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Monday, 20 November 2017
Andrology Lab photos
New andrology lab opens
13 September 2016

A new laboratory has opened at our hospital for biomedical scientists studying andrology (the study of men’s health).

The lab is kitted out with semen analysis equipment for patients suspected of fertility problems and for post vasectomy checks.

It is also has a new specimen safety unit which the hospital team is hoping to use to prepare semen samples for a less well-known treatment called intrauterine insemination (IUI). IUI is not provided free of charge by the NHS but is a cheaper option than IVF and can be popular for people paying for their own fertility treatment. It involves putting the most healthy sperm (selected in the lab) into a women’s uterus when she is ovulating. Ipswich Hospital is applying to be able to offer this treatment later this year.

The biomedical scientists working in the lab are from Cambridge IVF, part of Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridgeshire. Earlier this year Ipswich and Addenbrooke’s announced a new working partnership with each other to increase fertility options available to Suffolk people. This includes a satellite IVF service for self-funding patients where patients start their treatment at Ipswich Hospital and then have egg collection and embryo transfer at one of the specialist centres.

The new lab also includes microscopes, an incubator for keeping semen at the right temperature and a centrifuge to concentrate samples to look for small numbers of sperm cells.
Biomedical scientist Ruth Chappell said: “The new safety unit filters the air so it’s bug free and keeps the semen samples sterile as well as cool. We can use it to prepare semen samples for IUI.”

Matron Hannah English said: “One in six couples will have difficulty conceiving a baby and this new lab gives the hospital improved facilities to help them. “As part of the work we have also refurbished the room where men produce the samples, making it more comfortable for them and a better patient experience.”

Picture captions:
Top left) Biomedical scientist Ruth Chappell (sitting) with hospital colleagues (left to right) Mark Finch, from Estates, matron Hannah English, specialist fertility nurse Sonya Herbert and consultant Djavid Alleemudder.
Top right) Biomedical scientist Ruth Chappell, matron Hannah English and Estates colleague Mark Finch with the new cooling safety cabinet in the lab.