“I WILL sometimes run into people in the supermarket and they know they recognise me from somewhere but not where."

While it may make for the occasional awkward encounter in the vegetable aisle, Tim Child, medical director at Oxford Fertility Clinic, is filled with nothing but passion for a job that has seen him help hundreds across the county have children.

Speaking at his office in the clinic’s Oxford Business Park base, he smiles describing the 60 staff and dozens of patients he works with everyday.

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"I love coming into work," he beams. “We have an amazing team, some who have been with us since the start and they care so much about the patients."

Originally doing his medical training at 'the other place' – Cambridge University – he came to Oxford in 1996 to work at the John Radcliffe Hospital and soon became enamoured with the city's cutting-edge work with IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation).

The 51-year-old, who as a medical student had originally wanted to pursue surgery, said he was seduced by the combination of being at the forefront of medical advancements and the satisfaction of helping make people's dreams of parenthood come true.

After a year in Montreal, Canada, working on IVM (In Vitro Maturation), a drug-free version of IVF, he came back to Oxford and in 2007 led the medical team behind the first babies born using the method – a twin boy and girl.

As head of Oxford Fertility Clinic, the Jericho resident, who is a father of three himself, has been responsible for many similar success stories over the years.

"I still get photographs and letters from the people we've helped, ever from years ago, which is really nice."

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The clinic, which will celebrate a decade in Oxford Business Park in September, helps a mix of NHS and privately-funded women.

Giving a tour of the modern facility, which is spread over two floors, Tim stresses that they want patients to be as relaxed as possible and do not want it to feel like a hospital environment.

Warmly-decorated counselling rooms and space for acupuncture give way to high-tech laboratories, which are directly connected to patient rooms to make procedures as effective and efficient as possible.

Fresh from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Vienna, he said the clinic also benefits from being part of the Fertility Partnership, a group of UK centres who share expertise.

Despite how far things have come, however, IVF is only successful each cycle in around 30 per cent of cases for women under 35 and those chances steadily drop as age increases.

Tim said having his own children had affected how he thought about his work, explaining: "I think obviously having children changes your outlook on life, of course it does.

"I absolutely can't imagine the devastation for people who want to have children and through no fault of their own can't."


He said staff got to know patients well and it was hard for everyone when they sometimes reached the end without success.

"Everyone is trying as hard as we can. We're here to help people and you do feel some responsibility."

Given this daily experience with potential parents he is a passionate advocate for IVF funding within the NHS, which can cost between £3,000 to £5,000 a cycle if paid for privately.

The specialist was part of the team that came up with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines which state the NHS should fund three cycles for those under 40.

This is not compulsory though and Tim said Oxfordshire was ‘among the worst’ in the country for IVF provision, not just restricting women to one cycle, but also having a lower age barrier of 35.

"It's hard when we have to explain to people that it won't be funded. They think it's our decision but our hands are tied."

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Also a part of lobbying group Fertility Fairness, he expressed his frustration over the current 'postcode lottery' in IVF funding, saying it led to confusion for patients and even doctors because of how complex the system was.

“I wish things were clearer, sometimes GPs don’t know what is available and I don’t blame them because they have to cover a lot of areas and it is complicated," he said.

“It isn’t right that just over the border in Wiltshire there is a completely different system."

He added he appreciated that clinical commissioning groups, those in charge of deciding what treatment is available in local areas, had funding issues but that the negative impact on patients needed to be considered as well as the unfairness in the current funding model.

With such an emotionally and intellectually draining profession it is not hard to see why Tim would have passions outside of work to help him unwind.

A pair of surprising hobbies help the father take a break from his demanding job.

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Since 2007 he has been a singer and guitarist for Oxford band Mo'Mojo, who cover rock and pop classics with 'a splash' of Mojo and can regularly be found playing at the Jericho Tavern.

Made up exclusively of clinicians, the group often raise money for worthwhile causes, with IVF funding one of them.

Not content with one adventurous pastime, he has also taken up car racing with UPE Motorsport and can often be found whizzing around tracks throughout the UK in a Caterham sports car.

He said: "I always liked dingy racing when I was younger, Oxfordshire isn't the best for sailing so I started car racing."

Modestly declaring himself 'not bad' at the past time, he says the sport provides him with an adrenaline fix.

But while he may enjoy his time away from work, he added his true passion remains the day job.

"It's an incredibly fulfilling role and we have such a great team, it is a pleasure."

Oxford Fertility Clinic holds frequent open evenings for potential patients to find out more about treatment and tour the facility.

For more information visit oxfordfertility.co.uk.