If you’re in and around Liverpool and the Wirral, listen out for the new RHG-IVF Life commercials on Radio City.

Listeners are being asked to ‘Why Wait?’ if they need fertility treatment, and to contact RHG-IVF Life.

You can preview the commercial below.

And what’s more, listeners are eligible for a free 30-minute mini-consultation with one of the RHG doctors. During this appointment you can also view our state-of-the-art IVF clinic and meet your patient care co-ordinator who will guide you through your treatment.

You could also opt to have your AMH blood test* at this appointment.  Measuring the hormone AMH is the most accurate indicator of how many eggs a woman has.  This is also known as her ‘ovarian reserve’.  With other test results, it can help predict a woman’s chance of getting pregnant either naturally or with fertility treatment.  The results will be available at your first visit consultation.

Interim Medical Director Dr James Armatage said: “Investment, restructuring, and recruitment means we currently have no waiting lists at RHG-IVF Life. Also, waiting for treatment can sometimes have an impact on its chance of success.”

For example – how old are you? A woman’s age can be an additional factor to her infertility. Do you have time to wait to progress through the NHS series of tests and assessments? Can you afford the time to wait?  If not, why wait?

Is any NHS funding available to you?  And if so, how long is the waiting list? Or can you afford to choose private fertility treatment? If so, why wait?

Book your free 30 minute free mini-consultation today – after all, why wait?  We look forward to seeing you at RHG-IVF Life in Daresbury.

*chargeable but deducted from cost of full visit consultation

Proud dad Ben Hulme has a true miracle to celebrate on Fathers’ Day this year. It will be the first one he shares with his wife Charlotte and their son Elliot, born in March this year, after IVF.

Elliot’s birth follows more than five years of trying to conceive, then beginning fertility treatment at RHG-IVF Life. And this was followed by the added complications of treatment during lockdown in 2020.

“We knew that we’d need IVF to conceive, as Charlotte (27) has PCOS,” said Ben (32).  “After five years of trying, and consultations elsewhere, we came to RHG-IVF Life and Elliot was born after just one treatment cycle!”

“But we weren’t always confident it was going to work, as our nine eggs resulted in just one strong embryo.  Although our egg collection was in April 2020, our embryo transfer had to be delayed until July because of COVID-19.

“Despite him arriving early at 37 weeks, and spending 12 days in the neo-natal unit, he is doing so well now.  I can’t quite believe that I get to spend my special day with our miracle baby boy.  What a difference a year makes!”

“We are delighted that Ben will have such a lovely day on Father’s Day this year,” said Jenny Dobbs, Interim CEO of RHG-IVF Life. “Many couples come to us for fertility treatment after years of trying for a family and we are proud to be able to make that happen, wherever possible.”

Make an appointment at RHG-IVF Life.

It’s Nutrition & Hydration Week – a global event to focus on improving the health and wellbeing of everyone through what we eat and drink.  It’s the perfect opportunity to look at the link between our diet and our fertility, whether trying to conceive naturally or with fertility treatment. Can changes to our diet really increase the chance of conception?

For many people, their infertility is beyond their control.  Not being able to conceive, or to create a pregnancy, may be caused by medical or genetic conditions, rather than lifestyle choices.  But what we eat and drink every day does have an impact on our fertility – and this IS within our control.

Critical mass

“Maintaining a healthy weight is important before trying for a pregnancy, for both sexes, said Dr Martin DeBono, Fertility Consultant at RHG-IVF Life.

“Underweight women are more likely to give birth to underweight babies, and overweight women are at risk of gestational diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy, both of which increase the risks to the unborn baby.

“For men, researchers at the University of Southern Denmark[1] found that a man’s sperm count decreases as his BMI increases over 25.”

Our favourite foods?

Modern life convenience foods, unsurprisingly, do us no favours when eating to conceive.  Excessive consumption of foods that are rich in red and processed meats, potatoes, sweets, and sweetened drinks, all have a negative effect on both men’s and women’s fertility.

For them

The fertility diet foods which are beneficial to any man or woman planning on getting pregnant include:

  • those rich in vitamin B12 – including beef and chicken; trout, salmon, and tuna; fortified cereals; low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese; and eggs
  • those that are rich in omega 3 – including salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines; flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts; and plant oils including flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil
  • ingredients and cooking styles common to the Mediterranean diet – using olive oil instead of butter; high number of fruits and vegetables; wholegrains instead of refined breads and pastas; fish (especially those high in omega 3) at least twice a week; and limiting dairy, or switching to lower fat alternatives

For her

In addition, a woman should include in her fertility diet:

  • foods that include folic acid, including leafy green vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, spinach, and peas; chickpeas and kidney beans; and fortified breakfast cereals
  • iron-rich foods, such as dark meats; sardines, anchovies, mussels, and oysters (but be careful with shellfish that contain high mercury levels); leafy greens (see folic acid-rich foods above); legumes and beans including black-eyed peas, canned baked beans, and peas; wholegrain pasta and bread
  • foods rich in calcium – for building healthy bones, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese

For him

And for men, a diet rich in fruit and vegetables including vitamins C and E, selenium, and zinc, can improve the quality of sperm.

Fluids for fertility

But it’s not only about what we eat. Small improvements to what we drink can have a positive impact on our ability to conceive. And this is all about increasing the amount of water we drink – but not upping whatever our other favourite tipples might be!

A 2018 Danish study[2] concluded that caffeine has little or no effect on female fertility. But a 2017 study published in Nutrition Journal[3] revealed that men who drink more than four cups of coffee a day have a higher proportion of damaged sperm.

Increasing the amount of water we drink can only be a benefit.

For women trying to conceive, drinking more water helps to improve blood circulation, which is beneficial to your uterus and fallopian tubes.  It also helps to improve your cervical mucus[4], to provide the right environment for sperm to successfully travel through the vagina, and uterus, and into the fallopian tubes.

Water consumption also helps to ‘plump-up’ your egg follicles and improve the uterine lining that any embryo will need to nestle into during the implantation stage of conception.

The amount of water in a man’s body also affects both the function of male sexual hormones and the quality of his sperm. And dehydration may cause his blood vessels to contract, so it will be more difficult for sexual hormones to reach the testicles where sperm is produced.

“The recommended water intake for an adult is two to three litres a day, depending on your age, activity level, the weather, and what else you consume,” added Dr DeBono. “All men and women benefit from drinking more water, but increasing their daily intake is vital for couples trying to conceive, either naturally or with IVF or ICSI treatment.”

See also:

Blog| An IVF Diet: Nutrition & Hydration for Fertility

References:

[1] University of Southern Denmark Study

[2] Coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption and risk of primary infertility in women: a Danish cohort study

[3] Nutrition Journal

[4] Analysis of pre-ovulatory changes in cervical mucus hydration and sperm penetrability

RHG-IVF Life Interim CEO Jenny Dobbs outlines recent good news for lesbian couples who want to become a family.

“The HFEA (Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority) has reported that more same sex couples are accessing IVF treatment to start a family.

“In some cases women are choosing to provide eggs (egg provider) for use in the treatment of their female partner who will receive the embryo and carry the pregnancy if successful (recipient).

“Until 1 June 2021 the HFEA required IVF clinics to register the egg provider as ‘donor’ and the partner as the ‘recipient’.

“But from 1 June the HFEA has changed the way in which they register egg providers and, instead of being registered as a ‘donor’, the egg provider will be registered as a ‘patient/partner’.

“This is a positive move by the HFEA for same sex families as it more accurately reflects their status and their intended role in the child’s life.

“In line with this change the HFEA has produced a dedicated consent form for women providing eggs, or embryos created using their eggs, for use in their partner’s treatment.

“Patient/partner treatment can also be referred to as shared motherhood or reciprocal IVF – and RHG-IVF Life has already helped many lesbian couples to become families using this treatment pathway.

“During Pride month we are delighted to welcome lesbian couples and lesbian single women to our ‘Your Pride & Joy’ webinar on 24 June to learn more about their treatment options and how RHG-IVF Life can help them become a family.”

Book your place here for the RHG-IVF Life ‘Your Pride & Joy’ webinar.

For further information on the HFEA report visit the HFEA website.

 

If you’re struggling to get pregnant and are still a smoker, what better day to ‘commit to quit’ than on Monday 31 May – the WHO’s ‘World No Tobacco Day’.

In addition to harming our general health, there is strong evidence of the links between smoking and infertility – for both men and women.  And if other medical conditions are stopping you from being able to get pregnant, either naturally or with IVF, smoking seems to make this worse.

If you smoke, it is likely to take you longer to get pregnant than a non-smoker – almost twice as long.  Every cigarette you smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, which can decrease fertility in both men and women.

Women who smoke are twice as likely to be infertile as non-smokers[1]. Nicotine and the chemicals in tobacco thin the lining of the uterus, which reduces the chance of getting pregnant, and increases the risk of miscarriage. Smoking can also cause genetic abnormalities in eggs – another cause of not getting pregnant or early miscarriage.

Smoking can also ‘age’ a woman’s eggs, increasing the chance of early menopause.

If a woman does get pregnant naturally, smoking increases the risk of an ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo develops in one of her fallopian tubes. An ectopic pregnancy is a serious condition which can permanently harm a woman’s fertility and can even be life threatening.

Smoking is also harmful to any unborn baby – restricting their supply of oxygen and making their heart beat harder every time the mother smokes[2].

In men, nicotine is highly toxic to sperm. It can also cause impotence. It is one of the lifestyle choices that can reduce the number of sperm, and sperm’s ability to swim[3] – along with use of recreational drugs, high alcohol consumption and a fast food diet.

But there is good news. Stopping smoking can reverse some of the damage or risks to a man’s or woman’s fertility in as little as four months. So, quitting should be a part of both of your plans for pregnancy, including improving your diet, increasing the amount of water you drink, and getting to an ideal weight. The ideal is that both partners should quit together – to support each other and to avoid the risks of passive smoking, when inhaling another person’s smoke.

“Smoking and other lifestyle choices are within our control, whereas many other causes of infertility may be genetic or medical,” said Dr James Armatage, Interim Medical Director at RHG-IVF Life.

“Fertility treatment may help overcome these medical and genetic conditions, but quitting smoking at least four months before trying to get pregnant is good advice for anyone hoping to become a parent.”

For information on how to quit smoking with nicotine replacement therapy, stop smoking aids, support groups, helplines, and medications, visit the NHS website.

ends

[1] Tommy’s

[2] NHS

[3] British Fertility Society

RHG-IVF Life is encouraging teachers who are planning fertility treatment in the summer holiday to have their fertility tests and investigations before July if they want to have a chance of pregnancy before school begins again in September.

Many teachers contact the clinic in mid-July to have their first appointment from the start of the summer holiday, with the plan to complete both investigations and treatment, and hopefully to be pregnant, before they return to school in September.  But six weeks is often not long enough to complete a treatment cycle.

Katie, (39) from The Wirral said: “Infertility is a hard battle for anyone, and I found it extremely hard as a teacher. Working so hard for other people’s children, when you are faced with the possibility of never having your own, is a heart-breaking reality to enter every day. I really benefitted from using my time wisely during the school holidays. I honestly believe that this is what helped me to become a mummy.”

“Fertility investigations and treatments can often take more than six weeks up to any pregnancy test, even for standard IVF or ICSI treatment.  Other more complex cases will take longer than the summer holidays, and continue into the new term, possibly around the key times of egg collection or embryo transfer,” said Dr Martin DeBono, Fertility Consultant at the Daresbury-based clinic.

“Having your fertility tests and initial consultation before the summer holidays, including in June half-term, may mean time to complete IVF treatment in the summer holidays and know if you’re pregnant before term begins in September.”

RHG-IVF Life understands the time restraints on teachers and wants to help them plan their treatment schedule so they have the very best chance of a positive outcome.  Making ‘time for teachers’ will hopefully remove some of the stress for them, which is a key part of successful treatment.

The clinic is making additional priority first visit consultation appointments for people in education, including teachers, lecturers, pre-school providers, and teaching assistants, during the June half-term, and in later afternoon appointments, before the school year ends in July.

In addition, teachers can receive a free 15-minute mini-consultation before any first visit consultation.  To register, visit the website and complete this form.

With further COVID-19 easing since 17 May, there is good news for fertility patients at RHG-IVF Life as partners can, once again, attend two key appointments.

Partners of patients undergoing IVF and ICSI fertility treatments, can now accompany the patient to her embryo transfer appointment. This includes frozen embryo transfers.

Partners are also welcome to attend the first pregnancy viability scan, following embryo transfer and a positive pregnancy test, to check the progress of the early pregnancy.

“We know that being able to support their partner throughout treatment is really important for couples going through fertility treatment, and these two appointments can be an emotional time to share together,” said Dr Bernie Bentick, Reproductive Health Consultant at RHG-IVF Life, and a COVID-19 prescriber.

“We’re delighted to be able to welcome partners back to these significant moments in a couple’s fertility journey.”

However, other COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, including social distancing measure, patients wearing masks and gloves for all appointments, and women being PCR tested before egg collection.

RHG-IVF Life continues to follow government and HFEA guidance on caring for patients during the pandemic and will issue further updates when advice changes.

During Mental Health Awareness Week we focus on the importance of good emotional care and support throughout fertility treatment.

Counselling is a key part of the service at RHG-IVF Life and two sessions are included in our standard fertility treatment plans.

Our Fertility Counselling Partner Jamie Forster is a member of BICA – the British Infertility Counselling Association – whose members are all highly trained in supporting people throughout their fertility treatment and can demonstrate the empathy that helps people deal with the ‘fertility rollercoaster’.

Counselling can help explore treatment options and the consequences of treatment, and also provide support around the outcome of treatment.

For treatments involving donor eggs or sperm, the HFEA requires that a patient has implications counselling before they begin.  This is so they understand the potential impact of any treatment on themselves, on their partner, and especially on any donor-conceived child and the wider family.

Jamie Forster, Fertility Counselling Partner at RHG-IVF Life said: “As part of the counselling service, a patient may be invited and encouraged to explore feelings and aspects of their life and fertility journey, and to talk freely and confidentially in a way that may be difficult with family or friends.

“The current campaign from the Mental Health Foundation encourages people to reconnect with nature to help improve their well-being. We recognise the  huge benefits of taking some time away from all other distractions, either by yourself or with your partner, to enjoy your garden, or a park, or walking in the countryside, to help you through fertility treatment.”

RHG-IVF Life patients can make an appointment for our counselling service via the patient care team.

Today, on International Nurses’ Day, we celebrate all nurses and healthcare assistants, and recognise them for their role in the care and wellbeing of us all.

The Nursing team at RHG-IVF Life is key to the success and of every patients’ treatment plan and to their overall experience on their fertility journey.

International Nurses’ Day celebrates everything that is good about nurses and nursing on 12 May – the birth date of Florence Nightingale, one of the founders of modern nursing.

The nursing team at RHG-IVF Life includes the nurse manager, registered nurse, healthcare assistants, and operating department practitioner.  They have many years of combined experience in both the NHS and private healthcare sector, in general nursing, A&E, trauma, women’s health, and in gynaecology and fertility.

Some have worked for RHG-IVF Life for long enough that they have cared for patients through two or more treatment cycles.  This continuity of care and knowledge of each patient’s specific treatment is welcomed by many patients who appreciate a familiar, friendly face to help them through their treatment.

Nursing & Clinic Manager, Suzanne Loughlin said: “The nursing team at RHG-IVF Life combines excellent professional skills in fertility nursing with compassion for every patient and a genuine desire to help give people the baby they want so much.

“I have an excellent team, and while the regular ‘thank you’ cards throughout the year – even during the pandemic – highlight the appreciation of patients, they all deserve the extra recognition they will get on International Nurses’ Day.”

Pictured l-r: Nursing & Clinic Manager Suzanne Loughlin, with Healthcare Assistant Katrina Green, and Registered Nurse Rebecca Hesketh

Dr James Armatage has been appointed as the Interim Medical Director at RHG-IVF Life fertility clinic.

Dr Armatage has more than 30 years’ experience in gynaecology and reproductive medicine and established Cheshire Fertility, one of the most successful fertility clinics in the region.  Over the years he has helped thousands of couples to realise their dreams of parenthood.

His appointment follows the joining of the Daresbury-based Reproductive Health Group with IVF Life Group, a network of fertility clinics across Europe.  RHG is the first IVF Life Group clinic in the UK.

Dr Armatage heads up the medical team that includes two other doctors, Martin DeBono and Bernie Bentick, combining an exceptional level of expertise in gynaecology and fertility treatment.

“I’m delighted to join RHG at such a milestone time,” said Dr Armatage. “Being part of IVF Life Group has already created patient-friendly improvements at RHG, while we retain the high clinical and laboratory standards we always valued.

“New and continuing patients will benefit from our existing personalised care, but their treatment is now supported by the increased scientific, medical, and research advantages that IVF Life Group brings.”

Dr Armatage will host the next RHG-IVF Life Fertility & IVF Webinar at 7:00pm on Thursday 10 June, where he will be available to answer questions on-line.  Attendees are also eligible for a free 15 minutes Zoom consultation with Dr Armatage or one of the RHG doctors, following the on-line event.  Register your place for free.