St Judes Fertility Clinic
PROVIDING CARE IN A FRIENDLY AND SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT

Contacting St Jude’s:

Wolverhampton: 01902 620831
Newcastle-under-Lyme: 01782 612500

ST JUDE CLINICAL UPDATE

2017 is sprinting ahead. All too soon it is April. So far, we are very pleased with significant progress in many areas of our activities especially our excellent clinical pregnancy rates. We are pleased to highlight the following:

1) Excellent clinical Pregnancy rates. The figures will soon be presented in a separate post.

2) Alongside the solid experience and skills of our staff, our newly acquired EMBRYOSCOPE is producing brilliant treatment outcome. We are now able to offer blastocyst embryo culture to most of our patients.

3) We use Embryo Glue for embryo transfer in all patients, unlike some clinics where it is offered as an optional extra at a cost to the patient

4) Our approach to treatment continues to be based on individually tailored protocols. No two couples are the same. Even when the diagnosis is the same in different couples, there are often differences in age, duration of subfertility and individual preferences, so we never adopt a one-cap-fits-all policy.

5) Our lead Consultant is one of the most experienced in assisted conception in the UK and more than ever he is putting his experience to bear for the benefit of patients.

6) We accept and acknowledge the uniqueness of each couple and decide the best treatment protocol from the following:

a) Natural Cycle IVF which has the advantage of being natural, without side effects for drugs. It is also much cheaper.   Although success rate is not as higher as some of the other IVF protocols, it may be the best option for some categories of patients

b) Minimal (Low dose) Stimulation IVF where we use a combination of tablets and low dose injections for ovarian stimulation. The advantage of this method is that there is little risk of side effects or complications from drugs. Pregnancy rate is reasonable and the cost is less than the typical IVF treatment cycle.

c) Elective Embryo freezing and subsequent frozen frozen-thawed Embryo Transfer in a natural or programmed cycle. The rationale for this approach is that in a typical IVF cycle, the high dose of drugs used generate high levels of oestrogen which produces detrimental effects on the endometrium making it unsuitable for implantation. Hence when embryos are frozen from the fresh cycle and implanted in a subsequent cycle the pregnancy rate is much better.

d) Standard IVF cycle whereby higher doses of drugs are used to stimulate the ovaries. This typically produces a high number of eggs. This method is still acceptable and works well in the correct group of patients.

e) Use of Embryoscope for all the above protocols. The embryoscope is a clever high-tech gadget. It is essentially an incubator with an in-built micro-camera which monitors and records embryo development 24/7, therefore the embryos are left to divide and develop undisturbed until the day of embryo transfer. This is akin to what happens in nature within the female reproductive tract and enhances embryo quality. Also because the micro-camera system records embryos development continuously we can review the record to help us select the embryos with the best quality and best implantation potential.

You can see from the above treatment strategies that St Jude’s is committed to helping you achieve your heart’s desire – to Make Your Fertility a Reality.

Couples’ pre-pregnancy caffeine consumption linked to miscarriage risk

NIH study finds daily multivitamin before and after conception greatly reduces miscarriage risk.
 
A woman is more likely to miscarry if she and her partner drink more than two caffeinated beverages a day during the weeks leading up to conception, according to a new study from researchers at the National Institutes of Health and Ohio State University, Columbus. Similarly, women who drank more than two daily caffeinated beverages during the first seven weeks of pregnancy were also more likely to miscarry.


“Our findings provide useful information for couples who are planning a pregnancy and who would like to minimize their risk for early pregnancy loss”

—Germaine Buck Louis, Ph.D., Director, Division of Intramural Population Health Research

However, women who took a daily multivitamin before conception and through early pregnancy were less likely to miscarry than women who did not. The study was published online in Fertility and Sterility.

“Our findings provide useful information for couples who are planning a pregnancy and who would like to minimize their risk for early pregnancy loss,” said the study’s first author, Germaine Buck Louis, Ph.D., director of the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

The researchers analyzed data from the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) Study, which was established to examine the relationship between fertility, lifestyle and exposure to environmental chemicals. The LIFE Study enrolled 501 couples from four counties in Michigan and 12 counties in Texas, from 2005 to 2009.

For the current study, researchers compared such lifestyle factors as cigarette use, caffeinated beverage consumption and multivitamin use among 344 couples with a singleton pregnancy from the weeks before they conceived through the seventh week of pregnancy.

The researchers reported their results using a statistical concept known as a hazard ratio, which estimates the chances of a particular health outcome occurring during the study time frame. For example, the researchers evaluated caffeinated beverage consumption in terms of the daily likelihood of pregnancy loss over a given time period. A score greater than 1 indicates an increased risk for pregnancy loss each day following conception, and a score less than 1 indicates a reduced daily risk.

Of the 344 pregnancies, 98 ended in miscarriage, or 28 percent. For the preconception period, miscarriage was associated with female age of 35 or above, for a hazard ratio of 1.96 (nearly twice the miscarriage risk of younger women). The study was not designed to conclusively prove cause and effect. The study authors cited possible explanations for the higher risk, including advanced age of sperm and egg in older couples or cumulative exposure to substances in the environment, which could be expected to increase as people age.

Both male and female consumption of more than two caffeinated beverages a day also was associated with an increased hazard ratio: 1.74 for females and 1.73 for males. Earlier studies, the authors noted, have documented increased pregnancy loss associated with caffeine consumption in early pregnancy. However, those studies could not rule out whether caffeine consumption contributed to pregnancy loss or was a sign of an unhealthy pregnancy. It’s possible, the authors wrote, that these earlier findings could have been the result of a healthy pregnancy, rather than caffeine consumption interfering with pregnancy. For example, the increase in food aversions and vomiting associated with a healthy pregnancy led the women to give up caffeinated beverages.

Because their study found caffeine consumption before pregnancy was associated with a higher risk of miscarriage, it’s more likely that caffeinated beverage consumption during this time directly contributes to pregnancy loss.

“Our findings also indicate that the male partner matters, too,” Dr. Buck Louis said. “Male preconception consumption of caffeinated beverages was just as strongly associated with pregnancy loss as females’.”

Finally, the researchers saw a reduction in miscarriage risk for women who took a daily multivitamin. During the preconception period, researchers found a hazard ratio of 0.45 — a 55-percent reduction in risk for pregnancy loss. Women who continued to take the vitamins through early pregnancy had a hazard ratio of 0.21, or a risk reduction of 79 percent. The authors cited other studies that found that vitamin B6 and folic acid — included in preconception and pregnancy vitamin formulations — can reduce miscarriage risk. Folic acid supplements are recommended(link is external) for women of childbearing age, as their use in the weeks leading up to and following conception reduces the risk for having a child with a neural tube defect.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer information on the steps men and women of reproductive age can take to help ensure they have a healthy baby(link is external) — whether they are planning pregnancy or not.

About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute’s website at http://www.nichd.nih.gov. 

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®

As we reported in September, St Jude’s successfully overturned a HFEA proposal not to renew the clinic’s license. We are pleased to continue providing a full range of fertility and healthcare services to couples across the Midlands, as we have done for over ten years. Below is a BBC Midlands Today report which comments on the licensing decision and profiles one of our patients and her beautiful daughter, who celebrated her first birthday on Christmas Eve.
 

 


 
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We have another inspirational fertility success story to share with you today from our former patients, Jo and Rob Hope.
 
Jo (36) and her husband Rob both live in Staffordshire and had tried for a baby for 4 years before contacting St. Jude’s Clinic in Wolverhampton for fertility help. In this interview, Jo explains what happened during their fertility journey.
 
When did you first start trying to conceive and how long was it before you decided to seek help through fertility services?
 
Myself and my husband Rob started trying for a baby in 2002, we got married in 2000 and thought the time was right. By 2005, nothing had happened, so we went to see our GP.  He referred us to have blood tests, sperm tests, etc. I had my tubes checked at the Nuffield.  We then went to see Mr Menon and he prescribed Clomid, still nothing worked.  In 2006 we chose to attend St Jude’s to see if they could help.
 
How did infertility affect you in your personal life?
 
We didn’t tell anybody except my family that we were trying for a baby, although when people asked we just joked about having fun without children. However this couldn’t have been further from the truth, a baby was all we could think of. 
 
The trying part wasn’t fun anymore either. My parents and sister were amazing - very supportive, my dad even took us to every single appointment at St Jude’s in Wolverhampton and sat and waited outside.
 
Tell us about the sort of fertility treatments you had - what were they like to experience?
 
We had the IVF treatment where my eggs were removed and fertilised with Rob’s sperm then replaced a few days later.  The injections were hard, and I was an emotional wreck, but having a baby was the most important thing to us and if this could be the answer then there was no way we wouldn’t try.
 
How long did it take for you to get pregnant after starting treatment?
 
The first cycle was a success!
 
How did you feel in that moment you realised you had a positive pregnancy test?
 
The Saturday morning that the test showed positive was amazing. We were so happy, crying with happiness too. We rang our immediate family and let them know.
 
Did you face any challenges or worries during your pregnancy?
 
Every day was a worry, hoping nothing could take our dream away. Our baby didn’t move much either, so we spent hours at the local maternity unit having checks.  Also, there was a chance of the baby having Down’s Syndrome, but we objected to the test to see if this was the case due to the risk to the baby.
 
A baby was all we wanted, perfect or not, we weren’t prepared to risk losing our baby after we’d come so far.  My sister has a hare-lip and my dad was also born with Perthes Disease, so all in all, the pregnancy was a worry, but thankfully she was born and was perfect.
 
Tell us about your baby!
 
Ellie May Hope was born on 12/02/2007, at 22.24 pm weighing 7lbs 9.5oz. The birth wasn’t smooth, she got stuck and had to be delivered via forceps, but at the moment she was placed in my arms I felt complete. Tears of happiness streamed down my face as she looked back at me.
 
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What’s it like being a mum after the long awaited journey that you had?
 
Being Ellie’s mummy is the best job in the world, I cherish every second we are together and I adore her. She is my best friend and I love her to bits.
 
            Ellie3Ellie4
 
What advice could you give to couples going through their own fertility journey based on your experiences?
 
My advice is to support each other, stay strong and remain positive. The journey is hard but the outcome is amazing when your dreams come true.
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The team at St. Jude’s Clinic would like to thank Jo for sharing her and Rob’s fertility story. We’re sure that it will lift and inspire others who are currently trying to start a family.

 If you’d like to talk to someone about our fertility services and how we could help you in your own fertility journey, please get in touch by calling 01902 620831.
  
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One of our former patients, Lynette Heaps along with her husband Brian, has kindly agreed to let us share their fertility success story with you, in the hope that it will inspire and help you if you’re going through fertility treatment yourself.
 
Lynette (age 35) and Brian (age 46) have been together for 11 years and were trying to conceive for 4 years before going through ICSI treatment here at St Jude’s Clinic. In this interview, Lynette explains some of the defining moments in their fertility journey…
 
When did you first start trying to conceive and how long was it before you decided to seek help through fertility services?
 
We started trying to conceive around 2007 and decided to seek help initially in 2009. We went to one IVF clinic where I was told I was too overweight for treatment which knocked me back massively and I felt really down about myself for a while.
 
After 18 months of trying to lose weight unsuccessfully, I contacted St Jude’s in early 2011 to see what the ideal weight was that I needed to reach so that I could know what to aim for. A week later I had an appointment with Mr Adeghe who confirmed that my weight was fine and I could start straight away!
 
How did infertility affect you in your personal life?
 
It had a massive impact. Due to me struggling to lose weight I was very down which affected our relationship. My husband also had a daughter from a previous relationship so although I didn’t mean to, I spent some time resenting this and feeling that he wasn’t as bothered about having a child as I was because he already had one.
 
Family and friends constantly asked when we were going to have kids and as we didn’t want to explain our situation to everyone, we made up excuses and told white lies to stop the questions. I also dealt with all the pregnant ladies at work as part of my role (in HR) which could be quite hard at times but I also kept my hopes up as sometimes they would have had a nice story about their own struggles.
 
Tell us about the sort of fertility treatments you had - what were they like to experience?
 
We went straight through ICSI with St Jude’s. The first clinic we tried felt clinical and cold and I really didn’t feel at home there, but from the second we walked into St Jude’s and met Mr A, we felt like part of the family.
 
How long did it take for you to get pregnant after starting treatment?
 
I was pregnant roughly about 8 weeks after my first appointment – I really didn’t realise it could happen so quickly and I also appreciate how lucky we were to be successful on our first cycle.
 
How did you feel in that moment you realised you had a positive pregnancy test?
 
We had so much go wrong on route… it was estimated we would have around 20 eggs but only 8 were harvested. Of those 8, 6 were good enough to work with. Of the 6, only 2 fertilised and on the day of transfer, only 1 of those had developed enough. I was distraught and convinced that everything was going to go wrong. When I did the test I didn’t believe it. It took a while to sink in but once it did we were thrilled and so excited and couldn’t wait to meet the baby.
 
Did you face any challenges or worries during your pregnancy?
 
Many! I spent the whole of the first trimester convinced it was a phantom pregnancy or something was going to go wrong. I had no symptoms at all which in my head meant that I wasn’t pregnant. I paid privately for extra scans every few weeks just to alleviate my fears and prove to myself I was actually still pregnant!
 
At 20 weeks I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had to monitor my food carefully and take a tablet each day as well as taking my bloods 4 times a day. I was warned that we may have a big baby too!! I was under a consultant and given extra scans and at 28 weeks was told I had SPD which caused quite a bit of pain for me.
 
At 35 weeks I was surprised by my waters breaking at 10pm and after being admitted to the MAU, my contractions started at 2am. I was obviously worried and concerned for the baby and I remember asking if he would be taken away from me with him being so early. After 24 hours of labour and not being able to get him out even with assistance due to him being back to back, I was rushed to theatre for an emergency C-section where he was born at 10.41pm.
 
Tell us about your baby!
 
I remember seeing my baby for the first time held over the screen and a little drop of blood ran down the screen but I was too out of it to register anything else. I slept while they stitched me up and my husband had to answer the questions about the Vitamin K injection as I took a while to come round.
 
They asked me to hold him but due to the spinal, my arms were numb and I was scared of dropping him so I asked Brian to do it. When I came out of theatre and they put the sides up on the bed, I had a bit of feeling back and was able to hold him. It was amazing. I was so tired and emotional but thrilled to bits that my baby boy was here and seemed to be ok.

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We named him Isaac Robert John Heaps and he was 7lb 8oz born at 35 weeks! But he was mine and he was beautiful. He had a swollen head from the forceps and ventouse attempts and marks on his face too, but to me he was perfect.
 
I was told he was slightly jaundiced so he had to go onto a billy bed in my room and I wasn’t allowed to keep taking him out so I didn’t get to hold him much for the first 24 hours. Then just as he was a day old, a nurse came into my room in the middle of the night and said she was taking him to Intensive Care and that someone would explain.
 
I was distraught. My husband was at home, my baby had been taken away and I was scared he was going to die! The words ‘Intensive Care’ scared the life out of me and because nobody had explained why I was in such a mess. A few hours later I was taken to see him and he was naked in an incubator with nothing but a nappy on and wires coming out from under him. He had a tube through his nose and I was hysterical.
 
When they finally explained, his jaundice had gotten so bad and kept going up that he was close to having to have a full blood transfusion, therefore they had placed him under some really strong lights to try and get the jaundice under control. I was told that his life was not at risk at this stage so I managed to calm down a bit and call my husband to explain.
 
He was kept in there for 2 weeks and it took a week for him to come out of the incubator. I didn’t get to hold him much as he needed to stay under the lights and I was afraid I wouldn’t bond with him as well as I should due to not being around him as much.
 
I stayed by his side when I wasn’t sleeping and although he wouldn’t breast feed, I pumped constantly to give him the best chance at fighting through the jaundice. Eventually he improved and after 2 weeks we were allowed to take him home! That was the best day of my life.
 
What’s it like being a mum after the long awaited journey that you had?
Amazing! I can’t explain the love I have for Isaac and I would do anything for him. He is a total mummy’s boy and is so loving and kind.  I couldn’t wish for a better son. It’s the best job in the world and I only wish we could afford the treatment again so that I could give him a brother or sister.
 
What advice could you give to couples going through their own fertility journey based on your experiences?
 
Take time out. Talk to each other. Most importantly for me, find someone you feel comfortable with to do the treatment. I remember Mr A hugging me when we arrived for treatments, holding my hand through sedation and telling me he would pray for me. All those things were comforting and made me feel at ease. It’s a stressful process so to take the stress away from at least part of that was a huge help to me.

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The team at St. Jude’s Clinic would like to thank Lynette and Brian for taking the time to share their story. We’re sure it will inspire others who are currently trying to start a family.
 
If you’d like to talk to someone about our fertility services and how we could help you in your own fertility journey, please get in touch by calling 01902 620831.