Infertility is considered to affect 10 percent of women of reproductive age in the UK, and an increasing problem as women delay childbearing and because of the high incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, which impact upon fertility.
Modern assisted reproduction technology offers both infertile women and men the potential to have a healthy child. In addition, Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) has allowed detection in the early embryo of life threatening single gene related disorders, which through selection of unaffected embryos has enabled the delivery of healthy children to gene carrying or affected parents. Our work contributes to the health at the earliest stages of life and reflects our ambition in this Department to consider physical and mental health throughout the life course.
The Reproductive Medicine Unit is distinguished by its national and international reputation for evidence-based research, focusing on interventions that add value to patient-care and their treatment outcomes.
The unit comprises the Reproductive Medicine Clinic (RMC), the Assisted Conception Unit (ACU) and the centre for Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). Together these provide a highly rated comprehensive fertility and reproductive medicine service with over 2000 new patients seen per annum and substantial research potential. The Unit provides the UKs largest, most innovative and successful PGD programme and has a pioneering human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research unit. It is also one of the key units for subspecialty postgraduate training in reproductive medicine in the UK.
Based on the 11th floor of the Guy’s Tower, the unit provides state of the art clinical facilities fully compliant with the European Tissue and Cells Directive (EUTCD), as well as full GMP facilities for the production of clinically grade hESC. The Unit has a good network of collaboration between Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and other national research centres (Birmingham Women’s Hospital, Aberdeen, St Mary’s Hospital) and other sources in the private sector for recruitment of patients for studies (e.g. The Lister Hospital, London). International partners include groups in Belgium, Spain and Italy.
The focus on research is improvement in the outcome of fertility treatment, developing novel efficient techniques for PGD and providing materials for establishing stem cell lines from embryos affected by clinically relevant genetic disorders, under GMP conditions.