Revolutionary technique could help more Hartlepool women become mums

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A REVOLUTIONARY technique which helps childless women to become mothers could be on the way to Hartlepool.

And that’s just one part of a bid to make a specialist fertility unit in the town the envy of the UK.

The assisted reproduction unit at the University Hospital of Hartlepool wants to bring in time lapse photography.

The technique involves a camera which is set to record a series of images at regular intervals.

It monitors the development of in-vitro fertilisation embryos before they are transferred into the womb.

That way, the best and most suitable can be chosen to for the mother so that she can have a successful pregnancy.

Staff at the unit exclusively revealed their plans to the Mail after Hartlepool held a hugely successful conference on the topic of women with a reduced ovarian reserve.

It attracted speakers from all over the world, including Dr Stephen Troup, a clinical embryologist with 20 years of experience who gave a talk on Time Lapse Imaging Systems.

Hany Mostafa, the clinical lead for the ARU unit in Hartlepool, said: “We are hoping to bring it in, in Hartlepool. Time lapse photography is our next approach.”

He added: “Our aim is to try and put the Hartlepool unit at the centre of scientific and academic environment in this country. We certainly want to make it the heart of the scientific North-East.”

The unit already uses techniques such as an incubator which stores embryos at low oxygen levels – meaning they can be kept for up to five days and increase the chances of success in Hartlepool couples to conceive.

It also uses an intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (icsi) machine which allows experts to inject sperm into an egg under the microscope.

The University Hospital of Hartlepool was one of the first in the country to introduce an embryo vitrification process to help dozens of people to become parents.

Principal embryologist Dave Gibbon said the high aims of the unit were very real. In 2012 the Hartlepool team brought in specialist systems to start the process of endometrial scratching.

It involves gently scratching the lining of the womb, or the endometrium, in the month before IVF treatment.

The procedure seems to help improve the chances of successful pregnancies.