A new £750,000 Assisted Conception Unit – officially known as Beginnings – has opened at St Helier Hospital, helping local people who are trying for a baby to get closer to their dream.
The new state-of-the-art facility offers the full range of services involved in assisted conception and IVF (where an egg is removed from the woman's ovaries, fertilised with sperm in a laboratory and then returned to the womb to develop) to people who are struggling to conceive, and those who want to use a donor to help make their family complete.
With cutting-edge technology and a dedicated team of experts on hand, Beginnings will also be able to offer local people diagnostic tests to find out why they might be having trouble conceiving and recovery areas for people following procedures.
Mrs Carolyn Croucher, Clinical Director for Gynaecology, and the person responsible for the new unit said: “We are all incredibly proud of our new unit, and can’t wait to begin with the all-important task of helping people to become pregnant. This service will allow state-of-the-art treatment without having to travel into the centre of London.
“For people who are desperate for a baby, struggling to conceive or looking for a donor, it can be an incredibly difficult time – it can be a very emotional and frustrating period, and we want to be able to make the process as simple as it possibly can be. Thanks to our new unit, we’ll be able to offer local people an expert assisted conception service in a warm, supportive environment.”
Suzy Duffy, Laboratory Manager, explained why it is so important that the unit contains the latest in assisted conception technology. She said: “The work we do here and the samples we keep are incredibly valuable, and we simply cannot afford for anything to compromise them. That’s why our laboratory and treatment rooms are stocked full of very powerful microscopes and state-of-the-art technology, including radio frequency tracking software that is attached to each sample that we process.
“Behind the scenes, we have an air treatment system that helps to keep the area warm, secure and ultra-clean. We also have liquid nitrogen storage systems so that we can freeze eggs and embryos. These pieces of equipment are alarmed around the clock, and are supported by two back-up generators. In a way, we see ourselves as the first babysitters these families will have, and we have a duty to protect the samples we have.”
The unit will also offer the advice and support of a dedicated counsellor, who will be on hand to help those people who would like additional emotional support and to offer guidance on some of the more complex aspects and legalities of egg and sperm donation.
If you would be interested in being seen in the new Assisted Conception Unit, please see your GP in the first instance, who will be able to refer you to the service.