HARTLEPOOL has become the centre of world attention thanks to its work on helping childless couples to become parents.
Experts in the USA, Sweden, Greece and the Ukraine have asked for the notes from a conference which was held in Hartlepool.
It attracted speakers from all over the world, and from as far afield as Australia, for a meeting on the topic of women with reduced fertility.
The event held last Friday at Hartlepool College of Further Education attracted some of the biggest names in the world of assisted reproduction.
It was organised by the town’s own assisted reproduction unit, based at the University Hospital of Hartlepool. It went so well that Hartlepool’s principal embryologist Dave Gibbon was still answering emails at 12.30am the next day.
He said: “To get that quality of speaker to come to Hartlepool is a coup and the feedback has been amazing.
“Word got round about it and I have sent copies of the presentations from the conference all around the world.”
Speakers at the event included professors Richard Fleming, Geeta Nargund and Steven Fleming as well as doctor Stephen Troup.
The day after the conference, Hartlepool’s assisted reproduction unit team showed its lighter side when it held its Christmas party for mums, dads and the extra-special babies who came into the world thanks to the help of the experts.
There was food, raffles and a chance for the children to meet Santa Claus.
More than 80 babies were there and Mr Gibbon said: “The place was bulging at the seams. It is a really good time for us and our way of saying ‘we are blooming and flourishing’.
“This is a tradition of the unit and our way of showing we have a lighter side, as well as the educational side that we show with the conference.”
Mr Gibbon estimated more than 400 children had been born thanks to the help their parents received from the ARU unit which opened five years ago.
Since then, it has kept up to date with the latest developments and equipment to help couples become parents.
Mr Gibbon said it was thanks to the backing of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust that the unit continued to have investment.