'Patient-friendly' IVF centre opens

A new fertility centre is the first in the UK to focus on 'patient-friendly' IVF and the health of mothers-to-be to help improve conception rates, a hospital trust said today.

Patients at the Complete Fertility Centre at the Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton have access to softer, shorter and easier hormone treatments.

Staff also create personal profiles for patients via one-to-one sessions before treatment begins to agree personal goals and suggest changes to give the best chance of success.

This innovation - the preconception programme - stems from Professor Nick Macklon's internationally recognised work on the effects of diet and lifestyle on fertility and birth.

"We have made it a priority to cut the stress of fertility treatment," said Prof Macklon, the centre's medical director and founder of the first preconception care clinic in the largest IVF unit in Holland in 2006.

"By reducing the amount of hormones patients need to take, we have developed a 'patient-friendly' IVF experience which also improves the quality of embryos and this approach has been adopted in many clinics across the world.

"Our research has also shown how the health, nutrition and lifestyle of prospective parents affects not only fertility, but the child's health, which is why our work begins long before the first injection of hormones," he said.

"We have developed a programme of care that aims to optimise health before conception in order to help our patients achieve the highest chance of success from the range of treatments we offer, but also leave a lasting positive impact and give the best possible start to their children."

In addition to its range of assisted reproduction techniques, which includes IVF, intra uterine insemination (IUI), blastocyst transfer, egg donation and embryo, sperm and egg freezing, the centre has an active research programme in collaboration with Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, the University of Southampton and a number of international centres.

The Complete Fertility Centre treats NHS and self-funding patients from across the south of England.