New embryo freezing approach could double the chance of pregnancy

Cambridge IVF has become the first NHS clinic in the UK to routinely freeze embryos after research showed the technique increases pregnancy rates

The clinic, which is part of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said it achieved a 61.8 per cent success rate for a group of 167 women between the age of 24 and 45 compared with 40.6 per cent for fresh embryos transferred.

Embryologists at the clinic, who works closely with Addenbrooke’s teaching hospital and the Rosie Maternity Hospital, found freezing gives them the opportunity to transfer selected embryos at a time most suitable for the patient.

The developments come only a week after the clinic unveiled a new multi-cycle IVF package

This competes favourably with the best on-line prices, while fully meeting National Institute of Clinical Guidelines (NICE).

Service lead and consultant embryologist Stephen Harbottle said: “Although we have been exploring the freeze technique for some years we were, frankly, taken aback by the consistent success we have achieved over the last 18 months, and we think our results will get even better. This is a significant step forward for IVF, the NHS and of course our patients.”

“It seems appropriate that we are able to offer additional services in the year that Britain’s first test tube baby Louise Brown celebrates her 40th birthday and the NHS celebrates its 70th anniversary. As an NHS clinic our focus is on patient care and research rather than profit – just as it was when Louise Brown was born and the NHS was conceived.”

The initiatives come almost 12 months after many clinical commissioning groups withdrew funding for IVF treatment on the NHS, prompting concerns about where couples would go for treatment.

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