New international partnership creates largest UK donor sperm bank


Saint Mary’s Hospital, part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, has announced a unique collaboration with Fairfax Cryobank, Inc. to establish a new base for storing and distributing donor sperm from Manchester throughout the UK and Ireland. This will make Saint Mary’s the UK’s largest donor sperm bank, and help to overcome the shortage of donor sperm.   Same-sex couples and single women undergoing IVF or other fertility treatment will now have access to more than 100 US-based sperm donors who comply with Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) regulations around screening, confidentiality and traceability.  This service is also available to heterosexual couples receiving NHS fertility treatment who require donor sperm.   Rather than supplying donor sperm directly to clinics in the UK and Ireland from its facility in the United States, Fairfax Cryobank will now use the specialist assisted reproduction unit at Saint Mary’s Hospital to manage this process.   Located in Manchester, Saint Mary’s was the first hospital in the UK to offer an NHS IVF service.  For more than 30 years it has provided a range of assisted conception treatments to NHS and fee-paying patients, offering care that is safe, effective and based on the latest scientific research.   “This is an exciting partnership which offers a fast and efficient distribution service to support the treatment of heterosexual, single women, and same sex couples,” said Dr Raj Mathur, the Clinical Lead at Saint Mary’s who is working with Fairfax Cryobank to provide the new service. “Our collaboration with Fairfax will provide quicker access to donor sperm for both NHS and private patients, with experts from Saint Mary’s ensuring rigorous quality standards are maintained.”   The donor pool consists of undergraduate and graduate college students, as well as successful professionals. Men who are interested in becoming applicants must be between 18-39 years of age, healthy and have no significant health risk factors. Of those who apply, fewer than 1 percent actually are accepted as sperm donors for Fairfax Cryobank, which illustrates the company’s rigorous screening processes.   The initial screening of donors includes an extensive health questionnaire, physical exam, medical, genetic and infectious disease testing plus a thorough sperm quality evaluation. Repeated physical exams and infectious disease testing are ongoing while donors are actively donating. Donors also agree to an annual update of their medical history. Any relevant information uncovered as part of these updates will be made available to all recipients who purchase donor sperm from Fairfax Cryobank.   Fairfax Cryobank is excited about the opportunity to partner with Saint Mary’s Hospital and expand its service to the UK.   “Fairfax Cryobank is committed to helping to assist our clients build healthy families.  Our partnership with Saint Mary’s will allow those clients in the UK and Ireland easy access to HFEA compliant donor sperm with state of the art infectious and genetic screening to reduce the risk of disease transmission,” said Fairfax Cryobank Director Stephen Pool, PhD. “Having worked with the professionals at Saint Mary’s for over 18 months further solidifies our confidence in this partnership to be able to help patients needing donor sperm to create healthy families.”   * Fairfax Cryobank is regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, CLIA, the State of California Health and Human Services Agency, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Health Care Quality, New York State Department of Health, and the Oregon Health Authority. Click here to download our PDF

We are pleased to confirm that the annual complementary therapy morning will be taking place on SATURDAY 16th SEPTEMBER 2017


This will start at 10am in the Department of Reproductive Medicine and end at 1pm.  We look forward to you joining us for a little *Complementary Therapy and relaxing products… Reiki Acupuncture Mini Massage Cupping Reflexology Spa Products   *We offer the complementary therapy taster sessions purely as an aid to relaxation* If you are interested in attending please contact 0161 276 6000 option 7 for more information / to book your place.  

Panorama 28.11.16


We welcome the Panorama investigation shown last night on BBC1 on the role of so called “add ons” in IVF treatment, and the accompanying scientific article by Professor Carl Heneghan and colleagues at the University of Oxford published in the British Medical Journal.  Here at St Mary’s we conduct ongoing research into many aspects of IVF treatment including add ons and in our clinic we offer only treatments with firm evidence.  We  include in our routine IVF treatment the three add ons identified by Heneghan and colleagues as supported by evidence – blastocyst culture, embryoglue, and endometrial scratch, at no extra charge.  Actually we do not consider blastocyst culture to be an add on, however as it involves keeping the embryo in the laboratory for longer it is important that it is performed in the safest way possible using low oxygen levels and a high quality environment. Of the controversial “add ons” highlighted by Panorama, pre-implantation embryo genetic screening and immune therapy have never been offered at St Mary’s as we agree that there is currently no evidence to support their use.  We do use timelapse embryo incubators, in fact we were the first centre in the UK to have these, however this is because the incubators are much higher quality than others available and are important in offering safe blastocyst culture.  We do agree with the Panorama team that currently there is little evidence supporting the use of the embryo images obtained from timelapse in selecting embryos and certainly patients should not be being charged for this. We fully support the call by Panorama and Heneghan et al for more research into add ons and in fact at St Mary’s we have conducted for many years a high quality externally funded research programme in this area.  We have just completed participation in the Habselect clinical trial into the impact of sperm DNA damage and we are now carrying out both the Endoscratch trial into endometrial scratching and the EFREEZE trial into the use of embryo cryopreservation, funded by NIHR.  We also have a basic research programme funded by the MRC, EU and Diabetes UK into the efficacy and safety of IVF technologies such as embryo freezing, blastocyst culture, low oxygen and embryoglue on IVF outcomes and child health. We are firmly committed in our clinical practice and research and development to ensuring the best possible outcomes for couples attending St Mary’s for IVF treatment and children born through IVF.

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