Glasgow IVF clinic invites babies to 30th birthday

Dr Bobby Low with staff nurse Jodie Davies and trainee embryologist Frances Wason. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Dr Bobby Low with staff nurse Jodie Davies and trainee embryologist Frances Wason. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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IT IS an extended family thousands strong whose members are about to be brought together for the first time.

In an emotionally charged homecoming, every baby conceived at Scotland’s leading fertility clinic is to be invited to a special 30th anniversary reunion this summer.

From the first baby to the latest, generations of children will attend the event at Nuffield Health Glasgow Hospital next month.

About 6,000 babies have been conceived at the private clinic over the past 30 years, including hundreds of twins and dozens of sets of triplets. The gathering will also mark the return of Dr Bobby Low, the man widely regarded as Scotland’s grandfather of fertility, after whom many of Nuffield’s babies have been named.

The 75-year-old, known to countless families simply as Uncle Bobby will join consultants and nursing staff past and present to mark the clinic’s 30th anniversary.

Ashley Hyde, an embryologist at Nuffield, said: “Meeting up with a patient again is the best part of the job. It’s special every time someone brings their baby, it’s a feeling that’s both bizarre and amazing.

“It’s an emotional experience for people, sometimes they are at the lowest point in their lives asking themselves if they are going to be able to have a family.”

Her colleague, Jenn McArthur, a member of the marketing team involved in going through reams of digital and paper records to invite people to the reunion on 16 August, added: “It will be an emotionally charged day, almost like a family reunion.

“I think a lot of people will be taken aback to see just how many others have gone through the same process and the same emotions, especially those who chose not to tell their family they were going through IVF.”

The centre is the brainchild of Low, who was working as a consultant obstetrician at Stob­hill Hospital when he spearheaded a successful £250,000 fundraising drive, allowing the Nuffield to open its doors in the summer of 1985.

Its first patients were Hamish and Joyce Marshall from Whitburn.

The couple tried twice unsuccessfully to conceive by IVF at London’s Cromwell Hospital. But their first cycle at the Nuffield gave them a daughter, Louise, the first of the “Bobby Low babies” who will attend the reunion.

Low, who retired from the Nuffield in 2012, said: “I’m obviously very proud of the past 30 years. Without the team at the Nuffield, these people coming to the reunion wouldn’t be here at all.

“I’m a big softy, I’ll probably be in tears. I get former patients from all over the world who still contact me. I’ve got babies in the middle of America, in Sydney, Malaysia, Libya – all over the place.”

Anyone wishing to attend should e-mail glasgowfertility30@nuffieldhealth.com

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