Forget Harley Street… we caught up with consultant gynaecologist Dr Madhurima Rajkhowa from CARE Fertility Birmingham and found a world class facility right here in leafy Edgbaston
Fertility treatment is a sensitive topic. Emotionally charged, psychologically tough and financially testing, it can be a traumatic time for many couples for whom having a child doesn’t happen naturally. Dr Madhurima Rajkhowa, medical director at CARE Fertility’s newest addition in Edgbaston tells us why she feels there’s no need to travel to the capital for top notch treatment – the best is here in Brum.
With eight clinics across the UK, CARE Fertility has grown slowly and thoughtfully since its creation 20 years ago and has helped ‘make’ an impressive 28,000 babies boasting the best pregnancy rates in the country. With twenty year’s experience – most recently, clinical lead for fertility and assisted conception services at Birmingham Women’s Hospital – and with a subspecialty in reproductive medicine, Dr. Rajkhowa is at the top of her game, so joining CARE seemed a natural fit. She explains: “We used to offer a private service on the NHS, but this still meant roughly a five month wait from initial consultation to treatment. Here it’s one stop. Assessment, diagnosis, treatment and a management plan are put in place. There’s continuity of care and you get to know patients.”
State-of-the-art laboratories and consultation rooms teamed with the calibre of staff such as Dr. Rajkhowa and her highly experienced colleagues mean a trip to Harley Street is completely unnecessary. “It’s a common misconception that you must travel to London to get the best fertility treatment. The facility and staff here are world class,” she enthuses.
The most successful attempt at IVF is the first attempt and that’s what CARE aims for. Advanced technology allows the clinic to choose the ‘best embryo’ for transfer – a contentious issue – but when you look at what that means scientifically in terms of a successful pregnancy it makes sense. It’s not about producing designer babies, but about ensuring successful pregnancies. If IVF doesn’t work, the chances are it’s because of a chromosomal defect in the embryo. With the ability to screen an embryo to ensure it’s healthy, the chances of success increase and the multiple pregnancy rate is kept low – CARE has the lowest twin pregnancy rate in the UK. Recognising that IVF works and getting help sooner aids success too.
It’s well documented that fertility treatment costs a small fortune, putting increased pressure on already anxious couples. A successful first attempt is clearly the dream, so maximising the chance of that outcome is the priority.
The business has changed over the decades with more single women freezing their eggs for future use whether a pre-emptive measure before a bout of chemotherapy or as a lifestyle choice and naturally the number of same sex couples turning to treatment is on the increase. CARE’s founder, Professor Simon Fishel, was part of the team involved in the birth of the world’s first IVF baby, Louise Brown in 1978. Clearly, times have changed significantly and progress is being made constantly in terms of new techniques and treatments. As an organisation, CARE is invested heavily in research collaborating with multiple universities in the UK and in the US. In addition, CARE is an active member in Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HEFA) licensed research as the industry strives to discover new solutions and treatments.