As you know, we had the privilege to have a live webchat with Professor Robert Winston on Friday 11th November to answer questions regarding the Genesis Research Trust, a charity to promote the science for the health of women and babies and we are extremely proud sponsors. He is the founding chairman and happily agreed to participate in an hour live webchat which went live on our Silver Cross Facebook page!
Unfortunately due to unforeseeable circumstances he was delayed, however Professor Winston does reveal why in his video! He was still very happy to answer the questions. Below is a round up of some of the questions and answers from the session:
Noelle Watt: What is your most recent breakthrough and how does will it help woman and babies?Thank you.
Professor Winston: Hi Noelle. I don’t believe in breakthroughs. Although, the media always announce ‘breakthroughs’ actually most scientific advances occur from many people working over many years together. And the biggest discovery in human fertility is that the best way of getting pregnant is to have sex – and I’m not being funny about that, because in my view, treatments which allow people to have babies naturally should always be preferred to artificial methods like IVF which by their nature are more demanding, more psychologically difficult, more emotionally draining and sometimes more risky. So much of my professional life has been trying to find various treatments for the cause of infertility. So that people can get pregnany in bed (or in front of the fireplace!).
Carrie Cox: Just a little question, what does the Professor enjoy the most about his work? I am a paramedic and have a special interest in obstetrics, I have watched his series on the human body millions of times! Fantastic and also the series on IVF. Thank you xx
Professor Winston: Hi Carrie. I think there’s no one thing that I enjoy the most – I’m very fortunate that my work is very diverse and covers a whole range of areas – all of which are pretty rewarding. But I must say that anybody who’s thinking of going into some aspect of medicine, nursing or caring for other people will be engaging in a career which will be extraordinarily hard to beat for satisfaction. When you are involved with other people who are facing illness – even the prospects of a natural event like pregnancy – you are amazingly privileged because you are seeing people at their most vulnerable, anxious, naked, concerned about their family and worried about the future as well as being anxious about whether they’ve got a serious illness. So carers in the health service and the health caring professions must always value themselves and should be much more valued by other people.
Kerry Watt: What do you feel is the most important finding within the parent/child area and how do you think it will affect not only our but future generations?
Professor Winston: Hi Kerry. Some of the research that we are doing at the Genesis Research Trust involves looking at the environmental issues which effect babies and young children. This field is called epigenetics and I think is one of the most important areas because we are beginning to understand that sometimes children who have been in a very adverse environment or not well cared for as babies or even before birth may be prone to all sorts of diseases in middle age, and sometimes these epigenetic influences may affect more than just the next generation, but some generations in the future.
Tracy Paul: Professor Winston, do you know how many babies you have helped be born into the world?
Professor Winston: Hi Tracy. We do not have the exact number – it is well into 5 figures – but one of the most gratifying aspects is that we also train a large number of people who have gone on to do IVF in other countries and as a result, the other doctors who have been trained by our team have helped in the production of many dozens of babies around the world. Scientists have come from France, Greece, Spain, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, China, Israel, Jordan, India, a large number from the USA, Canada, West Indies, South America, Australia and Japan, to name but a few of the countries so the large number of babies born as a result of the work at the Hammersmith is something we take great pride in. Thanks, Professor Robert Winston.
We would like to say a big thank you to all who participated in our live webchat and to Professor Robert Winston!