The clinic has the capacity to treat 500 patients and a number of pregnancies have already been announced since its opening earlier this year.
Jen and Jamie Field, a Norfolk couple who have a son conceived through IVF, welcomed the clinic. 'One of the big stresses we had was the travelling, going from here to Cambridge, so if there's a clinic just down the road for the families in Norfolk, that's a fantastic thing', they told the BBC.
Kate Brian from Infertility Network UK, a charity which provides peer-group support to couples with infertility problems, said: 'We welcome the opening of this new clinic which will help to make fertility treatment more accessible to people in Norfolk'.
The clinic is a branch of the Bourn Hall clinic in Cambridge – the first IVF clinic in the world. Around one in six couples experience fertility problems but there is a persistent 'postcode lottery' when accessing IVF. The east of England region has, in the past, led the way in making IVF treatment more widely accessible by making three IVF cycles and a further three frozen embryo transfers available on the NHS (reported in BioNews 506).
Mr Hamed Al-Taher, lead clinician at Bourn Hall, said: 'It was always the dream of Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards after their success with Louise Brown that IVF treatment would be made available to all that needed it. By opening the first full-service IVF clinic in Norfolk, we are continuing their remarkable legacy and patients from across the region can benefit from over three decades of experience'.