1. ITV Report

Liverpool hospital's IVF 'baby boom'

Liverpool technology help couple's conceive Photo:

One in seven couples will struggle to conceive. That number has increased over the last decade, as has the number of people seeking help. But at the Hewitt centre in Liverpool, they're leading the way in fertility treatment, with the highest IVF pregnancy rates in the UK.

The centre, which is one of the largest in the country, has become the first clinic in the world to start using a new system called Eeva. The 'revolutionary' treatment is being hailed as the biggest breakthrough in IVF in the last ten years.

Eeva is basically a computer, a video camera and a computer software package which uses time-lapse technology to predict whether an embryo is 'viable' and likely to thrive. Thanks to this technology, doctors can put the strongest embryos back into patients' wombs to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.

This system is still, pardon the pun, in its infancy. They've only been using it at the Hewitt for six months, but already they have several couples who are now pregnant.

Filming the new Eeva system was fascinating. Me and my cameraman Mike had to change into full scrubs, with special footwear and then walk through this holding room, where we had to change footwear again before entering the lab.

The first thing you notice is that the lighting is a very strange yellow/green colour. It's actually special UV lighting - supposedly the ideal lighting for embryos - which I suppose makes sense as they wouldn't be exposed to daylight if they were in the womb. Here, we were shown the Eeva system - essentially a time-lapse technology which allows the embryos to be kept in the incubator and not removed while embryologists are still able to view how they are dividing.

There is now just one more clinic in the whole of the UK that is using this Eeva system - that one is in Glasgow, and another in Spain. But for Liverpool to be the first in the world is really quite something. Eeva is still waiting to be rolled out in the rest of Europe and the US.

When that first baby is finally born, its likely to be heralded with huge excitement. If that baby ends up being a girl, I wonder what they may call it?!

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