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Fertility in Focus

Fertility in Focus: how Harley Street Fertility Clinic helps couples achieve their dream of parenthood

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In our brand-new series, Fertility in Focus, we speak to Harley Street Fertility Clinic to learn more about how they help couples and individuals achieve their dream of parenthood.

 

How would you describe the impact and importance of your work in the lives of fertility patients?

At the Harley Street Fertility Clinic, we are acutely aware of the profound effect our work has on the lives of individuals and couples who aspire to conceive.

We provide a comprehensive spectrum of cutting-edge fertility treatments and exceptional care, which are accessible to all, irrespective of the complexities of their medical profiles. Our unwavering commitment to achieving fertility success ensures that we are equipped with a diverse range of treatments to address the unique needs of our patients.

The impact and importance of this work in the lives of our patients is extraordinary, helping our patients to build the family they want, no matter how challenging the circumstances.

Are there any standout elements of your approach that are perhaps unusual or set you apart from the general “norm”?

The Harley Street Fertility Clinic is distinguished by a collective fertility expertise exceeding 150 years, shared among our four eminent fertility consultants.

This wealth of knowledge facilitates a collaborative and progressive approach to fertility care, underscored by a personalised touch that is fundamental to our philosophy.

We excel in managing complex fertility cases and converting seemingly insurmountable challenges into tangible possibilities for all our patients.

Our preliminary approach entails an exhaustive understanding of you and your fertility health. By conducting thorough examinations and diagnostic screenings from the outset, we leave no aspect unexamined to unearth the underlying causes of recurrent miscarriages or infertility.

We then devise a bespoke therapeutic treatment strategy that is optimised to your individual needs. This approach maximises the chance of success for each attempt at a pregnancy. Thereby reducing the overall time to pregnancy.

Our clinic boasts the highest conception rates for individuals over the age of 40 within the UK, a testament to our expertise and dedication.

Particularly noteworthy is our work in the field of reproductive immunology, an area that holds promise for those experiencing recurrent miscarriages with indeterminate etiology. Our esteemed fertility consultant, Dr George Ndukwe, with a venerable 38 years of IVF experience, specialises in this domain.

Dr Ndukwe utilises a battery of tests to detect the presence of hyperactive Natural Killer (NK) cells within the uterine lining. Through a regimen of immunosuppressive therapies, medications, and intralipids, we are adept at cultivating an optimal uterine environment conducive to a successful pregnancy.

How do you approach new patients in terms of assessing their needs and planning their treatment journey?

Each new patient embarks on their fertility journey at the Harley Street Fertility Clinic with an initial consultation conducted by one of our esteemed consultants. During this consultation, a comprehensive review of the patient’s history is undertaken, which may lead to recommendations for additional diagnostic tests.

Dr Geetha Venkat of Harley Street Fertility Clinic talking to a patient

After the completion of any necessary testing, our consultant will craft a bespoke treatment plan, tailored specifically to the patient’s individual needs.

The entire treatment process will be meticulously overseen by the same consultant, thus ensuring a seamless and continuous patient experience from start to finish.

What steps are you taking to keep fertility treatments affordable while giving the patients the best chance of having a successful pregnancy?

Harley Street Fertility Clinic recognises the financial considerations that accompany fertility treatments. To this end, we aim to deliver value for money in the care we offer by maximising the chances of success of each pregnancy attempt and minimising the time and cost to achieving a pregnancy.

Further, our treatment cycles include many state-of-the-art adjunct treatments that we believe improve clinical outcomes.

In terms of assisting with financial options, we have established partnerships with select financing entities to offer a variety of funding options for our patients.

Gaia provides a unique funding plan resembling an “insurance” model, which encompasses all essential treatment and medications but excludes adjuncts such as genetic testing or immune treatments.

Assured Fertility offers both a 100 per cent refund plan and a multi-cycle plan, with terms and conditions applied. Kandoo extends low-interest loans to facilitate the spreading of treatment costs over a manageable period.

Through these initiatives, we strive to make fertility treatments more accessible while maintaining the highest standards of care to maximise the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.

The fertility sector has changed drastically in the last decade. What has changed in your approach since 10 years ago?

While our mission has steadfastly remained to offer a personalised approach to each patient, the past decade has witnessed the advent of new and sophisticated treatments and diagnostic tools. These advancements have enabled us to significantly enhance our success rates, particularly noteworthy being our leading success rates in pregnancies for patients over 40 years of age.

Innovations such as PGT-A, CHLOE-EQ, EMMA and advanced immunology tests have been integrated into our practice, further solidifying our position at the forefront of fertility treatment.

Similarly, artificial intelligence based egg grading (CHLOE-OQ) allows our embryology lab to usefully determine egg quality before use. Hence, for patients undertaking egg freezing, we can now provide patients with vital information on the chances of success when returning to use the frozen eggs in due course.

Are there any new or emerging technologies / innovations in the fertility space that you use or are particularly excited about?

We are always exploring the very latest in technologies and innovations in our space, to ensure that we’re able to deliver the most likely circumstances for a successful pregnancy first time around.

Notable current technologies that we value, and use are:

  • Preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A), allows us to screen embryos for euploidy (normal number of chromosomes). Studies definitively show that aneuploid (abnormal number of chromosomes) embryos do not achieve a pregnancy. Thus, we can avoid transferring embryos that have no chance of achieving a pregnancy. Most UK clinics only perform PGT-A in select cases. However, we feel strongly that it should become routine as it reduces the overall number of attempts to achieve a positive outcome.
  • AI-based embryo grading (CHLOE-EQ) allows our embryology laboratory to provide more objective embryo grading. Further, it allows our highly skilled embryologists focus on what they do best rather than time spent on data entry and analysis.
  • The role of the Microbiome on implantation: using conventional (microbial culture) and molecular methods (EMMA/ALICE), we can interrogate a patient’s vaginal and endometrial microbiome. Studies show that having healthy microbiomes increase the chances of a positive outcome.

Technologies that we anticipate eagerly:

  • AI-assisted ovarian stimulation protocols. Ovarian stimulation (stimulating a woman’s ovaries to produce eggs) remains an art form and is dependent upon the clinicians’ experience. We expect machine learning and AI algorithms to leverage the vast amount of clinical data that is now available to provide improved ovarian stimulation protocols and decisions to support clinicians.
  • Continuous hormone monitoring. Blood tests and ultrasound scans are used to monitor a patient’s response to ovarian stimulation or endometrial preparation. However, these are snapshots. We hope continuous hormone monitoring, similar to continuous glucose monitoring will become reality soon. This will be a game changer in monitoring patients and should yield significantly improved results.
  • Computer assisted semen assessments: surprisingly, nearly all semen assessments are still performed manually. Unfortunately, technology has yet to deliver a device that is as reliable in performing this investigation. However, we are confident that one will be delivered in the near future.
  • Robotic assisted embryology laboratory procedures, including ICSI, oocyte/embryo vitrification. As with robotic assisted surgery, there will come a time when laboratory procedures can be performed with less human involvement and thereby improve the consistency of our results.
What is your ultimate mission with Harley Street Fertility Clinic?

Our ultimate mission is to enable each individual and couple who desires to start or grow their family to realise that dream, regardless of the complexity of their case.

We are dedicated to breaking barriers and providing solutions that make parenthood achievable for all who seek our expertise.

To find out more, please visit hsfc.org.uk.

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