I was delighted to be asked to the opening of Norfolk’s first fertility clinic yesterday at Wymondham near Norwich. The clinic is the latest outpost of Bourn Hall Cambridge – the UK’s first ever fertility clinic which was originally set up by IVF pioneers Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe.
It’s great that Norfolk finally has a fertility clinic; it had been one of those neglected areas of the country where having a fertility problem comes with the additional difficulty of needing to travel for treatment. People don’t always give location sufficient consideration when choosing a clinic – a journey which seems fine when you do it once can sometimes become a complete nightmare when you’re doing it on a regular basis and can add to the stress of treatment.
You can read more about the new clinic from the local paper report here
It was so sad to hear the news that Professor Sir Robert Edwards, the IVF pioneer, had died yesterday. He was a truly lovely man, who had done so much to change the lives of those of us who live with infertility. It was his determination and hard work that led to the birth of the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, in 1978.
When he agreed to speak at National Infertility Day a few years ago, I was dispatched to interview him for Infertility Network UK. I was nervous at the prospect of meeting someone whose work had changed my life so profoundly, but he was so charming and easy to talk to that my anxieties disappeared right away. He genuinely cared about couples who were trying unsuccessfully to conceive in a way that is very rare among those who’ve had their own families without any trouble.
All of us who have experienced IVF have him to thank for the treatment that has given us hope – and many of us have him to thank for our families too. You can read my tribute for The Guardian here