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