Reproductive Medicine

The Department of Reproductive Medicine at Saint Mary’s Hospital was established in 1982 and was the first fully-NHS funded IVF unit in the UK and provides the full range of infertility services to the North West of England.
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The Department of Reproductive Medicine provides the whole range of medical and surgical treatment options for couples and individuals with fertility problems in the Northwest of England. Depending on the needs and clinical features of patients, we can provide fertility testing, ovulation induction, laparoscopic and open surgery and assisted conception. Each year the Department provides around 1,200 cycles of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, 500 cycles of frozen embryo replacement (FER), 100 cycles of insemination with partner or donor sperm (IUI) and 200 fertility preservation procedures for males and females .

The range of clinical services also include cryopreservation of sperm, eggs, embryos and treatment of couples with donated eggs and embryos.

Our Andrology laboratory provides diagnostic clinical pathology services, one of the largest long term sperm banks for cancer patients in the UK, and also houses the UK’s national external quality assurance schemes for Reproductive Science (UK NEQAS RS).

The work of the Department is regulated and licensed by UK statutory bodies including the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).  The Department operates to the EU Cells and Tissues Directive 2007, including provision of clean-air facilities for IVF and a full Quality Management system.

What is assisted conception?

Assisted conception, also called fertility treatment, is a term used to describe the methods available to help couples become pregnant when they have difficulty conceiving.

Approximately 1 in 6 couples find it hard to become pregnant in the UK.

Why might assisted conception be required?

There can be a number of reasons, or combinations of reasons, why a couple might need assistance to become pregnant:

Female Factors:

  • Failure to ovulate.
  • Blocked or fluid filled fallopian tubes.
  • Endometriosis.
  • Age (older women).
  • Unexplained.
  • Other.

Male Factors:

  • Low number of sperm.
  • Poor sperm movement (poor motility).
  • Low number of normal looking sperm.

What treatment options are available?

We offer a range of fertility treatments including:

  • Ovulation induction: Clomiphene (tablets), Gonadotropins (injections)
  • Intrauterine insemination of sperm (IUI – using partner/donor sperm)
  • Egg, Sperm and Embryo donation
  • In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
  • Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
  • Frozen Embryo Replacement Cycle (FER)
  • Surgical sperm retrieval (SSR)
  • Fertility preservation – sperm and egg
  • Surrogacy

We recognise that these treatments can be very demanding and stressful for couples.  A counselling service is available to provide the necessary emotional support during, before and after your treatment. We aim to empower you by explaining clearly the steps of your treatment process.

Each couple is given an individualised plan of care to maximise their chances of pregnancy in a safe and effective way.

Each treatment cycle can vary from 4-8 weeks and it may not necessarily synchronise with the female menstrual cycle.

Different couples could have different drug regimes and the number of embryos replaced through a treatment cycle may also vary between patients.

Who can be referred?

We accept referrals for heterosexual or same-sex couples, single women and individuals with concerns about their fertility. Referral should be made by your doctor or hospital consultant.

Who is eligible for treatment?

When you are referred, we ask you to complete a proforma which allows us to determine whether or not you are eligible for NHS tests and treatment. This depends on several factors, including your length of stay in the UK, relationship status, age, previous treatment and previous children, if any.

Unfortunately this means that, even if you are referred to our clinic, you may not be eligible for tests or treatment.

Male couples – please refer to the section on Surrogacy.

How many cycles will we be entitled to?

We cannot tell you this until your consultation appointment, when your assessment is complete. Eligibility criteria for NHS-funded assisted conception treatment are determined by your Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and differ from one area to another. In order to determine whether you are eligible for NHS-funded treatment, we need to assess factors such as your age, weight, lifestyle, existing children and the number of previous fertility treatments you have received. NHS funded treatment can only be offered if you meet all the criteria laid down by your CCG. If you wish to know the exact details of the criteria in your area please contact your GP or CCG. Please note that we do not have the authority to provide NHS-funded treatment to couples who do not meet the criteria laid down by the CCG.

What happens if you are not eligible for NHS-funded treatment?

If you are not eligible for NHS-funded assisted conception treatment, we may be able to offer you some investigations and expert advice on your options. We also offer a fee-paying service for patients who are not eligible for NHS funding.

Our Team

We have a large team of doctors (consultants and clinical fellows), embryologists, andrologists, nurses, counsellors and administrative staff working together to deliver the highest quality of care. You will come into contact with different members of the team during different parts of your treatment.

Location

The Department of Reproductive Medicine and the Andrology Unit are located in the old Saint Mary’s Hospital building.  There is a dedicated entrance on Oxford Road, opposite Whitworth Park. Disabled access is available via Hathersage Road or York Place Entrance. Access cannot be gained via the new Saint Mary’s Hospital building.

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Success Rates

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which is the licensing body in the UK for assisted conception treatment, publishes details of success rates for each provider in the UK.

You can read more about success rates here.

How can I access your services?

You need to be referred by your GP or Consultant Gynaecologist.

We also offer a fee-paying service for those who are ineligible for NHS funding, such as if you already have a child, or if you have reached the quota of funded cycles offered by your CCG. For more information about this please visit our website www.manchesterivf.co.uk.

IVF research

The Saint Mary’s Hospital IVF unit is active in research aiming to improve the success rate and safety of fertility treatment and you may be approached to participate in research studies during your treatment here. We are constantly striving to improve IVF results by introducing new techniques and increasing scientific knowledge of fertilisation and embryo development. The success rate of IVF is continually improving as a result of on-going research.

We have Research Nurses and a variety of scientific staff. Professor Daniel Brison is responsible for the research studies in this department. Our research studies are HFEA approved & licensed and we hold the longest HFEA license, as well as being one of the top academic and research active units within the UK.

A number of the studies require couples to donate their sperm, egg or embryos which are unsuitable for their treatment, and would otherwise be discarded to research, whilst other studies are looking to improve clinical treatment. The research is completely voluntary and clinical care is not affected by your decision to participate in research or not. This means that you can decide whether or not to take part in the research, and your treatment will not be affected by your decision.

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Consultants