Patient News

Baby, You’re All Grown Up

MFS introduced ICSI to the West Midlands in 1994, bringing hope to the 60% of patients where male factor infertility is a reason for treatment. Bethany Francis, the first MFS baby born as a result of ICSI treatment, arrived in April 1995 – and we caught up with her just days after celebrating her 18th birthday!

Owen and Jayne with new born Bethany in 1995
Owen and Jayne with new born Bethany in 1995

Bethany at the Royal Ballet on her 18th birthday

Bethany’s parents Jayne and Owen had four cycles of IVF in the early 1990s despite male factor infertility making success improbable – in fact there were no embryos from one of the treatment cycles, as the sperm couldn’t get into the eggs. The two attempts using IVF using donor sperm, also resulted in a negative result.

And then MFS told them about a new technique which held promise for couples where sperm problems were the cause of infertility. Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection – aka ICSI – had recently been discovered in Belgium and involved the injection of a single healthy sperm right into the middle of a single egg. For sperm and eggs that couldn’t get together on their own, ICSI would prove to be revolutionary.

Despite the newness of the procedure Jayne said: “Owen and I were so desperate for a baby that we didn’t worry about being ‘guinea pigs’ – in fact it was quite special to be trying something so cutting-edge. We were lucky and never reached the stage of ‘enough is enough’.”

“I can’t describe the absolute joy I experienced when the pregnancy test showed ‘positive’. After all those low moments, it was so fantastic – Owen was in tears and I still get emotional when I think about it now.”

Bethany obviously brings huge pride and delight to Jayne and Owen. Both academic and sporty, she’s currently preparing for her A-level exams with plans to study applied maths at university.

Bethany, aged 16, before the school prom
Aged 16, before her prom
Aged 17 in 2012
Aged 17, in 2012

Bethany said: “I have always known I was a ‘test-tube baby’ and that I was ‘very special’ because it took Mum and Dad so long to have me. They kept the newspaper cuttings from when I was born, which have been interesting to read over the years.

“I’m really proud of being MFS’ first ICSI baby – it was fun when I studied assisted conception in GCSE and A-level biology, because I am a real-life result of all that science!”

Bethany celebrated her 18th with a trip to the Royal Ballet in London with her parents, and then clubbing with girlfriends!

“We’ve always had a loving friendship,” says Jayne. “Bethany’s been an absolute joy from day one – in fact, she’s the perfect daughter.”

In the 18 years since Bethany’s birth, more than 2,600 other babies have been born as a result of ICSI treatment at MFS – most to men who wouldn’t have had the chance of genetic fatherhood without the discovery of this amazing technique.

For more information:

Happy Birthday George!

Happy 16th Birthday George!
Happy 16th Birthday George!

MFS received this wonderful message from Michelle and Anthony Burrows about their son’s forthcoming 16th birthday celebrations:

“Our son George Burrows is 16 in June and at the moment is doing his GCSEs.  I had numerous miscarriages then came to MFS where we had  IVF first but I miscarried.  Then I had ICSI but, again nine weeks into pregnancy, I miscarried again.

“Our third attempt, which was ICSI, I had three embryos transferred and had to have three months of bed rest and injections, but at seven weeks into the pregnancy again I started to miscarry.  We went for a scan and expected nothing only to be told by the hospital that there was still one heartbeat.  The doctor said I had lost the other two babies but George had stayed!  So after nine years of trying for a baby, George was born 20 June 1997, four weeks early weighing 7lb 14oz.  He has had a trying 16 years with his health, in and out hospital and us nearly losing him on several occasions but he is a fighter and doing so well at school.

“Now he has a girlfriend and is looking forward to his future ahead and this is all thanks to MFS.  If it wasn’t for you we would not have him.”

Many congratulations George.  Best wishes to you and all your family on your 16th birthday from everyone at MFS.