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.
Arrow In this section

Each year the Department provides more than 1,200 cycles of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, 500 cycles of replacement of cryopreserved embryos and 100 cycles of insemination with partner sperm (IUI) and donor sperm (DI).

The range of clinical services also include cryopreservation of sperm, 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 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.  It is also referred to as fertility treatment.

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 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) – with/without superovulation
  • Egg, Sperm and Embryo donation
  • In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) – with husband or donor sperm
  • Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) – with husband or donor sperm
  • Frozen Embryo Replacement Cycle (FER)
  • Surgical sperm retrieval (SSR)
  • Fertility preservation – sperm, egg and ovarian tissue storage
  • Surrogacy

We recognise that these treatments can be very demanding and stressful for couples.  Our aim is to simplify your journey through your treatment process and provide an explanation of how, when and why things are done during the treatment cycle. Each couple is given an individualised plan of care to maximise their chances of pregnancy.

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.


Who can be referred?

As well as heterosexual couples, we accept referrals for same sex couples and single women.

For female couples the eligibility criteria will apply to the female that will be receiving the treatment.  You must have had at least six attempts of artificial insemination or IUI prior to referral.

Male couples – please refer to the section on Surrogacy.

How many cycles will we be entitled to?

Your eligibility for assisted conception treatment will depend on your Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Your CCG is defined by the geographical location of your GP practice (not your home address).

Your entitlement will be between 0 and 3 cycles and we will ask your CCG how many cycles they will fund for you.

You can ask your GP for your CCG’s current IVF funding status.

Our Team

We have a large team of Consultants and Doctors, Embryologists, Andrologists, Nurses, Counsellors and Administrative staff working together to deliver the highest quality care.


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.  Access cannot be gained via the new Saint Mary’s Hospital building.

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

IVF research

Here at Saint Mary’s Hospital, 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 a Research Nurse and an Assistant Research Practitioner within the department and a variety of scientific staff, based here and at the University of Manchester & Manchester Metropolitan University. Professor Daniel Brison is responsible for the research studies in this department. All our research studies are HFEA approved & licensed and we hold the longest HFEA license, as well as 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 voluntary and clinical care is not affected by their decision to participate or not.