Jamie Facer-Childs and his twin brother Ben were born after his mother was treated by Patrick Steptoe at Bourn Hall near Cambridge, the clinic established by the three pioneers of IVF. Embryo freezing enables fertilised eggs to be stored for further rounds of treatment.
Starting life as a frozen embryo appears to have left a mark on Jamie; the need to challenge what seems impossible and explore what is achievable. Jamie’s adventurous spirit has led him to undertake some huge challenges; awarded a world record for the youngest pair to row across the Indian Ocean in 2009 and being part of the first British team to complete a foot traverse of Antarctica in 2017.
His curiosity in improving lives has led him to become a doctor and he is currently studing the molecular aspects of cell and gene therapies – a growing field of medicine, offering novel treatments and cures for severe disease. He is currently working as an emergency doctor in London where the demands of the job are high but the reward of being able to treat patients makes it worthwhile. Meanwhile he pursues other interests in research, supporting a research project at UCL into new treatments for muscular dystrophy. On the horizon is a future expedition which looks to combine the physical challenges with beneficial research that can improve our medical understanding of the human body under stress.
Life following Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
Jamie says: “As a kid growing up I felt no different to any other; loved and cared for by my family. As I have come to understand more about IVF I have felt lucky to have survived as a frozen embryo and grateful to my parents for trying so hard to have me, my twin brother Ben and younger sister Elise. It strikes me as so important that science continues to push the boundaries in medicine, providing life and joy to families around the world. It is a privilege to meet with others who are benefiting from the pioneering techniques that led to my birth and see the difference it is making. It makes the risks, frustrations, hopes and disappointments given by my parents, scientists, clinicians and others in those early days so worthwhile.”