INFERTILITY specialist the Glasgow Centre for Reproductive Medicine (GCRM) has been taken over in a multimillion-pound deal.

All 45 staff, including those based at a satellite clinic in Edinburgh, are transferring across following the purchase of a majority stake by the private equity backed Academic Reproductive Partnership (ARP).

GCRM, advised by law firm Harper Macleod and accountancy firm PKF on the deal, provides a range of services including in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and egg and sperm freezing.

ARP has already snapped up IVF Hammersmith and the Oxford Fertility Unit and the acquisition of GCRM creates the largest single provider of NHS and private IVF services in the UK.

GCRM managing director Paul Mitchell, medical director Mark Gaudoin and scientific director Richard Fleming are all retaining stakes in the business.

Philip and Marina Gaudoin, silent partners who invested when the company was founded six years ago, have sold their shareholding.

Mr Mitchell believes the enhanced scale the deal gives GCRM could lead to additional jobs and opportunities for staff.

He said: "We are already at the forefront of a number of technologies and we will continue to do that.

"By doing that we see the benefits in terms of clinical success. Infertility patients are a very well-read group.

"The chances of success are one of the top priorities for them and that is what we will continue to strive to do.

"With that we will hopefully bring more patients in and staffing numbers will have to be increased to accommodate an increased number of patients.

"Staff training and development also takes on a whole different structure now as it opens it up to several other clinics."

Mr Mitchell is also hopeful of attracting additional investment for clinical research.

He added: "Research has always been a big part of what we do but with six clinics the data we can collect and generate and the clinical trials we can conduct should help push everything forward and accelerate future developments in infertility treatment.

"We will be in a much better place for attracting research funding."

The UK fertility market is thought to be worth around £550 million annually with more than 50,000 IVF cycles performed each year.