Family matters – our expertise in assisted conception
When starting a family doesn’t go according to plan, the specialist team at The Wolfson Fertility Centre are committed to helping patients through their treatment journey.
A new baby is acknowledged as a reason to celebrate. But what do you do if you are part of the one in seven couples in the UK who are having trouble conceiving?
At The Wolfson Fertility Centre at Hammersmith Hospital, the team offer advice and treatments in all aspects of assisted conception.
The Wolfson has a long history and an enviable reputation for innovative fertility services. The clinic was established by Professor, Lord Robert Winston in 1982, and is one of the largest fertility services in the UK. Famously, the clinic was responsible for the first IVF birth in London.
“We are pioneers in this field,” said head of reproductive medicine, Rehan Salim. “We have also developed a ground-breaking technique specifically for couples who carry an inherited genetic defect that could cause health risks for their children. By identifying and removing the risk, we have been able to improve the chances of that family having a healthy child.”
This kind of development is made possible through the close academic links with Imperial College London. The centre hosts its own state-of-the-art embryology laboratory and there are many opportunities for patients to participate in clinical trials and research.
“We are a highly ethical organisation,” said Mr Salim. “We would never advise patients to undertake any treatments that we don’t believe will give the best possible chance of having a baby. Our private business also works side by side with our NHS service. If you are eligible for treatment on the NHS, we will make sure you receive it. But for those patients that are not covered, we can still offer the same high quality treatment.”
This partnership between private and NHS care is just one of the benefits that having private treatment within an internationally renowned NHS Trust offers to patients. The team is also able to secure a seamless transfer to or support from other specialist hospital departments if a patient requires it. For example, they work closely with the department of endocrinology at Hammersmith Hospital, who can offer expert advice if there are any issues relating to hormones. The Wolfson Fertility Centre also offers fertility preservation to cancer patients so that sperm or eggs can be frozen for later use, although this service can be investigated by anyone, whatever their reason.
The team offer a variety of fertility treatment options for both men and women. As well as IVF, patients can consider sperm or egg donation, reproductive surgery, intrauterine insemination (IUI) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection, known as ICSI. The hospital’s andrology department can also look more deeply in to any male fertility problems, including sperm count, sperm quality and hormonal issues.
If patients have been previously treated for fertility problems elsewhere, their previous test results will be taken into account. Any additional tests will be undertaken before a tailored fertility programme is considered.
Supporting patients emotionally is considered just as important as the clinical support by the Wolfson Fertility Centre team. Counselling is offered in-house and is led by Jennie Hunt, a senior accredited member of the British Infertility Counselling Association.
“Many patients say that the support given throughout their treatment made a real difference to the way they were able to prepare and cope with the whole experience,” said Jenny. “We can never underestimate the impact of enabling our patients to talk about the emotional effects of fertility treatment.”
“The whole team is committed to working in partnership with our patients”, adds Mr Salim. “We want our patients to become experts in their own situation and play an active part their own treatment. It’s a difficult journey, but one where we will do our very best to aim for a positive outcome.”
For more information on our fertility service, please visit our fertility pages.