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MFS ‘Baby 4,500’ (and 4,501) has arrived!

MFS 'Babies 4,500 and 4,501'

Like all MFS babies, Ellie May Gummerson is a very special baby.  But, with her twin brother Richard, as well as them both meaning ‘the world’ to her parents Libby and Mark, and being their grandparents’ ‘little miracles’, Ellie is also the 4,500th baby born after treatment at MFS.  What an excellent milestone to confirm at the end of the year.

“Congratulations to Libby and Mark on the birth of Ellie and Richard,” said Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director at Midland Fertility Services. “‘MFS Baby 2,500’ was born in May 2003, during the unit’s 16th year and in just more six years, MFS has helped bring another 2,000 much-wanted babies into the lives of so many of our patients.”

Pictured: Ellie and Richard with their parents Libby and Mark Gummerson and (l-r) Mr Robert Subak-Sharpe, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Hereford Hospitals NHS Trust, where they were born, Jill Anthony-Ackery of MFS, which provided the IVF treatment and Cathie Hatherall of NHS Herefordshire, which funded the couple’s treatment.

Read more about Ellie May and Richard Mark in the Made in Aldridge feature.

MFS 10 Years Funding Partnership with NHS Herefordshire

The arrival of ‘Babies 4,500′ and 4,501’, Ellie and Richard Gummerson also celebrates the first 10 years of the partnership between MFS, the PCT NHS Herefordshire and the Hereford Hospitals NHS Trust.  Since 1999, the PCT has funded treatment for more than 200 couples resulting in the birth of 122 babies – including Ellie and Richard.

MFS Christmas and New Year Service

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MFS will be closed for 10 days from Saturday 19 December and re-open with a full regular service on Tuesday 29 December 2009, albeit with a slightly shorter day of 9.00am-4.00pm on Friday 1 January 2010.

Of course, patients who will be part-way through their treatment during the holiday period, and who require advice, can call the 24 hour service on 01922 455911 and listen for the number of the mobile phone to call and speak to one of the senior MFS team. Please note that this service is for medical emergencies only and other enquiries will be dealt with when the unit re-opens in the New Year.  General enquiries may be made via email and replied to as soon as the team is back.

MFS staff will ensure that all patients’ treatments will progress seamlessly over the holiday period.

Four Christmas Belles and a Beau

Staff have recently enjoyed visits from many patients returning to the unit with their new babies. Christmas can be a difficult time for couples who want a baby and are not able to conceive naturally and the New Year often results in a resolution ‘to either be pregnant or to have a baby by next Christmas’.

Four couples who felt that way over the last few years returned to introduce their new babies to the staff who helped them keep such promises and resolutions.

Hannah and David Preston’s daughter Lucy Georgia was born in May 2009.

“Our GP diagnosed PCOS and when he mentioned fertility treatment we started to prepare ourselves for possibly years of expensive treatment so that we could have the baby we wanted so much,” said Hannah.  “But after further tests on me and David, MFS recommended we would probably only need clomiphene citrate tablets to help me to ovulate.  Lucy is proof that not all fertility treatment has to be costly or complicated!

“Two years ago wondered if we’d ever get the chance to have a Christmas with our own baby.  Then last Christmas I was pregnant and this year, we’re Mummy and Daddy to the most beautiful girl in the world – and it didn’t cost us the earth!”

“When couples find out they need fertility treatment to conceive they may worry about the possible costs and the time involved,” said Dr Abey Eapen of MFS.  “But as every patient’s treatment plan at MFS is tailored-made, it is not always necessary to suggest IVF as a first recommendation, but to try something less invasive and not so costly.”

David and Hannah Preston with daughter Lucy and Dr Abey Eapen of MFS (back)
David and Hannah Preston with daughter Lucy and Dr Abey Eapen of MFS (back)
                            
Blaithin Stevenson (right) with daughters Meara and Isla and MFS fertility nurse specialist Tracey Lewis
Blaithin Stevenson (right) with daughters Meara and Isla and MFS fertility nurse specialist Tracey Lewis

Blaithin and Tony Stevenson tried to conceive for four years before having IVF treatment at MFS.  The couple’s daughters Meara Josephine and Isla Marie were born in June 2009 after a single cycle of IVF.

“Two years ago we had to be content with spending Christmas as a childless couple, but this year we’ll be with about 20 of our family and, most importantly, our two precious girls.” said Blaithin.  “This year, Christmas is all about Meara and Isla!”

Vicki and Des Stephen’s son Reuben was born in August 2005, and they waited almost two years before trying for another baby.

Eighteen months later were referred to a hospital specialist and they were advised to try clomiphene citrate tablets to help them conceive naturally.  “By the end of that treatment we’d been trying for more than two years and although we were lucky enough to already have one child, we’d always planned to have at least two children,” said Vicki.  “We couldn’t understand how we had no trouble having our first baby but I couldn’t conceive again.”

Following a single cycle ICSI treatment at MFS, their second son Theo was born on 29 August 2009.  “He has been totally golden since birth and now we have both our precious boys, this Christmas will be perfect,” said Vicki.  “I’d advise any other couple who is having difficulty getting pregnant second time around to get help as soon as possible – there’s no point wasting even more time and suffering in silence.”


Vicki and Des Stephen with son Theo and Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director of MFS (back)
Vicki and Des Stephen with son Theo and Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director of MFS (back)
                                
Simon and Susan Llewellyn and daughter Sadie, with Dr Abey Eapen of MFS
Simon and Susan Llewellyn and daughter Sadie, with Dr Abey Eapen of MFS (left)

Susan and Simon Llewellyn’s daughter Sadie Mae was born in November 2009, following six years of trying to conceive and four cycles of IVF ICSI treatment at MFS.

Following their first appointment at MFS in November 2006, Susan, a former flight attendant and Simon, a commercial airline pilot, had three full cycles of ICSI treatment.  One embryo transfer resulted in a positive pregnancy test but an early scan revealed only a slight heartbeat and Susan lost the pregnancy after just seven weeks.  Two subsequent fresh embryo transfers and a frozen transfer all resulted in negative pregnancy tests.

MFS then advised Susan to have further complex tests to detect the cause of the embryo implantation failure.  One of the tests revealed a blood clotting problem, which is understood to prevent embryos implanting successfully.  However, the condition can be treated with a blood thinning drug, which Susan would take following her next embryo transfer.

Further tests on Simon’s sperm also revealed DNA fragmentation which would reduce its quality and MFS recommended that Simon undergo surgical sperm retrieval as part of the next treatment cycle.

“We wanted to do everything possible to give us a chance of success so we both also went on a three month detox programme, cutting out alcohol and caffeine and taking vitamins and supplements that might help make our bodies as healthy as possible,” said Susan.

Following a fourth ICSI cycle in early 2009, Sadie Mae was born by ventouse delivery at Good Hope Hospital, Sutton Coldfield on 12 November 2009, weighing 8lbs 5oz.

“All the years of struggling to have a baby, the failed treatment cycles, the thousands of pounds we paid for treatment and the worry of the bleeding up to week 20 of my pregnancy all fade to insignificance, now we have Sadie,” said Susan.

“Last Christmas I felt so empty and was determined that we’d be able to share this Christmas with our baby.  So this year will be a magical and exciting time for us, as Sadie is the perfect early Christmas gift.”

“Christmas can be a difficult time for couples who want a baby,” said Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director MFS.  “Including these five babies, almost 300 MFS babies have been born since last Christmas, many to couples who will be celebrating their first Christmas as parents.  MFS sends Christmas wishes to all of them – and to new parents and grandparents everywhere.”


Banking on her Future Fertility

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In 2006 Kate Feld was in her third year at Oxford University when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, aged 20.  Within weeks of discovering a small lump in her neck, her cancer had been diagnosed, she had undergone a short protocol of fertility drugs at MFS, where 28 of her eggs were collected and frozen and she had started her chemotherapy treatment.

She is one of 58 young women diagnosed with cancer , who have had some of their eggs collected and frozen at MFS since 2000, before beginning their cancer treatments, to increase their chance of possible future genetic motherhood.

In November 2009 she returned to MFS for an ovarian reserve test to measure the impact of the chemotherapy and radiotherapy on her fertility.  Read more about Kate’s story and the outcome of the ovarian reserve test in an extended feature in this issue, written by Jill Anthony-Ackery at MFS and also in the winter issue of C21, Understanding and Coping with Cancer magazine.

Breast Friends Sutton Coldfield

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In 2010 MFS main charity activity will support Breast Friends Sutton Coldfield, a self-help group, run by volunteers who have all been diagnosed with breast cancer.  During the year, MFS staff raise funds through dress-down days at work and also through individual sponsored events and next year, Breast Friends will be the main beneficiary.  For more information visit the Breast Friends Sutton Coldfield website.

MUMS@MFS

MFS now offers a range of ante-natal screening services via a satellite service from MUMS –  Midlands Ultrasound Medical Services.

MUMS offers the very latest in nuchal and marker scanning for Down’s and other chromosomal conditions, plus 20 week anomaly and 26 week fetal well-being scans.  In addition, parents-to-be enjoy the reassurance of the latest-technology, non-invasive 4D diagnostic and screening scans, which give much clearer still and DVD images of the baby at 26-28 weeks than regular ultrasound scanning.  All these services are available at MUMS in Solihull, but MUMS@MFS brings them to MFS patients on Thursday afternoons in the familiar environment of the MFS unit.

Led by consultant obstetricians Mr Chris Griffin and Mr Mike Wyldes, the MUMS’ team of ultra-sonographers and midwives offer MFS patients the same high standards of care during their pregnancies, up to and including delivery, as they received during their fertility treatment at MFS.

To make an appointment for ante-natal scanning with MUMS@MFS, contact MUMS on 0121 704 2669.