Bath Fertility celebrates major anniversaries
In 1993 our founder, Mr Nick Sharp, approached the Chairman of the Board of the Bath Royal United Hospital NHS Trust (RUH) and suggested the establishment of an Assisted Conception service on the RUH site.
The proposal was put to the Board who unanimously agreed, and an empty unused part of the hospital was identified as a suitable building for the new service.
Early in 1994 the Bath Assisted Conception Clinic (BACC) was opened with a small dedicated team of personnel to provide IVF to the population of Bath. The RUH thus became the first District General Hospital in the UK to have its own IVF clinic – all other preceding clinics either being in University Teaching Hospitals or in private facilities.
Dr Stephanie Gadd PhD designed our first embryology laboratory and has worked alongside Mr Sharp since the clinic opened; she is now our Laboratory Director. In the first year, 56 cycles of IVF treatment were undertaken. The workload steadily grew, and additional staff joined the team, including Consultant Mr David Walker.
After a successful 20-year period the old RUH building was showing its age and becoming difficult to maintain, so an alternative location was sought. Although initial options on the Trust site were considered it became clear that the Trust had major commitments to contend with, and so permission was given for Nick Sharp and David Walker to take over the running service independently, and to relocate it offsite.
A number of options were considered including adapting existing buildings, however none were ideal and all represented compromises. The decision was made to build a brand new, purpose built, state of the art fertility centre on a greenfield site at Bath Business Park. The land was bought, an architect commissioned, and Bath Fertility Centre was built, with work starting during the snow of February 2012. After completion and successful inspections by both the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA), permission was given to start providing the service from the new premises.
With barely a change in step and no interruption, the service relocated from the RUH to Bath Business Park in May 2013.
We are therefore celebrating SIX successful years in Bath Business Park and TWENTY-FIVE years since the inception of the service in Bath.
In the early days the clinic provided IVF, embryo freezing and donor insemination, along with sperm freezing for oncology patients. Subsequent developments in Assisted Conception have all been incorporated into the provision of treatment including:
- Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) for severe male factor infertility
- Surgical sperm recovery under sedation
- Egg donation
- Embryo donation
- Egg freezing
- Blastocyst culture
- Elective single embryo transfer (eSET)
- Laser Assisted Hatching
- Time lapse embryo imaging (embryoscopy)
- Endometrial Scratching
- HyCoSy – ultrasound tubal patency testing
- Sequential gonadotrophin regimes
- Mild and natural IVF
Alongside these developments, the full range of fertility surgeries are also provided by the Consultants when appropriate to complement the treatment offered. Each of these unique developments have improved the chances of successful pregnancy outcome from treatment, and Assisted Conception continues to be an evolving field. There is no doubt that over the next 25 years there will be many further advances to help everyone achieve their wish for a baby of their own.
During Bath Fertility’s 25 years existence, the team has grown hugely from five personnel (1 Doctor, 2 Nurses, 1 Embryologist and 1 Administrator) to over 38 now. In the past years we have been pleased to welcome two new Consultants, Mr Ed Coats and Dr Kate O’Brien.
We have also expanded our services to Bristol and Dorset where we have brought the same expertise to our new sites, together with our warm, professional and sensitive support and advice.
In beginning of 2019, we became part of CARE Fertility, the UK’s leading fertility clinic group for IVF treatment, which is something we’re all very pleased about, and we’re excited to continue the growth and development of the service to our patients.