As part of The Queen’s Green Canopy seven lime trees have been planted at Bourn Hall Cambridge, one for each decade and each dedicated to a milestone in IVF – one of the greatest scientific and medical achievements made during The Queen’s reign.
Tree 5 – The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act
Bourn Hall baby Elizabeth (Effie), together with Gwenda Burns and Kate Brian from Fertility Network UK, planted a tree to commemorate the first Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act in 1990.
There was a real concern that, without an act of parliament, IVF and embryo research would be stopped.
But after a campaign by Professor Robert Edwards and others, the Bill was passed and became The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.
As a result the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority was established to regulate human embryo research along with monitoring and licensing fertility clinics in the UK.
The act is now being reviewed to reflect changes in attitudes and technology.
Place of sanctuary
Gwenda Burns, Chief Executive of Fertility Network UK, reflects that the campaigning is not over. “Fertility patients have so many things to fight for, including fair access to NHS-funded fertility treatment and IVF being recognised as necessary medical treatment.
“So many patients are doing that while dealing with the extreme levels of distress that infertility often brings.
“That’s why Bourn Hall clinic’s ‘place of sanctuary’ is so welcome. What a beautiful idea and so needed. We hope the lime trees planted here give fertility patients the emotional shelter they need to withstand the storms of infertility.”
IVF has changed my life
Elizabeth (Effie) from Royston, Herts, was born following IVF treatment at Bourn Hall. Effie is the Scottish form of Elizabeth and both her nans shared the name. Her parents Megan and Mike tried for five years to have a baby.
Megan says: “I don’t think it would be an overstatement to say that IVF has absolutely changed my life. I am incredibly grateful to Bourn Hall.”