Fertility news

New stimulation Regimens added

For patients who have been diagnosed with poor ovarian reserve or who have had previous treatments cancelled due to poor production of eggs, the Fertility unit is delighted to offer new treatment regimens with different medication that has been shown to offer better ovarian response and improve outcomes. These are discussed with suitable patients at their initial consultation if appropriate (Apr 10)

Further decreases in Multiple pregnancies

The pregnancy figures for 2009 show the effect of single embryo and blastocysts transfer policy with only one multiple pregnancy from IVF/ICSI treatment in the whole year ( a rate of 2%). This is far below the HFEAs guidance of 15%. (Feb 10)

Links to overseas egg donation

As well as offering links with egg donation services via the Hewitt Centre the Fertyility Unit at the Countess of Chester recognises couples desires to seek efficacious and timely treatment abroad. The fertility unit at the Countess has established links with an IVF unit in Northern Cyprus which provides treatment in accordance with HFEA and BFS guidelines in a unit that has demonstrated quality management. Patients are able to undergo the bulk of their monitoring in Chester (Jan 10)

Countess of Chester retains Quality standard

We are delighted to announce that the Countess of Chester assisted conception unit has retained its previously awarded quality management award of both ISO 9001 (International Standards organisation) and the British Standards. These awards reflect a continued improvement in high quality care. (Nov 09)

New Licence For Fertility Unit

We are delighted to announce that following our first full inspection by the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) in December that the Assisted Conception Unit at Chester has been granted a 5 year License. Licenses can be issued for anywhere between 1 yr and the maximum 5 years. The granting of such a long license was a reflection of the excellent work that has been put into place to ensure a consistent quality of care. (April 09)

New treatments offered

We are delighted to announce the expansion of fertility treatments now available at the Countess of Chester Hospital. (Mar 09)

Egg freezing

With the introduction of a new freezing technique called Vitrification, the Countess of Chester in conjunction with the Hewitt centre is now able to offer egg freezing for women. This procedure has been used in a number of centres in the UK with good results. In some exceptional cases this may be available on the NHS for preservation of fertility prior to surgery or chemotherapy. For Women wishing to "insure" their future fertility and delay conception this is available on a self funding basis. (link to prices page)

Egg sharing

For Women under the age of 36 who are ineligible for NHS treatment and cannot fund self funding IVF treatment, the option now exists to subsidise their IVF treatment by donating a proportion of their eggs collected at IVF to Women who require donor eggs. This treatment is utilised in many centres throughout the UK and offers both subsidised treatment for women wanting IVF treatment as well as providing a greater supply of eggs to treat women requiring egg donation. Women will need to undergo screening with blood tests as well as counselling before treatment. For couples interested in egg sharing their treatment including monitoring and egg collection can now be offered at the Countess of Chester. (link to prices page)

Egg Donation

The number of Women who require egg donation to achieve a pregnancy has been growing over the last 10 years and thus traditionally the waiting times for egg donation in the UK were long, however with increasing supply of eggs through egg sharing these treatment times are reducing significantly . The Countess is pleased to announce that Egg Donation can now be offered in conjunction with the Liverpool Womens Hospital and that the majority of treatment can be offered locally. For couples who wish to go abroad for treatment , links are established with centres in Spain and Cyprus that offer more rapid treatment, whilst again the majority of monitoring and treatment can still be provided in the UK.

Sperm DNA fragmentation

For some individuals poor success rates with ICSI and IVF may be linked to damage within the sperm itself. Specialist tests on this sperm including an assessment of the damage to the DNA can be made via The Hewitt centre and Northwest Fertility.

Frozen Pregnancy rates up

For couples who have an excess of embryos created from their treatment, freezing these embryos provides the opportunities for a "second attempt" or for creating future sibling pregnancies. At the Countess of Chester we are delighted in conjunction with the Hewitt centre to announce an ever improving pregnancy rate from these defrosted embryos. In 2008, 83 cycles of treatment were started and in 76 cycles embryos were successfully defrosted and replaced with 17 cycles resulting in a clinical ongoing pregnancy (23%). Especially pleasing was that for couples where the female partner was over 40 pregnancy rates were very good 3/10(30%). (Feb09)

Multiple pregnancy rates down

At the Countess of Chester we have long been aware of the risks associated with multiple pregnancies and the desire to reduce twin pregnancy rates (link to document multiple pregnancy rates), however in 2008 the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority launched a strategy to reduce multiple pregnancy rates from Assisted Conception in the UK. This strategy called One by one set out targets that by 2009 less than 25% of pregnancies would be multiple, and that this would reduce 10 <15% and then <10% by 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Here at the Countess of Chester in conjunction with the Hewitt centre we have utilising treatments such as Blastocyst transfer to reduce multiple pregnancy rates whilst maintaining pregnancy rates. This has been so successful that of the 69 clinical pregnancies from IVF/ICSI last year only 9 were twin pregnancy (with one of these an identical twin). This meant that multiple pregnancy rates from "fresh" IVF/ICSI were 11.5% last year, and 11% from Frozen cycles. (Feb09)

Countess of Chester fertility Unit continues to grow

2008 saw the Countess of Chester Hospital provide more cycles of IVF and ICSI treatment than ever before. In 2008, 248 cycles of treatment were provided, compared to 220 the previous year. This itself was a dramatic increase from 98 cycles in 2004, 139 in 2005 and 149 in 2006. This clearly shows the increased provision of NHS treatment provided by the Primary care trusts. (Jan 09)

NHS IVF waiting times down

At the Countess of Chester we are delighted to announce further shortening of waiting times. Due to the investment of the Primary care trusts in providing an increased provision of treatments couples who are eligible for NHS treatment now do not have to experience excessive waits for treatment. For couples listed for NHS IUI treatment, the first treatment can usually start with their next menstrual cycle, and for couples undergoing NHS IVF treatment their clinic appointment to plan their treatment will often be within 2 months. (Dec08)

Countess of Chester gains Quality standard

We are delighted to announce that the Countess of Chester assisted conception unit has gained the accredited quality management award of both ISO 9001 (International Standards organisation) and the British Standards. These awards reflect an immense amount of work to ensure that quality of care happens by design and that every step is taken to ensure that the systems we use deliver consistent safe effective and high quality care. (Nov 08)

AMH now offered

For many years clinicians have been trying to estimate what reserve of eggs patients may have, as well as assessing how patients may respond to the medication in IVF treatment. This would hopefully reduce cancelled cycles due to poor responses as well as more importantly reducing the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation syndrome.

In the past a blood test called FSH that had to be taken whilst the Woman was menstruating was utilised with reasonable success.

We are now however delighted to be able to offer a much more accurate blood test that can be taken at any stage of the menstrual cycle. Called Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) this has been shown to be a much more reliable/ predictive test of response and will hopefully reduce further the need to cancel cycles as well as inform the patient more clearly with regards to their fertility potential.

Currently this test is not provided on the NHS , but for a small fee can be obtained through the fertility Unit. (Aug 08)

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