An insight into the taboo subject of male infertility, by Gareth Landy

So before we get going, firstly I have a question for you – have you ever heard of XXY or Klinefelter Syndrome? 

Now don’t feel bad if you have never heard of it as from my experience, no one has. What is XXY? At a chromosomal level women are XX, men are XY, I am XXY. I was born with an extra X chromosome. This must sound very unusual but it is actually much more common than many people realise. In fact XXY is the most common underdiagnosed chromosomal condition to affect boys and men in the world. 

I prefer to refer to my condition as XXY as I have experienced being seen in a lesser light when people hear the word “syndrome”. It also works much better for when I want to start a conversation with people and to explain who I am.

How we became aware of this condition was when we were trying to have a family and Anna couldn’t get pregnant. Before we even tried, Anna had to come off her medication for her MS (Multiple Sclerosis). Anna had suggested that maybe I should have a medical check to see that everything was okay on my end. By Anna being off her medication we also had a tighter window.

When I had my first sperm analysis the GP (doctor) told me that the result came back negative

I have to say the GP wasn’t overly concerned at this stage as they explained that sometimes mistakes can happen in the lab. Around a week or so later I was back at the GP’s for another appointment; she asked me if I had ever heard of Klinefelter Syndrome to which I said no.

A second follow-up sperm analysis was arranged; the results came back and it was at this point that my GP told me that it was a ‘negative sperm count’ again. When I got this news it was so difficult, how was it possible that I didn’t have sperm? I didn’t even know this was possible. I had never heard of any man being born without having sperm, sure I had heard of men losing the ability to produce sperm through an accident but not this. Had I done something in the past, I’d always worn condoms when having sex, how could this happen? I had more questions than answers. I felt so lost. What do Anna and I do now?

The GP recommended going to see a specialist so we made an appointment to see a private Urologist. When we went into the office, I had no idea of the massive bombshell that was about to be dropped.

I felt that he’d say, ‘Gareth if you take this course of medication…’ I felt there would be an actual explanation, something that was a tangible path for me. What happened instead was that the urologist briefly examined me, looked at my sperm analysis results and said: ‘Gareth it doesn’t work downstairs, you need to get over this and move on’.

At that moment I sat there in complete shock and silence. I would describe it as an out of body experience as I completely retreated within myself. I had all these questions such as, ‘did he just say that, no he didn’t, did he, maybe I misheard him’ or ‘there are fucking terrorists in the world who can have children why can’t I’. All these thoughts were racing through my head at lighting speed.

At this point I did not know that I was XXY by the way

Anna asked a few more questions but honestly I can’t remember anymore of the conversation. She told me afterwards that she’d asked about adoption and he was equally unhelpful with his response saying that her having MS would rule us out as being eligible to adopt. I left the urologist’s office in a complete daze and when we got outside we both broke down. Even now I can recall that overwhelming emotion of feeling so broken and feeling so hurt by this medical professional.

Over the coming weeks I began to drink more alcohol and play more violent computer games

It was pure escapism, I felt so lonely as I didn’t know anyone who was a man who had gone through what I was going through. I was aware that infertility affects women as it is talked about much more openly in society but I didn’t know of any men. At this time my dreams began to change. I had a repeating dream about a small child that was with Anna. I would kneel down in the grass outside our home with my arms wide open and a big smile on my face. The child would start to run to me but as it got closer it would begin to fade and in the end it would never ever make it to me. I would be there by myself longing to hold the child that was now gone. When I talked to my therapist about this, she told me that this was my brain working through the trauma of not being able to have a biological child.

While all the above was going on, Anna had begun to do further research and to look for a second opinion

She made contact with a very experienced Urologist based in London called Jonathan Ramsay. We live in Ireland so to get to London was only a short hop on the plane. Mr Ramsay has extensive experience in working with XXY people and is one of the leading experts in the world in male factor infertility. Meeting Jonathan Ramsay was amazing. He is a kind and caring person and we felt immediately at ease in his company. There were no airs and graces with him, he could have retired years ago if he wanted but it’s obvious that he continues to work as he cares for people.

During our consultation, he explained to me in a very visual way what he proposed could be a potential solution for us. He drew a picture of the testicles and put little black dots on each testicle. He then explained that sometimes for whatever reason there can be a blockage in the penis so the sperm can’t be delivered in a natural way. The black dots on the picture were a representation of where needles would be inserted into each testicle. He told us that this is a way of mapping the testicles to find pools of sperm, this is called an FNA (Fine Needle Aspiration). Mr Ramsay then explained that if the operation was successful I would have to get another operation at a later stage called a Micro-TESE (Testicular Sperm Extraction), which as you can guess is extracting the sperm.

Before we did any of this he said I had to be tested to see if I was an XXY person

To find out you need to give a blood sample which is then tested for a particular Karyotype. The results wouldn’t be available immediately. I remember how kind the nurse was to me when she was doing the blood test. Though now I am better but at this point I had a really bad fear of needles so it was very difficult for me to have to do this but I knew that it would be worth it for Anna and I. After all the various appointments Anna and I went to see our friend Odharnait (Irish name pronounced: Orr-nethe). That night we went for dinner and went to an interactive performance of, ‘The Great Gatbsy’, which was absolutely fantastic and great craic. It was great to be in London and for a few hours forget why we were here in the first place.

Back in Ireland we got a call from Mr Ramsay. The results had come back and he wanted to confirm that I am an XXY person. Getting this news was both confirmation for me that I’d done nothing wrong to endanger my fertility but it was also so difficult to fathom what it meant for both of us in trying to have a family. 

Soon enough we returned to London for the FNA

We booked into an Airbnb in Shepherd’s Bush in the city. Even now I can recall leaving the house in the early hours to go to Hammersmith for the operation. I find hospitals a hard place to be as my mum had died in a hospice and going to them always brings up mixed emotions. We checked in and got our room and after a short while Mr Ramsay came to see us. As before, he was caring and warm and we trusted him.

Following the operation I was in my room drinking tea. I often wonder when a person comes out of recovery and their hand coordination mightn’t be the best, why the hospital provides cups with tiny little handles that are difficult to hold. I mention this as my memory is able to remember the smallest detail. Even now I can recall the position of the bed in the room, where the window was all this mundane information I remember. Being able to do this is a trait of being XXY I believe; it is called an eidetic memory. Until very recently I thought everyone could do this.

When Mr Ramsay came into the room you could tell that he was excited. Before the operation he had told us that for XXY people who retain the ability to produce sperm, this ability generally decreases in their mid 20s and I was 37 at this point. He then told us that I was the very first person in the world that he was aware of who in their mid to late 30s still had the ability to produce the building blocks that make sperm. He then told us at this stage that he believed that I was a mosaic within the XXY sphere which means that I have both XY and XXY sex cells.

Anna and I were so excited as there was a glimmer of hope that I could still have biological children

Mr Ramsay then advised the next step to possibly get us to this point. He said that I would have to go on a cocktail of different hormones, one of which was Clomid (given to women for breast cancer treatment). The approach was that by taking all this medication my body would turn it into testosterone which would become the fuel for my body to then make sperm.

After the operation, as you can imagine, I was very tender. When we did finally get back to the Airbnb we realised the problem with our accommodation. The room we were staying in was up at least four flights of stairs. We hadn’t thought ahead of time to find a place with a room on the ground floor. It took ages for me to slowly shuffle up the steps. When we got to the room I got into bed and crashed out as I was so exhausted.

Over the coming days everyday small tasks such as crossing the road became very slow and difficult. I was so thankful that the curb at the various pedestrian crossings was so low. To step down from a high curb was simply too painful. While everyone around me raced across the road it was as if I was walking in slow motion, I had to tread so carefully. Even sitting down in a chair at a coffee shop or a restaurant had to be planned. I couldn’t just sit down on any chair. I needed a cushion first as my testicles were so sore. As bad as all this was, what I found the worst was not being able to shower. After the operation and when I woke up I was wearing a medical jockstrap that lifted my penis off my tender testicles. I had to wear this non-stop for a few days afterwards which started to become horrible.  At one point there was concern that I could have an infection following the operation but thankfully this passed.

We all know how travelling can be so stressful at the best of times. Anna and I had to get across London and to the airport to fly back to Ireland. I remember walking through some of the older tube stations and learning that there wasn’t a lift option and then having to walk ever so slowly down the steps while hundreds of others raced past me. After what seemed forever we made it to the terminal. When it was time to board we headed out to the aircraft and then I realised that this operator didn’t use the sky bridges, they used the inbuilt stairs of the plane. Again slowly I went up and into the aircraft, we finally found our seats. What a day and we’re not even home yet.

This was only the start of our path to potential parenthood and we were both exhausted

These are things that you never think of when you put yourself through so much physical and mental pain when trying to have a family. 

Over the coming days, I very slowly started to recover. Though I didn’t realise it at the time, the first operation had a real impact on my natural testosterone levels. There is a scale that measures testosterone which is from zero to 30. Most men’s natural levels are between 19-24, my levels were originally 11-13. Following this operation it was confirmed through a blood test that my levels had crashed to four. Mundane things such as walking to the shops to get a loaf of bread were beyond me. I was physically unable to walk this far. Considering that in 2016 I ran a marathon a distance of 26.2 miles I now couldn’t walk maybe 800 metres. My mood at this time was affected. I felt helpless but I knew that what I was doing would hopefully pay off.

In the coming months my testosterone levels began to slowly rise. I was now taking a combination of different hormones which had been prescribed to me by Jonathan Ramsay as mentioned earlier. At times I felt it wasn’t worth it as I felt so mentally and physically shattered.

Thankfully I was able to get back into my running which had such a positive effect on me. Sure I wasn’t out running the big distances I had been but I was outside, it was a start.

Over the coming months my testosterone and other hormone levels began to rise

I used to have a business which included producing high end wedding films. Most of the weddings I filmed were Catholic. I don’t know if you are aware but there is such emphasis in the Catholic ceremony on a couple having children. This was hard for me to hear and quite often there would be a lot of children at the weddings. In my head I would be struggling with my potential infertility and then at the same time trying to be professional and film the wedding with all these children around me. Weddings in Ireland are a long affair, my average day could easily be 13 hours plus the driving. Sometimes I would have to bring another videographer with me to help film the wedding. I would get tired and would need to rest from time to time as my hormone levels were still low.

During this period, I have to say Anna was really so amazing and supportive. She organised and researched so many things for the two of us to attend. I am so lucky to be married to such an amazing person.

One of the events that Anna found out about was run by the ‘Donor Conception Network

They are a charity that aims to develop awareness and provide support to couples who are looking at using a donor and helping donor-conceived people. Anna found out that they were holding a two day event in Belfast, which we attended. It was really fantastic as you got to meet other couples who were in a similar situation to yourselves. I would encourage people to attend these events as you realise that you’re not alone. 

Following my first operation Mr Ramsay had told us that we couldn’t put all our hopes and dreams on hoping that I would be able to produce sperm. He told us to start to research the option of potentially using a sperm donor. At the event we got to hear some brilliant speakers. This event had a massive and positive impact on both of us. I was already open to possibly using a sperm donor but I had only read about it online, I hadn’t met anyone who had done it. One of the speakers was a guy called Danny and he was a dad to sperm donor conceived children. When he spoke about his children being born he became very emotional in a very positive way. He talked about being in the hospital and holding his child which was so moving. For both Anna and I this was such a hard but positive experience.

Later that day a woman spoke who is a donor conceived person

Hearing her speak was such an emotional and moving thing. I remember her saying, ‘the man who gave the sperm for me to exist is important but the man who changed my nappy, brought me to school, taught me to drive, he is my dad’. I began to cry as her words were so validating and immensely powerful to me. If Anna and I had to use a donor it definitely wouldn’t be a distant second option.

Leaving the event I felt so positive about the potential opportunity of using a donor.

Gareth will share the rest of his wonderful journey with us next week. In the meantime, you can follow Gareth on instagram by clicking here.

                                                                                     Gareth and his wife Anna

 

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Our dedicated team consists of Reproductive Specialists, Embryologists, Nurse Specialists, Midwives, Geneticists, Psychologists, Fertility Coaches, and Nutritionists who collaborate seamlessly to provide comprehensive diagnostics. Whether it’s ovulation induction or IVF services, we provide expertise and guidance in a fully informed and supported manner. Close pregnancy monitoring, including frequent BHCG tests, ultrasound scans, and NIPT testing, ensures your confidence and peace of mind throughout this transformative journey.

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Salise Haith

Salise Haith, the leading Fertility Coach for women of colour, is an international pioneer, fertility champion, owner of Lohojo Fertility Support Services, and is on pace to redefine how couples start and expand their families.

As a survivor of 3Fs – a failed fertility treatment, a failed adoption, and a failed marriage – Salise is no stranger to life-changing setbacks. Which is why she has dedicated the last few years of her life and career to helping single individuals and couples realise their dream of having a family of their own.

Having travelled extensively and lived abroad in London since 2001, Salise has been at the forefront of knowing the cutting-edge medicine and technology available to treat infertility, both in the UK private healthcare industry and abroad.

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Her powerful and inspiring presentations, workshops, and speeches is why she has been appointed as the Vice President of Public Relations for the London Chapter of Toastmasters International.

When she’s not helping families achieve their dream of having a baby, Salise spends her time volunteering, cycling through Central London, and is not a stranger to enjoying a good slice of cake.

Contact Information:
Salise Haith Owner of Lohojo Fertility Support Services http://www.lohojo.co.uk
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Tina Padia

As a professional Fertility Coach and Life Coach (ICI) and Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Tina Padia, originally from UK but now residing in Singapore, brings personal experience with 4 years of IVF treatment. Her own challenges have equipped her with a profound understanding of infertility’s complexities. Tina’s aim is to empower women and couples with support, tools, and holistic therapies like reiki and sound bowl therapy to manage emotions and find inner peace during their fertility journey. She extends her expertise through corporate and pharmaceutical events, inspiring IVF clinics to cultivate compassionate and supportive services for individuals undergoing fertility treatment.  
  • A PROFESSIONAL LIFE COACH (ICI) AND FERTILITY COACH
  • BSC (HONS) NEUROSCIENCE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF WALES, CARDIFF
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  • REIKI ENERGY HEALING PRACTITIONER (LONDON)
  • SOUND BOWL THERAPY PRACTITIONER (SINGAPORE)

Samantha Jones

Samantha is a registered midwife with a first class honors degree and holds a Masters in Midwifery.  She  uses a woman-centred holistic approach working with a philosophy that fertility, pregnancy and birth are normal life events requiring a partnership with the client to achieve safe and effective care choices for fertility and pregnancy services.

Samantha is passionate about providing individualised support to promote your choices during fertility or maternity care.  Her focus is on holistic care designed to support your emotional and mental well-being to enhance fertility journey’s as well as antenatal and postnatal experiences.

Specialist Services include:
*  Fertility Support: care through a challenging fertility journey
*  Preconception Care
*  Emotional Support through Pregnancy due to Baby Loss, Miscarriage or IVF
*  Relief from nausea and vomiting (morning sickness)
*  Birth Trauma. Tokophobia (Fear of Birth/Pregnancy) & PTSD Treatment

Lisa Corcoran

Lisa is a Bio Energy Holistic Therapist and Fertility Wellness Specialist based in Ireland, and sees client’s in person and online . Lisa also runs FertiRetreat which is a weekend long retreat in the UK, Ireland, Spain and Portugal, helping those going through a difficult fertility journey to express and process their emotions, while maintaining a relatively normal life outside of the fertility side of things. Her team provide key coping strategies to balance things like medical appointments, reading posts on social media, family, pregnancy announcements/gender reveals, and the highs and lows of all that comes with this path. 

Lisa Corcoran

Lisa is a Bio Energy Holistic Therapist and Fertility Wellness Specialist based in Ireland, and sees client’s in person and online. Lisa has been practicing for over 5 years and sees clients who are dealing with stress, anxiety, grief, loss and trauma, helping them to overcome their emotions, and let go of any trapped or blocked energy within the body.

Association of Reproductive Reflexologists - Raising Standards in Reflexology for Fertility

Reproductive Reflexology (or Reproflexology™) can be used as a stand-alone treatment to enhance your natural fertility, or with all forms of assisted conception including Clomid, IUI, IVF and ICSI. It can also be used to support individuals and couples using surrogacy or donors in IVF cycles.

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Alex Davies-Jones - MP for Pontypridd

Alex Davies-Jones is the Labour MP for Pontypridd, and has been an MP continuously since 12 December 2019. She currently undertakes the role of Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport).

Alex is a supporter of Fertility First UK and the work we do and was kind enough to mention us in the House of Commons on the 26th October 2022. We hope to be there with Alex when she meets Kemi Badenoch the Minister for Women and Equality to support her in finding out how the Government can better help Individuals undergoing Fertility Issues and needing support. 

Cherish - UK

Diana and Jacqui are Consultant Nurse Sonographers and Directors of Cherish-UK.  They specialise in Gynaecology, Fertility and Pregnancy and both worked for the NHS for 30 years. They recognised a gap in care and decided to start trading as Cherish-UK in April 2011. Since opening the Cherish-UK team have helped hundreds of clients during their fertility journey.  They pride themselves on their professional, efficient and hassle free service which aids clients treatment requirements.  Many clinics abroad and in the UK recommend Cherish-UK to their patients as they recognise the high-quality service which is provided.

Prof Peter Hollands

Professor Peter Hollands PhD (Cantab)

Peter trained at Cambridge University under the supervision of the co-inventor of IVF and Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Bob Edwards FRS. His PhD was in stem cell technology with a focus on the transplantation of stem cells from the developing mouse fetus. His post-doctoral position was as a Senior Embryologist at Bourn Hall Clinic which was the first IVF clinic in the world. Peter has been the Scientific Director of Cells for Life in Toronto and Smart Cells in the UK and was HTA Designated Individual for Smart Cells. He has carried out research and clinical practice in stem cell technology and IVF and has written numerous papers and book chapters on stem cell technology and IVF. Peter has written a book on stem cell technology for the general public called ‘The Regeneration Promise’ which was published in December 2020. This is the first of a series of books on medical science. His second book ‘The Fertility Promise’ was published in 2021 and is an explanation of IVF and assisted reproduction for the general reader.

Professor Joyce Harper - Author/Educator/ Academic /Scientist

Joyce Harper is Professor of Reproductive Science at the Institute for Women’s Health, University College London. She is head of the Reproductive Science and Society Group and leads the International Women’s Day events at the Institute. She has worked in the fields of fertility, genetics, reproductive health and women’s health for over 30 years. She is passionate about education and discussion of all aspects of women’s health but especially at three key stages: puberty, the fertile years and the menopause. She regularly appears in the press, on radio and TV. She is the mother of three sons born through IVF. Her latest book – Your Fertile Years – was published in 2021. She is founder of the International Fertility Education Initiative.

Sheila Lamb

Sheila Lamb - Author of the 'This is' series and Co-author of 'Infertility doesn’t care about your ethnicity'

“As a previous fertility patient who finally had my rainbow baby through donor egg ICSI, I am writing and publishing the ‘This is’ series of books sharing honest, raw emotions of those going through infertility, IVF/IUI and loss for three different but connected audiences.”

Marcin Smietana - Reproductive Researcher

As a sociologist, I have been doing research with LGBTQ+ families in the UK, US and Europe for almost a decade and a half now. To further the cause of reproductive justice, I have also been using my research for the benefit of LGBTQ+ families as well as people who help them have children, such as surrogates, donors and others. I am a senior research associate in the Reproductive Sociology Research Group at the University of Cambridge, where I have been since 2016, following my postdoc research at UC Berkeley and PhD at the University of Barcelona. I have done research first of all with gay men who create families through surrogacy and adoption, but I have also worked with lesbian and trans parents. I’m also part of the LGBTQ+ community myself. I’m happy to share my knowledge and experience with LGBTQ+ intended parents and families, or direct you to relevant resources and organizations, so do feel free to email me at ms935@cam.ac.uk.

Lisa Allison - Fertility First Surrogacy Ambassador

Surrogate mother, specialist fertility counsellor in training, surrogacy mentor and advocate.

Passionate about practically assisting and emotionally supporting those struggling to make families or suffering with fertility issues. You can email me at Lisaallison@hotmail.co.uk

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We (Wes and Michael) are Dads to our children, Katie, Talulah and Duke. Talulah and Duke were born with the help of our amazing Surrogate Caroline, (and our incredible egg donors). We’re on a mission to help raise awareness of Same-Sex Parenting and help normalise our own modern family, as we hopefully help shine the spotlight, positively on families like ours, with either two Mummies, two Daddies, one Mummy or one Daddy.

The foundations of TwoDads UK were firmly created by us speaking out, and campaigning for change for not only us, when we were on our quest to become Daddies, but for all those that follow us on their own route to parenthood or fertility journey. We also believe that through our work on social media – we can use those platforms to raise awareness of particular causes, charities or interests – which later become our missions.

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Michael and Wes are the co-founders of My Surrogacy Journey and are Dads to their two children born via UK independent Surrogacy- Talulah in 2016, and Duke was born in 2019.
They understand that there is a growing need for Surrogacy support globally, with surrogacy births growing year on year in the UK, and parental orders of those children born abroad also reflecting similar increases.
Michael and Wes are also no stranger to campaigning for change, in relation to the Surrogacy Law Reform in the UK , Government policy related to surrogates and intended parents and also educating Healthcare professionals in relation to UK Surrogacy.

Claire Caldow

Emotional health and wellbeing support whilst trying to conceive can be incredibly valuable to reduce overwhelm, to regain hope, process feelings, build resilience and improve relationships and to move more peacefully through medical investigation or procedures.
For individuals and couples who are pregnant following a difficult fertility journey, with experiences of loss or ready to take a healing journey to parenthood, emotional wellbeing support offers a safe, growth filled space through to the fourth trimester.

I offer a blend of coaching, counselling and therapeutic support with embodied and expressive approaches for those who wish to explore this way. My training and background is in Psychology, Counselling/ Psychotherapy and Coaching working in the UK and overseas for over 15 years. Experiencing my own fertility challenges, IVF and pregnancy loss led me on my own healing and therapeutic process.

Sian Elizabeth

Sian is the founder of Renew Holistic Health and takes a keen interest in helping women restore their metabolism and support hormonal health. This can mean finding relief from issues such as PCOS symptoms, Endometriosis symptoms, addressing digestive issues, supporting clients to sleep better, have more energy that’s sustained throughout the day, create better habits, mitigate stress as much as possible and learn to manage it, improve mindset to reach goals, help clients show up better for themselves and their loved ones and achieve overall vitality in a non-restrictive way. Supporting our hormone health, breaking through these barriers, preparing our bodies for pregnancy, birthing a nourished baby; everything from conscious pre-conception to birth and the years after, requires this whole-body health approach. As a qualified Health Coach Sian’s role is to motivate, empower, and educate along the way, so clients feel empowered to improve their reproductive and overall health.

Sarah Byrne

I am a Menstrual Cycle Coach who teaches women business owners how to harness the power of their natural energy cycles to avoid overwhelm and burnout and create more success in their lives and businesses.

Joanna Sinclair, FF UK Founder and CEO

I am a lecturer, fertility coach and practitioner that helps support and educate both men and women on a journey to create a family. Helping to optimise your physical and emotional health and wellbeing, enhancing your fertility to give you the best chances of conception and a healthy pregnancy. I have lived and experienced a long fertility journey, I remember only too well the emotional impact and the pain. I help reduce the stress and anxiety, maximise the benefit of nurturing the physical and emotional health together, share tools and techniques for this journey, and beyond to reach the goal of a family. 

Vanessa Hurrell

I am a psychotherapist registered with the International Council of Psychotherapists.
I have a Diploma in Transpersonal Therapeutic Counselling from Clearmind International Institute and a Certificate in Psychodynamic Counselling from Chichester Counselling Services.
I have attended local and international workshops on leadership and purpose and have supported others in their workshops.
I am currently studying and working towards incorporating shamanic healing into my therapeutic work and I am training as a trauma informed specialist. I have been through my own fertility journey and have come to understand that my experiences have been a gift to me and have given me an awareness of some of the challenges that life can bring.

Jo Dalziel

I am a fertility coach and hypnobirthing specialist. After facing my own uphill struggle to conceive, many aspects of my life were affected and during this time no emotional support was available. I believe the mind body connection and your emotions play a crucial role in your fertility success, be that naturally or through assisted conception. When I heard about the Freedom Fertility Formula I wanted to train so others could feel less anxiety on their own fertility journey.

Nadine Baynes

As Director and Head Psychotherapist of not-for-profit organisation, Lighthouses Therapy Services, I have met with and supported hundreds of bereaved parents of baby and infant loss. Grieving the loss of a pregnancy or a baby can be very complicated – parents can feel confused, angry, isolated, mis-understood and overwhelmed. I can relate to this having been through a miscarriage many years ago.

With therapy you will realise you don’t have to suffer or feel alone with your pain.
Whether you are grieving an early pregnancy loss, still-birth, failed fertility treatment, ectopic pregnancy or compassionate induction, we can help and are here with open arms and big hearts.

Member of National Council of Psychotherapists (Accredited)

Steven Britton

Steven Britton

Fertility intelligence coaching can directly impact egg health, improve sperm mobility, boost fertility, healthy pregnancy and much more.

How does this work?
The process starts by firstly assessing you and your partner mental & physical wellbeing.
This is then followed by eliminating any misconceptions of actions and influences that hinder your fertility, thereby also revealing the genetic setpoint to influence/control positive outcomes.

At this point the foundations are set, we then focus on optimising relationships with yourself and others (romantic or otherwise) emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically.

Finally diet and nutrition can play a very important role in the quest to getting pregnant so I will make sure that even this area you will feel confident and more in control of your body.

Salma Khanom - Counsellor and Psychotherapist (BACP)

Life events, experiences and relationships can have an impact on how we feel within ourselves making it difficult to cope day to day. Therapy can help us understand these experiences, helping one gain insight and perspective. Finding understanding can be powerful in prompting change. I work with my client to identify issues within their life that may contribute to distress or problems.

I am BACP accredited Counsellor and Clinical supervisor. My core training is in the Integrative model, since qualifying I have completed further training in CBT, CfD, EMDR (all nhs approved) models. I take a flexible approach when working with clients adjusting my approach according to my clients needs. I aim to work in a collaborative way with clients as I believe this can help my clients feel safe and held.

Aisha Balesaria - mindbodyrevival_coach

Aisha is a Certified Transformational Coach and the founder of mindbodyrevival_coach Aisha spent ten years trying to conceive – she underwent surgery for endometriosis, had over 11 failed rounds of IVF and multiple miscarriages. Eventually, she left the process without a baby. “Involuntary childlessness is very misunderstood and most individuals don’t receive the support, empathy and acknowledgement they deserve”. Moving forward, Aisha wanted to use her experience to empower others on a similar journey to her own. Aisha is a writer and Co-author of the book entitled, ‘We Are One in Eight’ she has written numerous blogs and articles about her personal healthy journey and experience with infertility. She has spoken on global platforms and several podcasts to raise awareness about childlessness.

Theresa Davies

Theresa is a fully qualified Counsellor and is registered with both the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) and the British Infertility Counselling Association (BICA). Each fertility journey is unique and different people respond to fertility issues in different ways. In fact, the way you feel may change over time – sometimes even hour by hour – which is why the fertility journey is often described as an emotional rollercoaster. Our counselling sessions will help you to understand these feelings and gain a sense of acceptance of your feelings whatever they may be.

Paula Lavandeira

Paula is an International Fertility Coach and Hypnobirthing Teacher, and a Diabetes Specialist Midwife. She has been a passionate midwife for over 11 years now and with another 10 years as a nurse previously. Her passion is to help mums to overcome their fears and preconceptions about childbirth and motherhood so that they can have the best experience. Hence, she founded the Nurtured Munchkin, to provide full antenatal and postnatal courses for parents. Paula worked as a Senior Research Midwife at UCLH for 5 years, participating in multiple studies, including a pilot study NIPT which was later introduced to the NHS. She also offers baby massage and yoga. Paula recently received an award for Best Antenatal and Hypnobirthing Courses Provider 2020.

Manali Hirani

Manali Hirani - Fertility Coach and Podcaster

Helping women and couples get pregnant naturally, in a healthy way and with minimal medications to enhance their fertility.

“Women accessing a supported mind-body program were over twice as likely to conceive as those who didn’t. Of those women that got pregnant, 76% did so naturally (without medical intervention) within 12 months despite their age, the number of years of trying and diagnoses” – As per the study conducted by Harvard University.

Manali is also the head of IVF Babble in India.

Lighthouses Therapy Services

We are here to offer support to those who have been through miscarriage, still-birth, neonatal death, SIDS, ectopic and molar pregnancy and for those who need support, post-termination.

For women, men, couples and grandparents just like you who are hurting and feel that no one understands the deep psychological pain you are experiencing, we are here.

Theresa Davies Counselling

Sometimes life can feel overwhelming and often, when we speak with our friends and family, we worry about how being honest about our worries, thoughts and feelings may effect them.

​I understand that for many people, seeking out a counsellor can feel very daunting. Maybe you feel that you should be able to cope on our own, or that other people have worse problems that are more worthy of counselling. However, sometimes we all need some extra help, and I am here for you during those times.

Belle Birth & Fertility

Fertility coaching – Your Fertility Journey Is Unique.
Leave anxiety behind & hold on to your dream.

Hypnobirthing – Calm & Relaxed Antenatal Education.
Embrace the beauty of birth with confidence & composure

The Embryologist Nutritionist

Harness the power of nutrition and lifestyle to regain control of your fertility.
Stop feeling exhausted, alone, and frustrated with your body. Are you embarking on IVF / IUI and desperate to maximise your chances of it being successful, but feeling overwhelmed about how to do so?

​We hear you!

​After seeing many individuals go through assisted conception treatments, as an embryologist, we can empathise with what you’re feeling. We are here to share with you the transformational impact that nutritional and lifestyle changes can have, so that you can maximise your chances of achieving a healthy pregnancy, naturally or through assisted conception, even if you feel like you’ve already tried everything.

Nua Fertility

Deborah Brock the founder of Nua Fertility states her mission is “To provide education and innovative products with a microbiome focus which will support people on their fertility journey. We focused on our nutrition, lifestyle, fitness, emotional and overall, well being. This combined with the help of science (and some amazing doctors), culminated in the arrival of our beautiful daughter.

My experience gave me an insight into the reality of fertility problems that many of us face. My search for solutions grounded in science led to the importance of nutrition for fertility and the amazing world of the microbiome and microbes and how they are a key determinant of our fertility health.”

Endometriosis South Coast

The charity Endometriosis South Coast was born out of a need for support on a grass roots level. We have online support groups and now the world is opening up again we are going to train support group leaders to provide in person groups.
We regularly hold educational webinars, and make sure we are at all of the conferences to ensure we have the most up to date information about endo.
We are developing educational resources for businesses, schools, and GP’s.
But our ultimate goal is to ensure all people with Endometriosis and Adenomyosis are receiving the best holistic care and support for their conditions, and know that there is more than just surgery needed to help.

Jodie Hughes

I’m Jodie and I am a Health Sciences Research PhD student that is focussed on Health-Related Quality of Life in people with Endometriosis (crazy I know right) and founder of the charity Endometriosis South Coast.

In 2014 at the ripe old age of 30 after spending the entirety of my adulthood as a chef, I drunkenly applied for university because Endometriosis changed my life. I couldn’t work, I was a single mum. And quite honestly, I was at the lowest I had ever been with depression eating at my very core.

I am researching how Health Related Quality of Life differs in a range of sample groups of Endometriosis patients.

Sarah Laver

After working as a clinical embryologist for many years, seeing couples struggling with their fertility, Sarah was driven to find alternative ways to support them on their journey. Through studying Psychology, and Personalised Nutrition, she discovered the transformational impact that diet and lifestyle changes can provide, especially when behaviour change is supported. She is now on a mission to share her knowledge, supporting those trying to conceive.

Sarah is now a BANT Registered Nutritionist and Registered Nutritional Therapist, specialising in fertility. She is the founder of The Embryologist Nutritionist, helping couples, and single females, regain control of their fertility, and maximise their chances of a healthy pregnancy. Sarah takes a holistic view of a couple, or client’s, situation and, together, they create a bespoke, personalised plan that works for them and their needs.

Your Trusted Squad

Your Trusted Squad is on a mission to transform the experience of infertility for women and couples who are trying to start or grow their family.

​Your Trusted Squad was founded by Dr Belinda Coker, an experienced GP and Medical Director with a wealth of expertise in fertility, women’s health, customer experience and clinical quality spanning 20 years.

Many of Belinda’s personal experiences of seeking healthcare for infertility, recurrent miscarriages, endometriosis and adenomyosis were difficult, disappointing and sometimes traumatic. After speaking with so many women who complained of their experiences when trying to receive help for fertility and matters related to their reproductive health and after following her heart, Belinda decided to build a unique service that delivers on excellence, quality and encompasses a personalised, holistic experience for clients.

Natalie Coghlan

Having encountered my own fertility struggles in my mid-thirties, I took a deep dive into understanding how diet and lifestyle can support my desire to start a family. This resulted in me having two healthy children, one via IVF and one natural conception. Now a nutritionist and fertility expert, I help women going through their own fertility struggles, to realise their dream of a healthy pregnancy.

Work with me to gain the knowledge and strength to take back control of your fertility and feel empowered in knowing you are doing everything you can to increase your chances of a successful pregnancy.

Caroline Biddle (Med)

Caroline worked as a secondary school drama teacher for 9 years. During a period of three years, she went through fertility treatment before becoming a mother to her son. She experienced two very different styles of support, where neither school had a fertility policy in place which left her feeling both vulnerable and frustrated.

Caroline is committed to changing the way fertility issues in teaching are managed.

Since her career in teaching Caroline has gone on to deliver training to staff across NHS Trusts. She is also a visiting lecturer at two Universities.

Caroline blogs weekly about fertility issues. She supports a community of teachers across various social media platforms and regularly interacts with them.

Lucy Livesey

Lucy Livesey is the founder of Relax with Lucy & Co. Lucy is a bereaved mother, a Mindfulness Meditation teacher, Mental Health Nurse and Well-Being Practitioner. Her work within the mindfulness field is becoming widely recognised around the globe and she has been using her own experience of suffering to help others. Lucy’s experience of bereavement from the loss of her twin brother and also her daughter, motivated her to help others. It was through her own self discovery that Lucy went on to complete additional training to be able to teach people to find a sense of calm and balance.

Nicola Carter

Nicola Carter

I work to provide you with high quality fertility, birth and postnatal doula services across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, as well as online.

I am passionate about supporting you with your emotional wellbeing. I offer non-judgemental support along with unbiased, evidence-based information, so you can make the best decisions for you, your baby and your family. I am also the founder of Fertility, Birth & Beyond.

Nishta Patel

Nishta Patel - “The Gut Expert” Nutritionist

Helping patients regain their health after years of misery resulting from various ailments and diseases is my passion. I help people overcome their health problems by identifying and treating the root cause.

Using integrated Functional Medicine and Nutritional Therapy, my speciality is in gut related problems, which include Ulcerative Colitis, Diverticulitis, Crohn’s Disease an IBS.

Kelly Da Silva

Kelly Da Silva is a Fertility Support Expert, Writer, Speaker, and Founder of The Dovecote: Childless Support Organisation. Inspired by her own personal experience of infertility, Kelly specialises in developing and delivering ‘Emotional Support’ for those experiencing infertility either during treatment or in their own childless journey. Working with a leading UK Fertility Provider, Kelly has developed and continues to deliver a range of emotional and support offerings to improve the ‘Patient Experience’ to a level recognised by the HFEA as a ‘Gold Standard for Support’, using the knowledge, strategies, research and tools attested through her own personal journey.

Fertility, Birth & Beyond

Giving birth and/or the early stages of parenthood should be your biggest achievement, not your biggest fear.”

Welcome to Fertility, Birth and Beyond.
Birth Doula, Postnatal Doula, Hypnobirthing Teacher, Placenta Remedies Specialist and Holistic Fertility Coach across Nottingham, Derby and Online.

They provide 3-Step Rewind sessions for Traumatic Birth Recovery.

The Dovecote Fertility Support

Supporting, enabling and inspiring people dealing with involuntary childlessness to reconnect with their daily lives and rediscover a passion and purpose.

Relax with Lucy & Co

Relax With Lucy & Co was set up to offer well-being and mental health support through the provision of mindfulness & relaxation interventions. The organisation was set up by our founder Lucy Livesey – mental health nurse and bereaved mother following the loss of her daughter Ellie in 2017.

Lucy and her team of instructors deliver projects to help support the baby loss community through the development of mindfulness & relaxation resources. They offer both well-being baby loss tailored support in addition to general well-being support to help people improve their overall sense of wellbeing.

Nurtured Munchkin

Nurtured Munchkin offers antenatal classes and Hypnobirthing courses as group sessions, private classes in Woking and surrounding areas, and online all over the world. All the courses are run by Paula Lavandeira, senior midwife and DipHB(KG) hypnobirthing teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

Fertility Issues in Teaching

Fertility Issues In Teaching

Fertility Issues in Teaching are the first and only organisation that delivers specialist consultancy and training exclusively for schools. Raise awareness around the mental, emotional, social and financial impact of staff experiencing infertility and pregnancy loss in an environment where 75% of teachers are women.

Desi Radio London

Desi Radio is a registered Charity working to promote the Punjabi language, culture and the integration of the Punjabi Community in the UK. It airs Educational topics for its listeners and Fertility First UK will be sponsoring and featuring in their Radio Listener Call-ins focusing on Infertility and the A-Z Journey of IVF.

Andrew Coutts - CEO of the International Fertility Company

Andrew Coutts is one of the fertility industry’s best travelled individuals having visited and worked with over 180 clinics worldwide. He is a regular speaker, writer and commentator on cross border fertility treatment and male fertility. Andrew is the CEO of the International Fertility Company (IFC), an independent consultancy which offers a concierge service to patients seeking Fertility assistance both overseas and in the UK. He is a PhD researcher at the Centre for Reproduction Research at the De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester, UK, working on his specialist area, male factor fertility.

The Fertility Foundation

The Fertility Foundation is a UK Charity which aims to provide support and help to individuals and couples with advice, information and ultimately , practical assistance in accessing fertility treatment. The Foundation was created with the overwhelming desire to help as many people as we can to either start or extend their Family.

With the NHS funding cuts showing no signs of stopping they are creating a fund to provide financial assistance to individuals and couples who are struggling to afford treatment. They are more than a Charity that provides IVF Funding as they also run educational events across the UK.

Best Fertility Now Logo

Best Fertility Now

Best Fertility Now is a fertility media company, writing all about male and female fertility factors, global and personal interest stories, science, mental and physical health, all to give access to support and advice on fertility journey.

Enhanced Fertility Programmes Logo

Enhanced Fertility Programme

Enhanced Fertility Programme was founded by Andreia Trigo RN BSc MSc, Fertility Nurse Consultant. Their vision is to improve global accessibility to personalised fertility care, at minimal cost to populations. Enhanced Fertility use research, clinical skills and technology to create products with global reach to make personalised fertility care accessible to all.

Ian Stones

Ian Stones is considered one of the UK’s leading fertility experts helping couples wishing to start a family. Ian has extensive experience and training as a fertility acupuncturist with over 15 years in practice. Ian also works as a male fertility coach offering 1:1 support to men allowing them to properly understand their fertility and options.

Through his unique system, Ian helps couples to improve their lifestyle, diet and overall health to enhance their fertility. Ian is a passionate campaigner for equality in fertility services, recognising from over 15 years’ experience the unspoken toll on men going through fertility treatment.

Ian is also co-director of testhim, a unique platform offering men essential guidance around their fertility, testing and treatments.

Examen

Examen is a world leader in male fertility testing, based on its heritage of over 25 years in male reproductive health and fertility treatment research. We specialise in measuring sperm DNA fragmentation (known as sperm DNA damage) to help predict the likelihood of conception, miscarriage and the success of fertility treatment.

Sperm DNA damage is one of the most important factors causing male infertility. Examen has developed the Exact test to empower men to take control of their own fertility.

The Mancave

Kevin Button - "The Mancave"

‘The Mancave’ @them_ancave was created through personal experience and was to help break the stigma around male infertility. Why should we suffer in silence?!

“I believe anxiety and depression go hand in hand with fertility issues, and I honestly believe men have taken their own lives due to the fact they have had very little or no help or support after being told they are infertile. Because of this, I plan to make a difference and I want you guys to come along on this journey with me. Let’s do this together; for us, for those that have suffered in silence before us and for the men of the future, who hopefully won’t have to suffer alone.”

Kevin drives “The Mancave” project and is an Ambassador of Fertility Network UK.

ExSeed

“We’re on a mission to change fertility. At ExSeed Health we’re male health experts on a mission to address the 40% of all infertility that’s male related but currently remains largely neglected across the globe!

We built our company to utilize the latest scientific advances in fertility and health research to offer a range of innovative products, enabling men and couples to take ownership of their reproductive health in the comfort of their own home.

We’re also proud to break unnecessary taboos and create awareness around male fertility in the process by making the conversations on the male part easier and straightforward – as they should be.”

UR Vistahermosa

UR Vistahermosa is part of the UR International Reproduction Group, which currently carries out more than 11,000 reproduction cycles in Spain and boasts clinics in Alicante, Madrid, Malaga, Valencia, Murcia, Granada, Almeria, Cadiz, Jerez de la Frontera, Zaragoza, Oviedo, Cartagena and Lerida. It also has international units in Latin America in Managua and Mexico City.

At UR Vistahermosa we have multidisciplinary teams made up of gynaecologists, embryologists, geneticists, andrologists, anaesthesiologists, psychologists, nursing staff and assistants, so each case can be approached uniquely to achieve our goal – pregnancy.

When it comes to international patients, we know that setting off on the journey towards pregnancy means adapting to their needs. Our entire team works together to make the process as smooth and efficient as possible.

Tambre Fertility Clinic Madrid

More than 40 years of experience, our extensive career in the world of reproductive medicine has allowed us to achieve the highest success rates not only in Spain but throughout Europe. The latest technology to guarantee you a healthy baby. We have the latest technology in assisted reproduction: GERI, Time Lapse, Fenomatch, PGS, Chip Fertile, RI Witness, ERA, etc.

Dr Belinda Coker

Belinda has had an extraordinary career overcoming adversity whilst shattering the glass ceiling. Belinda completed her medical degree at the prestigious Imperial College School of Medicine. After spending three years training in obstetrics, gynaecology and sexual health at the highly-regarded Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, Belinda then spent two further years working in sexual and reproductive health and community gynaecology before training to become a GP.

A few years later, Belinda started to work in healthcare management, specialising in service design, patient experience, and safety, alongside her clinical practice. She was soon promoted to senior leadership roles within the NHS. After completing an Executive MBA program in Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Design at Imperial College Business school and winning the IBM prize for innovation, design and entrepreneurship, Belinda reached the executive level and became a board director.

During the last 10 years, Belinda provided advice and expertise to highly reputable healthcare organisations and innovative digital health companies that have created tech apps, gadgets, products, and online healthcare services. Throughout this time, she continued to practice as a GP in London.

Yemi Adegbile

Yemi Adegbile

 I am a Fertility Clinic Lead nurse with over 20 years in the fertility sector. I have worked in both the NHS and private sectors, including 17 years at Barts Centre for Reproductive Medicine and 5 years at the Assisted Conception Unit of Guy’s and St Thomas’.
My area of interest and passion is raising awareness in the black and minority ethnic communities about fertility issues, accessing fertility care and organising local forums to help singles and couples B.A.M.E patients navigate through their fertility journey.

  • Executive member of Nigeria Nurses Charitable association UK.
  • Organiser of bespoke packages for BAME patients who need Egg or Sperm donation both home and abroad.
  • Founder of Fertility Support Hub, a charitable organisation who raises awareness to the ethnic community about fertility issues.
  • Executive member of London Fertility Nurses Forum.

Dr. Zara Hosany - Psychologist, HCPC - Clin. Psych.

I am Dr Zara Hosany, a Clinical Psychologist with over 20 years experience working in mental health. I offer a range of interventions: individual work with adults, young people, parents, couples, family therapy; supervision for qualified professionals and trainees; coaching and mentoring, consultation work with organisations, and reflective spaces for groups.

I use a variety of approaches in my work, which includes CBT, DBT, IPT, Systemic, Narrative, Solution-focussed, Psychodynamic, Play and Attachment based therapies. I welcome explorations of race, culture, spirituality, sexuality, and other aspects of identity.

Andreia Trigo

Andreia Trigo

“My name is Andreia Trigo and I am a nurse consultant, researcher and founder of Enhanced Fertility. My passion for working in this area comes from my own diagnosis of infertility at a very young age

The journey to finding out what was happening in my body took years, several medical appointments, blood tests, invasive treatment and even surgery.

My goal is to help people be diagnosed sooner, get referred to fertility specialists that can help them and create a personalised treatment plan that increases their chances of conception.”

Natural Fertility Healthcare

Have you been trying for ages with no success? Have you had poor fertility test results? Are you feeling desperate and like you left it too late? Maybe guilty for having a career or not looking after your body? Do you feel like hope is fading and in a panic to find a solution quickly? Do you feel alone and fearful much of the time? You’ve tried so much as a couple and feel you failed in some way?

Do something really positive now to overcome the challenge and desperation you feel.

​Mama Be works with and through these issues to help restore your body’s natural health and fertility.

Regardless of whether you have suffered from unexplained infertility, secondary infertility, low AMH results, failed IVF, PCOS endometriosis, hormone imbalance, have poor hormone and/or sperm results, or even miscarriage issues treatment is possible.

International Fertility Company

The International Fertility Company (IFC) is a concierge based service assisting patients to identify and access the most appropriate fertility treatment at home or abroad. Working across 24 countries and with 180 clinics. IFC has an experienced team of former patients, medics, therapists and coaches who provide bespoke packages of care, support, treatment and information.

Dr. Amina Hersi

Dr. Amina Hersi - General Practitioner and Expert on PCOS

“When I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) over 10 years ago I remember it being such a confusing time. Through my years as a doctor, I came to understand the importance of diet and lifestyle in managing such a complex condition.”

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