Latest News

New Patient Literature and Treatment Folders

Treatment booklets and leaflets, consent forms, drugs plans, letters and invoices!  Every patient receives so many of these during any treatment cycle and so by January new and existing (depending where they are in treatment) patients will receive an A4 folder to store all the paperwork relating to their treatment at MFS, which needs to brought to every appointment.  Divided into the following sections:

  • general information
  • treatment planning to egg collection/IUI
  • egg collection/IUI to pregnancy test
  • correspondence
  • finance
  • consent forms
  • miscellaneous,

the Patient Treatment Information (PTI) folder will have a space for everything received from MFS, for easy future reference.  And all the treatment information has been redesigned into new-style MFS Infosheets, which succinctly describe any investigation, treatment, service or issue on up to just two sides of A4.  What’s more . . all the infosheets come ready hole-punched for easy filing! All new patients will receive the folder at their first appointment, and also patients who are currently in-treatment before their follow-up appointment, will receive theirs at their next visit to MFS.

Sperm and Egg Donors to Receive Improved Financial Compensation

Midland Fertility Services (MFS) welcomes a decision on increasing donors’ loss of earnings as it may encourage more men and women to donate their sperm and eggs.


In the announcement on 19 October 2011, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) recommended that clinics will be able to offer donors compensation which better reflects their expenses:

  • for sperm donors, a fixed sum of £35 per visit including expenses
  • for egg donors, a fixed sum of £750 per cycle of donation including expenses

Currently donors can claim only out of pocket expenses and a loss of earnings allowance capped at £250.

However, MFS is sure that altruism, rather than payment, will continue to be the main reason that people choose to become donors.

“The need for donor sperm and eggs is always much greater than the availability,” said Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director of MFS.  “Currently at MFS the waiting list for donor sperm is three to six months, but women who require donor eggs wait for up to two years for a suitable match to become available.  The majority of donor eggs come from donors who are known to the recipients, or from egg sharers – women who agree to give half their eggs in return for reduced cost IVF treatment.

“This decision from the HFEA will hopefully encourage more men to become regular sperm donors and more women, who have completed their families, to donate eggs to women who cannot conceive with their own.

“An increase in the number of local donors will also discourage couples from seeking IVF treatment with donor eggs and sperm abroad, often in countries where fertility treatment is not adequately regulated, putting themselves, and any babies they may conceive, at risk.”

In 2003 MFS carried out 73 treatment cycles with donor eggs – but by 2010 this had decreased to 11, despite a greater demand for donor eggs.  Similarly, in 2002 MFS carried out a total of 322 treatment cycles using donor sperm, which by 2010 had more than halved to just 138.

Since 1992, 187 babies have been born after their mothers received treatment using donor eggs at MFS and since 1991 more than 700 babies have been born using donor sperm.  That’s almost 900 babies born to people who would not otherwise have had the chance to be parents.

People need the gift of donor eggs and sperm for many reasons.  For example, some women experience early menopause or ovarian failure and men may become infertile through illness or accident or through genetic conditions.

Mrs B of Birmingham was diagnosed with premature menopause aged 29.  She waited for two years for donor eggs for her IVF treatment at MFS, which resulted in her becoming a mother in 2008.  “There is such a scarcity of donor eggs that I would welcome anything that means more women will donate.  I’d prefer donors to do it because they know their eggs are a gift that can’t be compared to anything else, but if the extra money helps them to actually become donors, more women like me will have the chance of being a mum.”

Mr H of Warwickshire has been a regular sperm donor at MFS.  He commented on today’s announcement: “It’s a big decision to donate, but for me was motivated by the pain of my sister going through fertility treatment and it also gave me the chance ‘to give something back’.  Personally I’d encourage any man who is interested in being a donor to go ahead right away, not because of how much he can earn from it, but because it’s a good thing to do and can have such a positive and lasting impact on people’s lives.”

All donors at MFS receive full counselling before they are accepted onto the donor programmes.  They are also rigorously screened to ensure that the recipients have the very best chance of conceiving.

To gauge suitability as a donor, complete:

Alternatively call MFS via 01922 455911 for more information about becoming a donor.

For further information on the decisions taken by the HFEA on the donation review, see:

Heidi at Surrogacy UK AGM

Heidi Birch
Heidi Birch

Director of nursing services, Heidi Birch was an invited guest speaker at the Surrogacy UK AGM in October.  Her presentation covered assisted reproduction techniques and focused on IVF, ICSI, egg donation and egg freezing and also addressed the challenge of reducing multiple pregnancies.

The meeting is an annual event and provides an opportunity for surrogates and intended parents to meet together and discuss issues through workshops or informally.  It was a child-friendly meeting with craft and face painting activities for the children, many of whom were as a result of surrogacy arrangements.

For more information on surrogacy at MFS.

Dr Lockwood went to . . . Sweden

Dr Gillian Lockwood
Dr Gillian Lockwood

Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director, recalls her recent visit to Sweden:  “When I was invited by IVF colleagues in Scandinavia to undertake a ‘Lecture tour of Sweden’ to talk about ‘Social Egg Freezing’ I was thrilled.  Sweden has an excellent record in IVF and ICSI, having pioneered Elective Single Embryo Transfer (eSET) in Europe and enjoys generous state funded fertility provision. Couples can access free treatment at State hospitals to achieve a first birth and get re-imbursed drug costs for treatment at private clinics.

“Sweden was one of the first countries to promote ‘identity release’ for donor gamete treatment and they have an active fertility preservation programme for male and female cancer patients.  But ‘social’ egg freezing and surrogacy are not allowed and donor gametes cannot be used in conjunction with IVF.

“Since MFS was one of the pioneers of egg freezing in the UK and all the babies born in the UK so far started their lives as eggs frozen in Aldridge, IVF practitioners in Sweden were keen to hear about our experience of egg freezing with special reference to ‘social’ freezing. Just as in the UK, the average age of first birth in Sweden is rising rapidly and is currently 29, and although Sweden has fantastic fully-paid maternity/paternity leave and highly subsidised pre-school nurseries, many couples delay trying for a baby and then discover that time is running out, and many women know that they deeply want to be mothers but just can’t find the right relationship at the right time.

“In my lectures in Gotenburg, Stockholm and Malmo, I spoke to groups of IVF doctors, nurses and embryologists and explained the potential that ‘social’ (elective) egg freezing offers women a chance to be genetic mothers rather than having to rely on donor eggs in order to have a baby one day.  The ethical, social and economic arguments are complex, but the fact remains that, on current projections, 30% of women will end up at 40 involuntarily childless and IVF success rates for women over 40 using their own eggs are very low.

“The Swedish clinics were also very interested to hear about the specialist role that our the fertility nurse specialists and clinical midwives play at MFS.  Few Swedish fertility nurses can scan, and when I explained, that at MFS, our fertility nurse specialists not only scan, but also do egg collections, embryos transfers, surgical sperm retrievals and provide a wide range of diagnostic and counselling services, they were amazed and keen to visit.

“The finale of the visit, however, was sad.  At the end of the last lecture, I went to collect my belongings from the cloakroom to travel to the airport and fly home and found that my suitcase, my laptop and all my travel documents had been stolen.  Fortunately, I still had my passport and my mobile phone and was able to get home . . .”

Laptops’ Impact on Sperm


“The digital age has left men’s nether parts in a squeeze, if you believe the latest science on sperm, laptops and wireless connections,” reports Frederik Joelving for Reuters Health.

“In a report in the venerable medical journal Fertility and Sterility, Argentinian scientists describe how they got sperm samples from 29 healthy men, placed a few drops under a laptop connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi and then hit download.

“Four hours later, the sperm was, eh, well-done.

“A quarter of the sperm were no longer swimming around, for instance, compared to just 14 percent from semen samples stored at the same temperature away from the computer.”

Read the full article via Reuters Health

Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic

recurrent miscarriage service

MFS offers a dedicated service for women who have experienced recurrent miscarriages, which is available to existing patients and also to women trying to conceive naturally. Led by Dr Liz Howland a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, the dedicated team of MFS doctors and clinical midwives see women who have either been referred by their GP or who have self-referred. The service comprises of a series of appointments which can include:

  • an assessment of the gynaecological and obstetric history
  • a uterine assessment
  • counselling
  • diet and lifestyle advice
  • a series of blood tests specific to identifying possible causes of miscarriage
  • possible additional more complex tests or investigations
  • pre and post-conception treatments
  • regular early scans after conception

For more information on the recurrent miscarriage clinic at MFS, please email MFS.

MFS has Facebook

MFS on Facebook

MFS is on Facebook! Log in and search for Midland Fertility Services and become part of the MFS ‘Facebook community’ by clicking the like button!

All the regular MFS Forum users, no worries – we’re not planning on replacing the Forum with the Facebook wall. MFS Facebook and the Forum will co-exist, providing two quite different services, for the benefit of all.

Double-dose of Twitter from MFS

If Facebook doesn’t fulfil your social networking needs, you can now follow not just one, but two(!), MFS Twitter feeds:


for regular comment from the MFS medical director on fertility issues, conference news, new developments and general erudite and witty observations, follow Dr Gillian Lockwood, @mfsIVFmedical


for news, media information, clinic announcements and MFS milestones, follow communications manager Jill Anthony-Ackery on @mfsIVFnews

Patients’ Support Group

MFS Forum

The Birmingham Support Group is a group of fertility friends receiving treatment at various clinics throughout the region, which meets every month in an informal setting for a chat and a shoulder to lean on. It’s like the on-line MFS Forum, but with real live people! Anyone going through assisted conception is welcome and the get-togethers are usually on the last Wednesday of the month. For more information by email . . .