How Bourn Hall clinics in King’s Lynn and Wymondham have helped couples have a baby without needing IVF
- Credit: Si Barber/Bourn Hall
Some 800 couples have been referred to a specialist fertility clinic in its first two years of opening. Half have successfully conceived.
Norfolk was one of the first counties to provide an integrated fertility service.
GPs can refer couples to the Bourn Hall Clinic, in King's Lynn and Wymondham, for treatment on the NHS.
It offers advice on how a change of lifestyle or a drug regime can enable women to become pregnant without needing IVF treatment.
Carol Steel, lead specialist fertility nurse at Bourn Hall in King's Lynn, said: 'For many people simple lifestyle advice or a drug regime can be sufficient to boost their natural fertility and increase the chance of a natural pregnancy. With an early diagnosis and the right support many people struggling with infertility can become pregnant without the need for IVF.'
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After being diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which was wreaking havoc with her fertility, Ellen Chestney from Norfolk knew her chances of getting pregnant were low.
Mrs Chestney and her husband Mark were referred by their GP for diagnostic tests at Bourn Hall.
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She was diagnosed with PCOS, a common cause of infertility, which affects ovulation. The clinic recommended a drug called Clomid to induce her ovulation and she was monitored regularly.
'This meant that I could predict a lot better when I would be fertile,' said Mrs Chestney, who soon fell pregnant.
In December 2016 gave birth to son Arthur Chestney at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn.
'The painful bit of labour only lasted a couple of hours and I managed to get through on gas and air,' she added.
If the Chestneys lived in a different part of the country the couple would have been referred to their local hospital. Tests would then be performed sequentially using a process of elimination which can take months, or even years in some cases.
Dr Thanos Papathanasiou, lead clinician for Bourn Hall, said: 'PCOS is difficult to diagnose if you are not familiar with it so closer working between fertility specialists and GPs will allow patients to take early action and prevent future health issues.'
Mrs Chestney said: 'We still can't believe that such a wonderful little boy is ours for keeps.'