Royal cel­e­bra­tion of life Hospi­tal has cared for 737 cou­ples strug­gling with

Halifax Courier - - The Gift Of Life - By Laura Tacey

Over the last year, the Calderdale Royal As­sisted Con­cep­tion Unit and Hud­der­s­field Royal In­fir­mary has cared for 737 cou­ples strug­gling with fer­til­ity. An­nu­ally, in the UK, more than 17,000 IVF ba­bies are born and aver­age suc­cess rates have risen to around 25 per cent. The world’s first IVF baby was born in 1978 in a rev­o­lu­tion­ary sci­en­tific ad­vance. To­day, the pro­ce­dure of fer­til­is­ing eggs out­side of the body is a rou­tine med­i­cal pro­ce­dure. Along­side con­cep­tion med­i­cal ad­vances there too has been a shift in people’s at­ti­tude to­wards IVF. When sci­en­tist Robert Ed­wards and gy­nae­col­o­gist col­league Patrick Step­toe an­nounced their hu­man cre­ation rev­e­la­tion it was a sub­ject ini­tially re­jected by so­ci­ety be­cause it did not fit the par­a­digm and brought the sci­en­tific and re­li­gious do­mains into dis­pute. Within Sci­ence there was con­trast­ing con­sen­sus and Ed­wards and Step­toe were re­fused a grant by the Med­i­cal Re­search Coun­cil for the ex­per­i­ment that has changed the lives of in­fer­tile cou­ples around the world. In 2013, the process is gen­er­ally cel­e­brated as a pro­ce­dure for giv­ing a cou­ple the gift of life. Calderdale’s head of unit, Dr De­Bono said since the cre­ation of the unit, in 1996, fer­til­ity has be­come less of a taboo sub­ject and feels the in­ter­net is re­spon­si­ble for break­ing down com­mu­ni­ca­tion barri- ers and pro­vid­ing a wider sup­port net­work for cou­ples en­dur­ing con­cep­tion prob­lems. Men and women who have, or are pre­par­ing to go through IVF have formed on­line sup­port net­works with other cou­ples in the same sit­u­a­tion. Dr De­Bono said he be­lieves the rea­son for year-on-year rise in pa­tients is down to the old adage of word of mouth from sat­is­fied clients and the fact that more people are now pre­pared to do what they can to make par­ent­hood a pos­si­bil­ity. “Word of mouth is a re­flec­tion of our phi­los­o­phy,” said Dr De­Bono. “Our pri­mary im­por­tance is sup­port­ing and en­sur­ing we de­velop qual­ity sup­port to all pa­tients. “Preg­nan­cies will come, that’s the easy bit - but the most im­por­tant bit is sup­port­ing par­ents through their jour­ney. Our sup­port net­work is the plank of our rai­son d’etre.” The unit’s Sis­ter He­len Marvell, said: “We are very proud of our team­work and our close bonds with our fam­i­lies. For us, ev­ery cou­ple is spe­cial and we deliver the treat­ment which is unique to them.” The Halifax unit has also at­tracted Euro­pean cou­ples search­ing for med­i­cal treat­ment in con­cep­tion. For the team, the fruition of their work is cel­e­brated in the an­nual party for par­ents who have con­ceived and given birth to healthy ba­bies through the ward. Hun­dreds of proud moth­ers and fa­thers, along with beau­ti­ful sons and daugh­ters, at­tended this month’s party in a cel­e­bra­tion of as­sisted and suc­cess­ful life.

As­sisted Con­cep­tion Unit. Dr Martin De­Bono and Sis­ter He­len Marvell

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