MFS Appeals for ‘Woman to Woman’ Egg Donors
Did you know that women can receive low cost, high quality IVF treatment at MFS, within weeks if they become egg sharers and agree to donate half their eggs from a treatment cycle to other women who need donor eggs to conceive?
MFS has launched a campaign to let women know about the availability of egg sharing. The Woman to Woman campaign appeals to woman who need IVF treatment but who have to pay for it. By becoming egg sharers they can get the treatment they want for a vastly reduced cost, within weeks.
“The need for donor eggs vastly exceeds the availability,” said Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director of Aldridge-based Midland Fertility Services (MFS). “For many women who are involuntarily childless, having IVF treatment using eggs donated by another woman is their only hope of ever becoming a mother.”
“MFS welcomes enquiries from any woman who would consider donating some of her eggs as part of her own IVF treatment,” continued Dr Lockwood. “Egg share donation enables women to have the IVF they need, but for a fraction of the cost, whilst knowing that they are also helping another woman to have a baby.”
Newspaper and bus adverts around the region will ask ‘What do women really want?’ and encourage potential egg donors to contact MFS for more information.
“Even a nice house, expensive holidays or a good career can come to mean little to a woman who wants to have a baby but who can’t get pregnant. To fulfil her dream, she may have to accept the amazing gift of another woman’s eggs,” said Dr Lockwood.
“Just as some people find satisfaction in ‘live’ organ donation, women who have been egg donors can enjoy the knowledge that they have given another woman a chance of getting pregnant and giving birth to the baby she’s always dreamed of having.”
Egg sharing was first introduced to MFS in 1990 and since 1998 almost 7% of all babies born from IVF and ICSI treatment at the clinic were conceived from donor eggs. Currently many women go abroad for treatment with donor eggs but many others resign themselves to a life without any child. Since 2005, when the law changed allowing donor-conceived people aged 18+years the right to know the identity of the donor, the number of egg and sperm donors declined rapidly. Donors are needed from all ethnic groups, particularly White, Indian, Pakistani and Black African.
Charlotte Manning* from Staffordshire was diagnosed with premature menopause in 2005, aged 34. After waiting for two years for donor eggs she and her husband were told that MFS had matched her to a suitable donor. Following just a single cycle of IVF at MFS, their son was born in 2008.
“Words cannot express how I feel about the woman who gave me the greatest gift of all,” said Charlotte*. “That he was conceived from a donor egg makes no difference to how I feel about him – he has my husband’s genes, it’s my blood that flows through his veins and I gave birth to him. Everyday I look at my son and know how lucky I am.”
Egg donors are rigorously screened and care is taken to match the eggs of suitable donors to recipients. Both donors and recipients at MFS are offered full support from the nursing and counselling teams to ensure they are happy with the decisions they take before any treatment begins.
*Patient’s name has been changed to protect the identity of her son.
IBSA Drug Study at MFS
MFS was very pleased to be chosen as one of only three IVF units in the UK to take part in an important new clinical trial.
We all know how important ‘luteal phase support’ is after embryo transfer as it is vital to stabilise the endometrium and give the embryos or blastocysts a good chance to implant. Currently MFS uses Cyclogest pessaries or hCG injections. Cyclogest works well but is rather messy and needs to be taken three times a day and hCG injections are only suitable where relatively few eggs are obtained as these injections carry an increased risk of the patient developing OHSS.
Injected progesterone has been available for many years and is widely used in the US, but the injections are very painful as they have to be given deep into the muscle of the buttock with a big needle every day.
IBSA, the company that makes Fostimon has now produced an injectable progesterone which can be given by sub-cutaneous injection with a tiny needle which is much more comfortable. The comparison drug is a vaginal progesterone gel called Crinone which only has to be used once a day. Patients who are eligible to enter the study are randomly allocated to either IBSA progesterone or Crinone after their egg collection. The great advantage is that both the Fostimon for ovarian stimulation and either the IBSA progesterone or the Crinone are provided free of charge, so it can really help to reduce the cost of an IVF or ICSI cycle. The early results look very promising and the MFS clinical team is convinced that the chance of achieving a pregnancy is just as good as with the standard luteal phase support – and might even be greater.
If you are interested in finding out more about the study then please speak to your fertility nurse before planning your IVF cycle.
Michelle Supports Vitrification
Michelle Rafferty wanted to support the ‘brilliant work’ of MFS by making a donation to the unit of something that would have long-lasting benefits. Since then she has applied her fantastic networking skills, called in many favours and even had her head shaved(!), to raise money to support on-going vitrification training for the embryologists, following the introduction of the new ‘freezing’ process at MFS in December 2008. In February she called into the unit with a cheque for £1,200, in addition to an earlier donation of £200, which she presented to clinical embryologist Gina Aldis, who has been leading the implementation of vitrification.
“As a former MFS patient, I have received amazing support from the staff and I wanted to give something back to clinic,” said Michelle. “Vitrification is an important new development which will help other patients to have the babies they want.”
“Michelle was determined to support the work of the unit and we so appreciate her unlimited generosity and her formidable spirit,” said Gina. Vitrification is transforming the way MFS ‘freezes’ eggs and blastocysts and Michelle’s generous gift will ensure that the patients continue to benefit from the embryologists on-going learning about vitrification.”
Maintaining the Standard
As part of the unit’s BSI BS EN ISO 9001:2008 accreditation, MFS recently had a three year strategic review which noted only one minor non-conformity during the entire three year audit cycle and so recommended re-certification to the standard. MFS was the first fertility clinic in the world to achieve ISO recognition and continues to maintain the highest standards required for compliance.