We are very happy to announce an exciting change in our Clinic that coincides with a significant milestone – our 25th anniversary. During this time, our patients have had more than 3,500 live births and we have enjoyed success rates that are excellent by international standards.
In this article, we’ll go through the story of our new branding, and we will list what we consider to be the top ten achievements that have defined our commitment to reproductive health for the past quarter of a century.
Our Rebrand Story
The logo of the clinic for many years was two birds in flight, in the colours purple and green. This was chosen by Prof Mary Wingfield, Clinic founder, and was based on the swans from the Children of Lír story.
In 2022, Dr David Crosby took the position of CEO and Clinical Director. The Clinic is now managed by the Senior Leadership team, comprising of Dr Crosby, along with the Medical Director, Dr Renato Bauman, and Chief Operating Officer, Georgina Kearney.
Dr Renato Bauman
Dr David Crosby
This year, with the help of Red Dog Design Consultancy, we redesigned our brand to give it a more modern feel and to incorporate the values and mission of the Clinic. We now use blue and green as our primary colours, with blue representing the medical expertise of the Merrion Fertility Clinic team and green representing fertility and hope. It celebrates the relationships and partnerships formed on the fertility journey and shows the Clinic as a centre of excellence. The circles represent continuity, collaboration and connectedness, reflecting our patient-centric care, and the pattern they form represents an embryo, as the cells divide in the first two days.
Top Achievements During Our First 25 Years
#1 Focus on patient-centric care
To provide you with patient-centric care, we have put many measures in place, including the following:
- An incredible team of doctors with deep fertility expertise who create treatment plans individualised to your specific needs, discuss your options with you, help you make the right decisions, and respect your values and opinions.
- A system of care coordination that means you are well informed about upcoming appointments and treatments, and you can access our team to ask questions and address concerns when you need to.
- We created the role of Head of Patient Experience, held by Orla O’Leary, whose job is to listen to your feedback and work continuously to improve our patients’ experience.
- Empathy and respect are enshrined in all interactions with our patients.
- To help you cope with the emotional toll that the fertility journey can take, we have a dedicated fertility counsellor and provide a support group for all our patients twice a month.
#2 Our Association with the National Maternity Hospital
Many of our Consultants also work with the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street, including Dr David Crosby, Prof Cathy Allen, Dr Fiona Martyn, Dr Nita Adnan and Dr Maebh Horan. This means that our patients have access to the expertise of a leading teaching hospital and one of the largest maternity hospitals in Europe. As our doctors have public fertility clinics at the hospital, and provide pregnancy care there too, our patients get to enjoy continuity of care in familiar surroundings.
Sedation provided during your egg collection will be given by a Consultant Anaesthetist from the hospital. This means that you will experience minimal discomfort during this procedure.
Prof Cathy Allen
Dr Fiona Martyn
Dr Nita Adnan
Dr Maebh Horan
#3 Our Training Programme for Consultants
We operate a Clinical Fellowship programme, and we are accredited by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) as a training centre. This involves study and research, which we outline in section #4 below, and it also incorporates full training on all aspects of fertility care, supervised under the watchful eye of our Medical Director, Dr Renato Bauman.
Since the inception of this programme in 2012, eight consultants have completed this sub-speciality training programme, including three Consultants who currently work with Merrion Fertility Clinic, Dr David Crosby, Dr Fiona Martyn and Dr Maebh Horan.
Merrion Fertility Clinic is the only centre in Ireland providing a fertility training programme for consultants with fertility as a specialist area of interest.
Photo: Dr Maebh Horan, Dr Renato Bauman, Dr Laurentina Schaler, Dr Cathy Allen & Embryologist Joyce Leyden at ESHRE 2023
#4 Years of Fertility Research
We have a dedicated position of Head of Research, which is held by Dr Louise Glover PhD.
We discussed our Clinical Fellow Programme above; as part of this, each Clinical Fellow completes a “Doctor of Medicine” or MD, a medical postgraduate degree. Part of the MD includes choosing an area of research; this involves making a proposal, applying to the ethics committee, when approval is given, carrying out the study, and then documenting the findings. Research is carried out in conjunction with University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin.
There are two main fertility conferences in Europe each year run by the British Fertility Society (BFS) in January and the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in June. Our Clinical Fellows submit their research papers to both societies each year and are frequently asked to present their research.
If you would like to find out more, please read our recent article – Merrion Fertility Clinic Doctors Present at “Fertility 2023” Conference
The research is also submitted to and published in various prestigious publications.
Photo: Dr Andrew Downey presents at BFS 2023
#5 Significant Investment in Innovation
Our medical staff are constantly learning and sharing information on the latest scientific advances in fertility and attending various conferences and training events throughout the year. We are constantly reviewing our medical protocols in light of new advancements.
We have created the position of Innovation Manager, held by Dr Aoife Campbell PhD, formerly the deputy manager of our laboratory. Aoife researches new developments and works with the Senior Leadership Team and the Laboratory Manager to decide on which projects to progress.
Our policy is to offer only treatments that are evidence-based, meaning that there needs to be good quality data to show that the advancement does in fact improve the chances of having a live birth or that it has been approved by an organisation such as ESHRE.
Before offering a treatment ‘add-on’ on a commercial basis, we run our own trials and invite suitable patients to participate free of charge. For example, we are currently running trials on Embryo Glue, used when the embryo is transferred to the uterus, and PICSI, a sperm selection technique used when ICSI is being carried out. There is good evidence for the efficacy of both of these treatment ‘add-ons’ but we will not add them to our service offering until we are satisfied with the results we see in our in-clinic trials.
Photo: Nurse Ailbhe Murray attends Insights Fertility conference
#6 Providing Fertility Preservation for Adolescents & Young Adult Oncology Patients
Since 2020, we have partnered with the Irish Cancer Society (ICS) to offer fertility preservation to all adolescents in advance of beginning treatment for cancer. We also offer fertility preservation to young adult female survivors of cancer.
We have a dedicated team of doctors and nurses who deal with these patients, and we have created a private space for the young people and the family members that accompany them as they often have to spend a number of hours with us when they visit.
This service is free as it is funded by ICS, but we are advocating to have this become a publicly provided service funded by the HSE.
Photo: Amy Nolan, Director of Clinical Affairs in ICS, Dr Sorca O’Brien, Dr Lucia Hartigan, Dr Aoife Campbel PhD, Dr Louise Glover PhD, Eileen Barrett & Dr Maebh Horan & at the recent Health Care Professional Study Day in May 2023
#7 Advocating for Public Funding & Legislation
For many years, fertility services were not publicly provided, meaning that those who needed treatment had to attend a private clinic and pay fees, creating an unequal system where the ability to access treatment depended on your financial circumstances.
The Clinic has campaigned throughout the years for fertility treatment to be publicly funded, and finally, in September of this year, that became a reality. Public funding is now available to a limited cohort and we continue to campaign for the criteria to be widened to become more inclusive.
We have also campaigned for fertility legislation, and we continue to work with the government on the details of the upcoming Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) legislation.
#8 Merrion Fertility Foundation (MFF)
MFF was established so that patients who could not afford to pay private clinic fees could still access treatment. Patients can apply and are assessed under certain medical and financial criteria. Since it was established in 2012, it has awarded funding to over 300 patients. MFF continues to operate as many patients do not meet the criteria for public funding.
Click here to find out more about the foundation.
#9 Not-for-profit Status
We are Ireland’s only not-for-profit fertility clinic. That means we have no shareholders to satisfy and are under no pressure to provide profits or dividends.
Our not-for-profit standing gives us the independence and the autonomy to always recommend what we believe is in the best interest of our patients, based only on evidence and research.
Having said that, we still need to charge commercial prices so that we have more income than expenditure. This gives us the surplus of funds we need to invest in new technologies and carry out research.
#10 Facilities Upgrade
We are based on the campus of the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street, which means that we don’t have the option of operating from a purpose-built facility; our premises is a Georgian building with lots of original features and plenty of character.
We have invested significantly in creating an environment appropriate to a private medical facility. The facility is freshly painted using a Farrow & Ball colour palette; there are lots of designs and art pieces, modern furniture, natural lighting, and plants throughout to create a comfortable environment for our patients.
In our laboratory, theatres, and ultrasound scan rooms, we have the most advanced and up-to-date equipment available, including an Embryoscope incubator and Voluson ultrasound machines.
2023 saw the launch of PGT-A, PGT-M and PGT-SR, allowing us to provide comprehensive genetic screening and diagnostic services to individuals and couples seeking assisted reproductive technologies. This year also saw the beginning of a partnership with the HSE to provide fertility care for publicly funded treatments. In 2024, we look forward to establishing an egg donation programme and elevating the Clinic to the forefront of male factor fertility treatment.
We are very grateful to all the wonderful staff and patients who have made this possible, and we are very excited about the next steps in our journey as a leading Irish reproductive medical centre.