether you can expect to pay for IVF, and download our fertility etiquette guide looking at what to say, what not to say and how best to provide support for loved ones facing fertility issues.’

‘The results of our #FertilityFellas survey will be revealing the truth about men and fertility, our funding campaign #IVFGoldStandard is demanding change to make access to NHS IVF services fair for all, and our fantastic fundraisers are joining the #FertilityCycle 5K challenge.’

‘In the UK, 1 in 6 couples experience the pain of infertility. Even if you don’t have direct experience, you probably know someone who does – a family member, friend or work colleague. We hope people will join us during National Fertility Awareness Week and after raising funds, improving awareness, providing support and changing perceptions about fertility issues.’

National Fertility Awareness Week: providing support, improving awareness, raising funds and changing perceptions




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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Postcode And Pay Packet – Not Medical Need – Key Factors In Access To IVF In The UK

From Huffington Post

Susan Seenan, chief executive of leading patient charity Fertility Network UK and co-chair of campaign group Fertility Fairness

If you need fertility treatment to have a baby, your post code and your pay packet – and not your medical need – are the key factors in whether you will be able to try IVF.

New data from campaign group Fertility Fairness released at the start of National Fertility Awareness Week shows the number of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England offering the recommended 3 IVF cycles to eligible women under 40 has halved in the last 5 years: just 12 per cent now follow national guidance, down from 24 per cent in 2013.

In contrast, the number of CCGs which have removed NHS IVF has almost doubled in the last year. There are now 7 areas which do not provide NHS IVF: Mid-Essex, North East Essex, South Norfolk, Basildon and Brentwood, Croydon, Herts Valleys and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – and more areas are considering following suit.

fertility fairness

A striking north-south divide exists in terms of NHS IVF provision. Scotland is by far the best place to live – all clinically eligible women under 40 can access the ‘IVF Gold Standard’: 3 full IVF cycles and access to treatment if one of a couple has a child from a previous relationship.

Just 4 areas in England offer this IVF Gold Standard and all are in Greater Manchester: Bury, Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale, Tameside and Glossop, and Oldham – the birth place of IVF 40 years ago. Everywhere else in England it is a postcode lottery as to what level of care you will receive – the majority of areas offer 1 partial IVF cycle and refuse access to treatment if one of a couple has a child from a previous relationship. For information on the level of care each English CCG provides and how they rank, click here.

In Wales or Northern Ireland there is parity of care, but neither offers the IVF Gold Standard: in Wales, clinically eligible women under 40 are offered 2 full IVF cycles and access to treatment if one of a couple has a child from a previous relationship; in Northern Ireland clinically eligible women under 40 are offered 1 partial IVF cycle and access to treatment if one of a couple has a child from a previous relationship.

This National Fertility Awareness Week we are commemorating 40 years of IVF, 40 years of a life-changing technology pioneered in England. However, that achievement means nothing if only those who can afford private IVF benefit. The Government should be ashamed that, after 40 years of IVF, it is your postcode and your pay packet, and not your medical need, which are the key determinants of whether you will be able to try IVF.

fertility fairness

In England, as well as cutting the number of IVF cycles offered, CCGs are finding alternative ways to reduce provision. National Institute for Heath and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend that eligible couples should have access to 3 full IVF cycles, where a full cycle of IVF treatment is defined as one round of ovarian stimulation followed by the transfer of all resultant fresh or frozen embryos. However, approaching half of all CCGs (49 per cent) use their own definition of what constitutes a full IVF cycle – and only transfer a finite number of embryos, rather than all resultant embryos.

Some CCGs stipulate entirely arbitrary age criteria for access to NHS IVF, in contravention of NICE’s guidelines stating that eligible women under 40 should be offered 3 full IVF cycles and eligible women aged 40-42 should be offered 1 full IVF cycle. Approaching half of all CCGs (48 per cent) do not offer NHS IVF to women aged 40-42; 10 per cent of CCGs refuse access to NHS IVF if women are over 35. And a few are currently consulting on proposals to only offer NHS fertility services to women aged between 30-35.

Sarah Norcross, co-chair of Fertility Fairness said: ‘The scale of disinvestment in NHS fertility services is at its worst since NICE introduced national fertility guidelines in 2004. Fertility Fairness is calling for full implementation of the NICE guidelines, standardisation of eligibility criteria across England and the development of a national tariff in England for tertiary fertility services – eliminating regional cost variants and removing a key barrier to CCGs’ compliance with national guidelines.’