Bourn Hall plots rebirth of IVF services
Bourn Hall Clinic in Cambridge is to apply to reopen following the Government’s recent decision to listen to applications for renewal of services by fertility clinics.
Applications can be vetted from May 11 and Bourn Hall is gearing up to introduce online IVF consultations for the first time.
Putting IVF treatment on hold has been devastating for patients and staff, according to Bourn Hall chief executive Dr Mike Macnamee; In line with government advice all new fertility treatments were stopped in March and existing patients had their treatment suspended.
For many this involved freezing all their fertilised eggs (embryos) ready for embryo transfer when it is safe to do so. For the clinic and its patients this period has been heart-breaking, says Macnamee.
He says: “The lockdown guidelines for clinics were introduced overnight and the implications for each patient were different depending on their stage of treatment. This period has been very distressing; particularly for those in their late 30s and above where time is very precious.
“One piece of comfort is that where patients were able to proceed with egg collection and had all their embryos frozen this will not have been detrimental to their treatment outcome, as frozen and fresh embryos have an equal chance of success in creating a baby.”
The Government says it will give preference to clinics with a sound treatment commencement strategy. In preparation for this, Bourn Hall has been working on a robust plan including the use of PPE that would ensure the safety of patients and staff.
This strategy has to be approved by the Government’s fertility regulator (the HFEA).
The clinic is also introducing virtual consultations with a fertility doctor, using a secure online clinical consulting room to fast-track treatment when it is available. IVF treatment takes about nine weeks.
“If you have results from previous fertility investigations that suggest you need IVF treatment then we are offering online consultations immediately with one of our specialist fertility doctors,” Macnamee explains. “Our consultant will discuss your results, talk through your treatment options and prepare a personalised treatment plan.”
If people have not yet had diagnostic tests this is not a problem. A consultant can still give bespoke advice and put in place a provisional plan. Once the clinic is re-opened, it will be able to quickly perform any necessary tests in one appointment and refine the plan accordingly.
Bourn Hall provides both NHS funded and self-funded fertility testing and IVF treatment.
Virtual IVF consultations can be booked by email – info [at] bourn-hall.com