Hundreds of babies, toddlers and their parents joined in the fun as the assisted conception (ACON) team at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust celebrated their 20th anniversary.
The team continues to be among the most successful in the country with more than 1,500 babies born as a result of the care there.
When the unit first started, there were 50 IVF cycles a year. Now there 350 and it continues to have conception rates of around 35 per cent - consistently higher than the national average.
Consultant Martin De Bono, said the friendship and trust which builds up makes it special for staff and couples alike.
“The teamwork is what makes CHFT care special. The smiles today are overwhelming and make it a very happy event for us as well as our families.
“Every couple has their own unique care needs both physically and emotionally, and we endeavour to deliver the complete care package, and hopefully a little one at the end. Our couples go through tremendous emotional journeys during their time with us and we are with them every step of the way”
In 1995 he was appointed as a Consultant Gynaecologist at Calderdale Royal Hospital and established the Calderdale Assisted Conception Unit by the following year in 1996.
The unit has grown significantly since then as a result of its thriving clinical success and the emphasis it places on customer care.
Within five years the unit became the largest satellite IVF unit in the country and still is to this day.
The team has specialists in both male and female fertility and specialist nurses to help couples become families.
Sister Helen Marvell said: “We are with our couples from the word go and throughout their journey.
“So for us to welcome so many back on such a happy day for everyone is always a very special day for us.”
There was face painting, bouncy castles, a ball park and Easter eggs for everyone at the event held at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
A raffle was drawn and the couples always make a donation towards the costs.
Proud parents Anna Bradnum and Simon Reekie, from Elland, brought along three month old baby Bethany.
Anna said: “We decided we needed help for us to have our baby and, at the time, that was devastating to us but from the word go I cannot praise the ACON team enough.
“From the very first appointment we were given the highest care.
“Not just the medical advice. You know they know their stuff, but the nurses support you as a person, emotionally too.
“Whenever I came in for an appointment I always left feeling better than when I arrived.
“When we were waiting for results it was both exciting and scary – all mixed up at once.
“When I phoned for the results I couldn’t take it in. I had been trying to keep my expectations low, and I just couldn’t take it in. They said do you want it spelling out and I said ‘Yes I do’.
“After being nine weeks pregnant you are not with ACON any more and I felt sad and missed them.”
Simon added: “They care for so many couples yet the team always made it feel personal.”
Kate and Lee Hamilton from Elland had twins Lydia and Grace ten weeks early so the baby girls – each 3lbs 4 oz - spent time on the Special Care Baby Unit after they were born.
Kate said: “I always wanted twins and we now have two lots of hugs and two lots of cuddles. The team is so friendly and so approachable.
“They become part of your life as you develop such a special relationship. You have that trust in them as you are counting on them to give you the best thing in life – and here they are.
“We have both ACON and SCBU to thank as without them we would not have these two. I will come every year because what they have done for us is amazing.”