The 20th June’s episode of One Born Every Minute puts patients and staff at Liverpool Women’s Hospital in the spotlight in a life-affirming programme focusing on the success of IVF and sperm donation, and how it’s changing the lives of couples, families, and single parents across the country. The Hewitt Fertility Centre was proud to have its treatment at the heart of two of the stories featured…

Lesley’s sperm donor journey

One of the most rewarding aspects of the Hewitt’s work is helping those for whom parenthood would otherwise be out of reach to fulfil their dream of having a child. The issue isn’t always one of infertility: not everyone finds themselves as one half of a couple at the right point in their life, and this is where sperm donation plays a vital part. 

In this episode of One Born Every Minute, you’ll meet Lesley – who we were able to treat thanks to sperm donation. Like many people, Lesley felt ready for a family but hadn’t found ‘the one’ she wanted to spend her life with. Having always hoped for children, at the age of 41 she didn’t have the luxury of time to find her ideal partner and have a baby.

With the biological clock ticking, Lesley looked into sperm donation with us and, following treatment, she finally got the gift she’s always wanted – a healthy baby girl – thanks to a sperm donor.

Donor insemination uses the IUI technique but instead of partner sperm, sperm donated from a screened HFEA registered donor is used. Through sperm donation, several hundred thousand children have been conceived over the last 50 years – enabling infertile couples, single women and same sex couples the chance to start a family.

In a touching, tearful interview, she tells the camera what she’d say to her sperm donor: “It’s a gift that I never expected, and it’s appreciated beyond anything. I would probably say I have so much love for that person. I haven’t met him but… wow, thank you.” Lesley describes the birth of her baby girl, Alora, as ‘a dream come true’ – a perfect example of how truly incredible donor insemination is, and what a difference the donor can make to a complete stranger.

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A miracle baby

Sometimes a situation can seem hopeless, but Hewitt couple Jody and Chris told One Born Every Minute how they overcame the odds to bring their new baby into the world.

Jody found out she had fertility issues at the young age of 16, and was told that she’d find conceiving naturally close to impossible. Like many of our patients, Jody and Chris struggled to conceive naturally but decided that they were prepared to keep trying, with medical help. After a tricky few years of IVF cycles and three miscarriages, they finally decided to adopt.

The story didn’t end there: two years after adopting their son, they tried IVF again, with the Hewitt. They were told it had failed and they wouldn’t be able to try again – but there was a surprise in store. The next day, Hewitt’s embryologist called and told them that Jody’s eggs had miraculously begun fertilising, and they were delighted to hear that implantation had been successful a few weeks later.

IVF can be a difficult journey, and whilst success rates have soared since the very first IVF baby born in 1978, there’s still a chance that IVF might not work the first time around. Thanks to a combination of sheer determination, expert medical care form the Hewitt and a little luck, this couple were able to have a biological child – a healthy baby brother for their first son – making all the low points along the way worthwhile.

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One Born Every Minute is always an emotional viewing experience here at the Hewitt: the programme shows how very different the experience of creating a family can be – and, yes, it’s not always as straightforward as you’d want it to be.

Fortunately, there are lots of options available for anyone who has fertility issues, meaning that couples can try for the family they’ve dreamed through fertility treatment, as Lesley, Jodie and Chris show.

IVF, sperm donation, egg donation – there many different fertility treatment options and it’s a field that’s constantly being trialled, tested and improved, helping thousands of couples across the UK and worldwide to have children.

If you’re considering fertility treatment or you’re curious about the options after watching One Born Every Minute, book an appointment with your GP, or get in touch with a fertility specialist here at Hewitt Fertility Centre to find out more.

Mr Andrew Drakeley Andrew Drakeley

Mr Andrew Drakeley is the Clinical Director at the Hewitt Fertility Centre, working principally at the Liverpool Women’s site but with managerial responsibility for Knutsford.

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