A team from The Hewitt Fertility Centre based in the Liverpool Women’s Hospital marked the 40th anniversary of the first successful IVF conception by cycling 100 miles to Kershaw’s Hospital in Oldham – the site of the first IVF treatment – and back again.
National Fertility Awareness Week aims to raise awareness for fertility issues, as well as funds to help provide much-needed support for the 1 in 6 couples, and others, in the UK who struggle with fertility issues.
To honour the occasion, a group of staff from The Hewitt Fertility Centre set out to cover 100 miles in a single day; passing through Widnes, Warrington, Salford, to Kershaw’s Hospital in Oldham. Kershaw’s was chosen as the halfway point for its significance in developing and administering life-changing IVF treatment. It was 40 years ago that the cottage hospital just outside Oldham hosted the research carried out by Patrick Steptoe, Sir Robert Edwards and Jean Purdy, leading to the birth of the first child as a result of the miraculous treatment.
The Hewitt Fertility Centre is based in the Liverpool Women’s Hospital and also has a clinic in Knutsford, both of which provide NHS and private fertility treatment to patients across the North West and beyond. With success rates among the best in the UK and a large range of treatments for both male and female fertility issues, the Hewitt Fertility Centre is one of the largest and most successful clinics in the UK.
Mark Hargreaves, Paul Mallanaphy, Pauline Green and Lee Jones set off at 7:00am on a bitterly cold morning and after 3 flat tyres, some creative navigating and a couple of coffee stops arrived at Kershaw’s clinic – now a hospice – at around midday. Another flat tyre, a race against the fading light, and the team arrived back at Liverpool Women’s Hospital at 5:30pm.
Andrew Drakeley, Clinical Director at The Hewitt Fertility Centre said; “while we look forward to every opportunity to celebrate the work done by the amazing people involved in fertility treatment, this year is of marked significance as November 10th 2017 will be 40 years since the first IVF embryo was created and transferred. We are particularly proud of the group of our staff who marked the anniversary by cycling 100 miles to Kershaw’s Hospital in Oldham – the site of that first embryo transfer 4 decades ago – and back again.
Here at The Hewitt Fertility Centre, we’re proud to carry on the work started by the clinical staff – including Mr Jonathan Hewitt, one of the founders of The Hewitt Fertility Centre - back in 1989 when we started as a very small unit, with the first IVF baby born as a result in 1990.”
So far, the team have managed to raise almost £200 for the National Fertility Awareness charity and hope that their efforts can go some way to raising the profile of fertility concerns on this notable anniversary.
Mark Hargreaves, Communications Officer for The Hewitt Fertility Centre spoke of the ride, saying: “We wanted to do something a little special to mark the occasion and being a keen cyclist, I suggested this would be a good idea. Working within The Hewitt Fertility Centre, you see people every day who suffer with the anxiety of not knowing whether they will someday be able to have a child. The work done at fertility clinics helps so many and we wanted to help in any way we could. It was a long day and took a lot of doing but we’re all very proud of getting it done and will be looking forward to doing similar rides in the future.”
If you would like to read more on the journey and the hurdles the team faced, including more pictures, take a read of the ‘Fertility Cycle blog’.