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IVF clinic’s bid to reopen after ‘heart-breaking’ lockdown closure

PUBLISHED: 10:09 05 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:11 10 May 2020

Dr Mike Macnamee, chief executive of Bourn Hall. Picture: BOURN HALL/SI BARBER

Dr Mike Macnamee, chief executive of Bourn Hall. Picture: BOURN HALL/SI BARBER

Please credit: Bourn Hall Clinic / Si Barber. (Copyright Si Barber)

Bourn Hall is to make a bid to reopen its Colchester IVF clinic following the Covid-19 lockdown to help couples trying for a baby.

Bourn Hall's Colchester clinic is offering online consultation - but is applying to reopen after May 11. Picture: SI BARBERBourn Hall's Colchester clinic is offering online consultation - but is applying to reopen after May 11. Picture: SI BARBER

However, Bourn Hall chief executive Dr Mike Macnamee said the government’s decision to stop all new IVF treatments in March had been “heart-breaking” for would-be parents.

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The UK-wide lockdown was designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus and ultimately save lives.

While all fertility testing and treatment remains on hold, clinics with a sound treatment commencement strategy can apply to reopen from May 11.

The Bourn Hall clinic in Colchester. Picture: BOURN HALL/SI BARBERThe Bourn Hall clinic in Colchester. Picture: BOURN HALL/SI BARBER

Bourn Hall, which offers both NHS-funded and self-funded fertility testing and IVF treatment, says it has been working on a “robust plan” for reopening, which includes the use of PPE to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

It has also frozen all patients’ fertilised eggs ready for embryo transfer when it is safe to do so, which Dr Macnamee said “will not have been detrimental to their treatment outcome”.

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He added: “Frozen and fresh embryos have an equal chance of success in creating a baby.”

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Yet while he said this was “one piece of comfort”, he added: “This period has been very distressing, particularly for those in their late 30s and above where time is very precious.

“The lockdown guidelines for clinics were introduced overnight and the implications for each patient were different depending on their stage of treatment.”

Ahead of its application to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which is the government’s regulator, Bourn Hall is introducing virtual consultations with a fertility doctor.

“If you have results from previous fertility investigations that suggest you need IVF treatment then we are offering online consultations immediately with one of our specialist fertility doctors,” Dr Macnamee said.

“Our consultant will discuss your results, talk through your treatment options and prepare a personalised treatment plan.”

“Time is critical in fertility treatment.

“By having a consultation in the next few weeks, you will be in our booking system and we will be able to contact you directly about your next steps as soon as we are able to.

“There is much that people can do while in lockdown to boost their fertility health and make treatment more successful.

“The measures we are implementing will mean a smooth and rapid patient journey for those wanting to start a family.”

Virtual IVF consultations can be booked by emailing Bourn Hall.


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