Latest News

Christmas Holidays

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MFS will be closed for eight days from Monday 24 December MFS and re-open with a full regular service on Tuesday 1 January 2013.

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

Free Miscarriage Information Event

On Thursday 7 February 2013 MFS will host an information event dedicated to recurrent miscarriage and implantation failure. The free event offers pre-consultation appointments from 6.00-8.00pm with members of the dedicated MFS Miscarriage and Implantation Failure Service (MIFS) team to discuss how a new treatment pathway may benefit both:

  • women who are able to conceive naturally who have suffered at least two miscarriages
  • women who require fertility treatment to conceive but who have either experienced repeated negative pregnancy tests or miscarriages

Some of the MFS recurrent miscarriage team: (l-r) Mandy Godwin, nurse manager; Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director and Dr Abey Eapen, clinical lead
Some of the MFS recurrent miscarriage team: (l-r) Mandy Godwin, nurse manager; Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director and Dr Abey Eapen, clinical lead

Miscarriage occurs in about 10-15% of all pregnancies and the chance of miscarriage increases with the age of the woman.Recurrent miscarriage (RM) is defined as the loss of three or more pregnancies before 20 weeks and affects 1% of women. Implantation failure is the failure of an embryo to implant in the uterine lining in the 5-7 days (the ‘implantation window’) after conception. Women who suffer repeated implantation failure may not even know that they have conceived, but may experience heavier periods as a result of the loss of the embryo before any pregnancy is confirmed.

If you have experienced any of these conditions, book a free, no obligation, pre-consultation appointment via Donna Rea-Gardner at MFS via email, or by calling her on 01922 455911.

For more information:

MFS Ranks #1 for Clinical Pregnancy Rates in West Midlands

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Recent HFEA data confirms that MFS exceeded national average clinical pregnancy rates (CPRs) for fresh embryo transfers from January to December 2011 in four of the six age groups from <35 to 44> – including achieving a CPR of 37.6% for women aged <35 years (national average of 35.3%) and 38.8% for women aged 35 – 37 years (national average 31.1%).

MFS laboratory director, Su Barlow said: “Exceeding the national averages in these key age groups by 2.3% and 7.7% respectively is wonderful news for the team at MFS and our patients”.

“Through the continuous review and improvement of our clinical and scientific protocols we aim to surpass the national averages and give every single patient the very best possible chance of having a baby. We look forward to receiving the data on all the livebirths for these patients.”

For more information:

Another Delivery by the MFS Stork – and a Picture Proves It!

Couples mark the birth of their MFS babies in many different ways – an eternity ring for Mummy, planting a tree, or a mention in the local newspaper. But first-time Daddy Lee Fisher wanted a permanent and original way to commemorate the birth of his daughter Sienna Rae – he got a tattoo of the ‘baby stork’, complete with a peaked-hat with an MFS-logo cap-badge!

Lee Fisher and Sam Sheldon with Sienna Rae - another delivery by the MFS Stork
Lee Fisher and Sam Sheldon with Sienna Rae - another delivery by the MFS Stork

Lee (32) and his partner Sam Sheldon (26) of Rowley Regis tried to conceive for almost three years before going to their GP. Tests revealed nothing specific that would stop them conceiving and so they were referred to MFS for IVF. Even Sam’s chronic asthma and lower than average BMI were not considered obstacles to her being able to get pregnant.

However, the asthma was identified as a potential problem during pregnancy and so she and Lee received counselling about the risks to her health should she conceive – either naturally or with IVF.

Within weeks the funding became available from Sandwell PCT and their treatment started. In less than three months they cried with joy when the pregnancy test read ‘pregnant’ and looked forward to the arrival of their baby in late October.

However, as the baby grew she pushed against Sam’s lungs, reducing her lung capacity and so Sam was hospitalised with serious asthma complications 15 times during her pregnancy. At 33 weeks she was admitted to critical care with severe breathing problems and her obstetrician made the decision to deliver Sienna by Caesarean section at 34 weeks.

Lee said: “Sienna means the world to us and we wouldn’t have her without MFS. So I wanted to celebrate her birth with something unique and typical of me, so it had to be another tattoo! The MFS stork is my ninth tattoo, but has pride of place on my left arm, alongside Sam’s name.”

The Delivery Stork - complete with MFS logo cap badge!
The Delivery Stork - with MFS logo cap badge!
Sienna Rae
Sienna Rae

In addition to his MFS logo’d cap, the stork wears a blue uniform and flying goggles and carries a pink baby bundle, complete with a label reading ‘Sienna May’ and her birth weight.

Born six weeks early Sienna weighed just 4lbs 3oz, but is now thriving and almost 10lbs. Sam said: “Christmas used to be really difficult for us, surrounded by our brothers and sisters and their children, but having Sienna means this Christmas is going to be a real family celebration for us all.”

Dr Abey Eapen, clinical lead at MFS said: “We know of MFS babies who have been named after members of the MFS team, but as far as we’re aware the clinic has never been thanked in such a visible and permanent way as a tattoo. We send many congratulations to Lee and Sam and wish them and their family a very ‘Merry Christmas’.”

For more information:

‘Today’s the Day’ for Alice Archer

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Congratulations to Alice Archer who started school in September. Her proud mum and dad sent her the following message:

‘To our gorgeous Alice, your first day at school already! It hardly seems possible. We love you very much. Mummy, Daddy and big sister Eleanor xxx’

If you would like a mention for your child’s special milestone to be included in a future e-news’ ‘Today’s the Day’ (including birthdays, successes, first day at school or Cubs or Brownies) complete the form and let us know.

A Very Special Lady by Nell Carswell

MFS donation coordinator Donna Rea-Gardner reviews ‘A Very Special Lady – a story about IVF, an egg donor and a little girl’ by Nell Carswell.

“This book has been written by someone who has had successful egg donation to help explain the process in very simple terms for her daughter. The language and explanation of fertility investigations and ultimately treatment with egg donation is handled very well and is aimed at young children to help them understand how they came to be born. The illustrations are beautiful and help tell the story really well. One criticism is that it is specific to the author’s own story and names her daughter as the ‘special little baby’ that was born. Whilst I think it is a nice way to introduce what can be a difficult subject, the fact that another child’s name is written in the book does make it a little less appealing for the general market.”

For more information or to order a copy, click here.

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Men Who Exercise Produce Better Quality Sperm

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A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Cordoba links moderate physical activity in males with better hormone levels and sperm characteristics that favour reproduction compared to sedentary men.

Semen quality at large has dropped in the last 50 years. Amongst other factors, this is due to exposure to external agents and alcohol and tobacco consumption. This decline in sperm properties has caused an increase in reproductive problems.

Read the full article in Alpha Galileo on-line.

Inspection Successes

MFS recently achieved inspection success from both BSI quality management and the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which has responsibility for checking whether hospitals, care homes and care services meet essential standards.

go to CQC report on MFS go to QMS ISO 9001 info

CQC inspected the following standards as part of a routine inspection and found that all ‘standards were met’:

  • consent to care and treatment
  • care and welfare of people who use services
  • safety and suitability of premises
  • staffing
  • complaints

CQC summarised the inspection outcome as follows:

“Midland Fertility Services provided people with sufficient and appropriate information to enable them to make informed decisions about the treatment they would receive. One person said, ‘They discussed the treatment plan with us and gave us information about the treatment and possible cost’. We found that people had an agreed treatment plan and when changes were needed to their treatment this was discussed and agreed with them. One person told us, ‘They have been very informative’. Another person told us, ‘They discuss when a change in treatment is needed and always ask how I am and they never ignore the man’. The premises were clean suitably designed and adequately maintained. One person said, ‘It’s very hygienic and spotless’. The service had sufficient and suitably skilled staff. One person said ‘Staff are all professional’, another said, ‘They have been very good and supportive’. There was an effective complaints system available. Comments and complaints people made were responded to appropriately.’

The BSI six-monthly ISO 9001 assessment scrutinised:

  • baseline investigations and delivery of treatment
  • laboratory inspection and infection screening
  • clinical embryology including donation and bank controls
  • incidents, near misses, complaints

The summary conclusion stated:

“The areas assessed during the course of the visit were generally found to be effective. Corrective actions with respect to nonconformities raised at the last assessment have been reviewed and found to be effectively implemented. No new nonconformities were identified during the assessment.”

Anna Kavanagh, director of quality and business said: “Quality management and compliance to the BSI, CQC and the HFEA requirements are ingrained in every single protocol at MFS to help improve the patient experience and treatment outcomes.”

For more information: