30 Years for the Fertility Centre at BMI The Priory

Fertility 30 Years

 In April 1989 the Fertility Centre Opened. Following a successful pilot study at Birmingham Women’s Hospital which resulted in the birth of Birmingham first ‘test tube’ baby in 1987. The same team lead by Mr Robert Sawers came to the Priory Hospital to Open the Fertility Centre, then called the Edgbaston Suite. The original team included consultants Mr Robert Sawers, Mr Manjit Obhrai, Mr John Ff Watts, Mr Sabah Baghdadi, anaesthetist Dr Andy Malins, embryologist Jane Cuthbert and nurse Sister Jane Covington (now Baghdadi).

At this time there were only a handful of Fertility Units in the UK and success rates were much lower than we expect today. Nevertheless a technique called GIFT (Gamete Intra Fallopian Transfer) which involved the stimulation and collection of eggs by laparoscopy and then the selection of one, two, three or four eggs to return to the body in the fallopian tubes along with sperm,  proved to be a successful way to treat some patients, with a success rate at Priory of 22.29% per cycle.

Although GIFT could help couples with unexplained infertility it could not help patients with blocked fallopian tubes or those where the male partner had a low sperm count. It was therefore crucial to develop a success IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) programme, where eggs are stimulated, collected and then fertilized and cultured outside the body in an incubator offering  more chance to conceive to more patients.

Priory 30 years Fertility

 The popularity of the centre began to grow and patient numbers increased year on year. More staff were recruited. In 1999 we appointed Amrit Surdhar as a trainee embryologist, now our Laboratory Manager and Sister Claire Thompson as a Fertility Nurse Specialist and now our Egg Donation Co-ordiantor. More consultants joined our team, Mr Masoud Afnan, Mr Khaldoon Shariff and Mrs Susan Blunt. Numbers continued to grow and success rates improved. The centre continued to prosper adding more and more services to its offering including a very popular donor sperm bank which at its best was providing donor sperm to many centres across the UK and Channel Islands. In 2004 and 2005 we appointed Embryologist and now Quality Manager Dr Melanie Lake and Sister Katie Roberts Fertility nurse Specialist and Sperm Donor Co-ordinator and consulant Urologist Mr Zaki Allmallah. To support our interest in the investigation of Male Infertility we appointed a specialist Andrologist Joanne Turner in 2007. The most recent to join our team are Fertility Specialist HCA Anna Mc Nicholas in 2015, Sister Theresa McAuliffe Fertility Nurse Specialist who started in 2016. In 2017 consultants Miss Lynne Robinson and Dr Pete Millns joined our team , and Hannah Cuthbert Trainee Embryologist who joined in 2018.

Priory 30 Fertility

 Our fantastic work is supported by our extraordinary admin team Gemma Marke, Rebecca Hare, Denise Mace and Jackie Hare and our patients are equally supported throughout their journey by our Counsellor Astrid Gibbs.

We are able to offer treatment to a much wider range of patients now than we did in the beginning. Success rates across all ages and indications for treatment are 28.1% per cycle, for patients under 38 years and having IVF or ICSI have an ongoing pregnancy rate is 42.7% per cycle. During the 30 years the clinic has been open we have treated more than 10,000 patients and to date 3331 babies have been born.

The most popular names for babies are Amelia and George. Most common name for patients is Susan and David.

Date: 17th April 2019