A special grandchild is celebrating her first Christmas – Olivia, is a second generation Bourn Hall baby. Her mum Amy was born after her parents Lesley and Brian were successfully treated more than 30 years ago by IVF pioneer Patrick Steptoe at our first clinic in Cambridge.
Lesley (now aged 71) was 36 when she had Amy and her sister Katie, who became Norfolk’s first IVF twins. She could hardly believe that the same fertility clinic had now given her the gift of a grandchild.
Watching her own daughter have treatment at Bourn Hall has brought home to Lesley how much more of an ‘everyday’ procedure IVF is now compared to when she had it.
Pioneering IVF treatment in the 1980s
When Lesley had her treatment women were treated as in-patients and stayed at Bourn Hall for days on end until their bodies were deemed fit for treatment. These days when couples have IVF they are treated as outpatients and go home the same day and carry on their lives as normal.
“The women all stayed in portacabins, it was like being at boarding school,” laughs Lesley, recalling her own IVF treatment. “We used to have our urine checked every three hours, we weren’t allowed to keep having drinks because we weren’t allowed to do wees at any other time – we were monitored like schoolchildren!”
After embryo transfer the women were treated like invalids Lesley remembers: “We were told to sit in the back of the car on the way home with our feet up and we were not allowed to iron or wash the windows. If we used a kettle it could only be half full and were told not to keep going up and down the stairs.”
IVF treatment today
In contrast, daughter Amy was in and out the same day after her treatment at Bourn Hall Norwich last year and carried on commuting to London to work and going to the gym!
Amy, aged 35, was the same age that her mum was when she had treatment and had been trying for just over a year to get pregnant with husband Neil before seeking help. She had always had irregular periods and then tests revealed that she had high levels of prolactin.
Women who are not pregnant and are not breastfeeding should have low levels of prolactin but if a woman who is not pregnant has high levels it can affect her fertility.
Amy and Neil’s treatment at Bourn Hall Norwich was IVF with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) and two weeks later the couple found out they were pregnant. Amy gave birth to Olivia on 1 February 2019.
First Christmas celebrations
The couple will be celebrating their first Christmas as a family with Olivia this year. We wish the three of them and proud grandparents Lesley and Brian a very Merry Christmas.