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20 years helping couples become families

Hundreds of babies and tots and their parents joined in the fun at the annual party hosted by the assisted conception team at the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.  

The team was celebrating its own 20th birthday and continues to be among the most successful in the country with more than 1,500 babies born as a result of the care there. 

When the unit first started,  there were 50 IVF cycles a year. Now there 350 and it continues to have conception rates of around 35% - consistently higher than the national average. 

The team has specialists in both male and female fertility and a specialist nurses to help couples become families. 

Sister Helen Marvell, said: “We are with our couples from the word go and throughout their journey. So for us to welcome so many back on such a happy day for everyone is always a very special day for us.” 

Consultant Martin De Bono, said the friendship and trust which builds up makes it special for staff and couples alike. He said:  “ The teamwork is what makes CHFT care special. The smiles today are overwhelming and make it a very happy event for us as well as our families.” 

There was face painting, bouncy castles, a ball park and Easter eggs for everyone at the event held at Calderdale Royal Hospital. A raffle was drawn and the couples always make a donation towards the costs. 


1 Mum Lindsay Mansfield , from Almondbury, came along with 15 month old daughter Gracie Eden and her sister Elaina. Gracie was born at the third attempt for Lindsay and husband Allan. 

She said: “ We had been trying and it is very difficult and stressful. By the third round I couldn’t make the call to find out if it had been successful. My husband did it and I thought it was going to be no. I really could not believe it – I still can’t.” 

2 Proud parents Anna Bradnum and Simon Reekie, from Elland, brought along  three month old baby Bethany . She was born after their  fertility treatment.  Anna said: “ We decided we needed help which was devastating to us. But from the word go I cannot praise the ACON team enough. 

“From the very first appointment we were given the highest care. Not just the medical advice. You know they know their stuff, but the nurses support you as a person, emotionally too.

“Whenever I came in for an appointment I always left feeling better than when I arrived.   When we were waiting for results it was both exciting and scary – all mixed up at once. When I phoned for the results I couldn’t take it in.  I had been trying to keep my expectations low.. and I just couldn’t take it in. They said do you want it spelling out and I said Yes I do!!  After being  9 weeks pregnant you are not with ACON any more and I felt sad and missed them.” 

Simon said: “They care for so many couples yet  the team always made it feel personal.” 

3 Joanne and Simon Schofield from Cowlersley brought in 15-month-old twins Shay and Bryn. Joanne said: “We were hoping for one and got two little blessings. I can’t thank the ACON team enough. It is amazing what they have done for us.” 

4 Kate and Lee Hamilton from Elland had Lydia and Grace 10 weeks early so the baby girls – each 3lbs 4 oz - spent time on the Special Care Baby Unit after they were born. 

Kate said: “I always wanted twins and we now have two lots of hugs and two lots of cuddles. The team is so friendly and so approachable. They become part of your life as you develop such a special relationship. You have that trust in them as you are counting on them to give us the best thing in life – and here they are. We have both ACON and SCBU to thank as without them we would not have these two. I will come every year because what they have done for us is amazing.”