Fertility Network UK increases online support groups

Fertility Network UK saw a 300% increase in calls during the pandemic, according to Kate Brian, the Operations Manager speaking at the recent Fertility 2022 Conference. As a result the patient support charity has increased its services in a number of ways. We asked Kate to tell us more about the support available in this guest post.

The two main ways that Fertility Network UK has responded to patient feedback is to extend the hours of its support line and to move its fertility groups online with special interest groups.

Our support line, run by two former fertility nurses, is now open every weekday from 10am to 4pm and this provides a helpful source of emotional support and guidance.

Our fertility groups across the country are now online with closed Facebook pages and many holding regular meetings on Zoom.

Kate Brian, Fertility Network
Kate Brian, Fertility Network

New groups reflect range of experiences

We’ve listened to patients who told us they wanted to be in groups with others who are in similar circumstances, and so we’ve set up a range of new groups that are open to anyone wherever they are in the UK.  All the new groups have Facebook groups and some are very active, with monthly meetings with speakers.

New groups include:

Our groups are not just for those who are still regularly attending the clinic. We also have groups offering support to those who are thinking of moving on from treatment, those who are living with involuntary childlessness and those who have had successful treatment.

Male fertility

Fertility Network UK has taken on comedian Rhod Gilbert’s HIMfertility campaign and holds monthly men’s group meetings, which have allowed men to feel comfortable opening up and talking about their fertility.

The men’s group HIMfertility meetings are facilitated by one of our Ambassadors, racing driver Toby Trice. During National Fertility Awareness Week last November, they had a day out on the track at Silverstone which was a great opportunity for members to finally meet up in person.

The full list of all our support groups is on our website and our specialist groups are listed there too.

Campaigning and advice 

Webinars – Fertility Network UK runs regular webinars to inform, update and offer support to anyone experiencing fertility problems. The live webinars are recorded and can be found on the YouTube channel, accessible via its website. The most recent webinar answered questions about Covid, with representatives from the British Fertility Society and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

Campaigning We also continue to campaign for NICE guidance (three cycles of IVF treatment) to be followed and we’ve worked with Health Boards and CCGs to promote this. We represent the patient view on research studies to ensure that this is never overlooked or forgotten.

Work and treatment – We have a Fertility in the Workplace initiative aimed at employers to try to improve conditions for those going through treatment and in Wales and Scotland we run Your Future Fertility, a project providing fertility information and education.

We are here to support anyone affected by fertility issues, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if we can help in any way.

Fertility Network UK

More information

Find out more about Fertility Network UK at fertilitynetworkuk.org.

Bourn Hall holds also a regular Fertility Support Group, led by independent fertility counsellor, Jackie Stewart, and other members of our Bourn Hall family.

Take a look through the other counselling and support offered by Bourn Hall.

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