Bourn Hall Fertility Fair: Support for your fertility journey

Our Fertility Fair (  offers live chat with health professionals on Saturday 6 November from 11am to 1pm and you can begin browsing during National Fertility Awareness Week from 1 to 5 November.

For many couples who struggle to conceive it can come as a complete shock and they want to understand why they are not able to get pregnant when it seems so easy for those around them.

Others may already have had a reason to suspect they might struggle to conceive – irregular or painful periods, a sports injury, chlamydia infection in their teens, a family history of premature menopause – and would appreciate some advice.

Accessing the right information can play a key part in making the fertility journey a less lonely and daunting experience and support people in moving forward.

To help answer your questions, Bourn Hall is hosting a virtual Fertility Fair which is taking place throughout National Fertility Awareness Week starting on 1st November.

During the week we are inviting you to browse Bourn Hall’s virtual Fertility Fair to explore the different information booths and find out more about the main causes of infertility, as well as what you can do to boost your chances of a successful pregnancy.

Everyone’s fertility journey is unique and different, so on Saturday 6th November there will be the opportunity to ask your own questions in a live one-on-one confidential chat with specialist fertility nurses, fertility consultants, a nutritionist and patient support advisers.

Topics to be covered at the Fertility Fair include common causes of infertility as well as:

  • How to boost natural fertility and increase the chances of pregnancy
  • Fertility after 35 – impact of age on fertility
  • High BMI and infertility – what you can do to improve success
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – different types, role of nutrition
  • Blocked tubes and inflammatory diseases – how to check you are not affected
  • Endometriosis and fertility preservation
  • Low and zero sperm count – options for male infertility

And if treatment is needed…

  • Which fertility tests do you need
  • What is assisted conception
  • What happens during IVF treatment
  • Options for same-sex couples and single women
  • Funding, finance and treatment packages

The Fertility Fair is virtual it will open during Fertility Week and close on 12 November with live chat on Saturday 6th November.

To express your interest in the fair and to be notified when it is open please complete the form below.



On-demand event: Safe and successful – options for lesbian couples who want a baby

There is much more to consider than ‘finding’ a sperm donor if you are a lesbian couple wanting to start a family. Although its tempting to ask a friend, or to go online, there are many risks involved. So if you are looking to have a baby together, this webinar is the one for you.

We have invited two lesbian couples to talk about their very different fertility journeys and the decisions they made, we have a legal expert who specialises in LGBT+ family law, and Bourn Hall fertility nurses to answer your questions.

This webinar aims to cover the key information that couples need to take into account before having a baby together.

After three short video presentations there is a Q&A session with Senior Fertility Nurse Specialist Jackie Richardson and former patients Katie and Ali.

Register now to watch

Speakers at the webinar include: 

create a family with two mums Sarah White, Family Law Solicitor at Family Law Group
Sarah White, Family Law Solicitor at Family Law Group

Legal expert: Sarah White, Family Law Solicitor at Family Law Group – avoiding the pitfalls

Sarah sees the consequences when LGBT+ couples don’t have sufficient advice. She says: “Legal parenthood not only has an impact upon a child’s nationality, inheritance rights, and who has financial responsibility to them, but it’s also important for a child’s sense of identity.”

She will describe some of the situations she has encountered and give advice to help avoid them.

Ali and Katie
Ali and Katie

Former patients: Katie and Ali – IUI treatment worked first time 

Katie and Ali from Essex knew from the beginning that they wanted to use an anonymous donor and initially tried getting pregnant at home using ‘DIY’ kits using sperm shipped from abroad. After three failed ‘DIY’ attempts the couple came to Bourn Hall, where tests revealed Katie had irregular ovulation (release of a mature egg). “I realised that there would have been no way that we would have ever have got pregnant using the home kits,” says Katie. 

The couple had Intrauterine Insemination Treatment (IUI) at Bourn Hall which Katie describes as “the most natural fertility treatment there is” and they now have two sons, Harry and Oliver. 

Laura and Mel
Laura and Mel

Former patients: Mel and Laura – IVF after a diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome 

Mel and Laura from Cambridgeshire explored the option of finding a sperm donor on the internet. They decided this was too risky and came to Bourn Hall, after Mel was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common caused of infertility and tests revealed a low reserve of eggs. IVF was recommended. Mel says: “I would strongly recommend to other lesbian couples to use a regulated clinicThe sperm donor has no legal rights over a child born through a UK fertility clinic.”

Fertility nurse specialist Jackie Richardson
Fertility nurse specialist Jackie Richardson

Senior Fertility Nurse Specialist, Jackie Richardson – fertility options for lesbian couples at Bourn Hall 

There are many treatment options for same-sex female couples – IUI or IVF, shared motherhood, using known donors or a sperm bank – and the fertility health and well-being of both partners need to be taken into consideration when planning treatment. Counselling is also available at Bourn Hall to help make crucial decisions and to explore the implications of using donor sperm.


This webinar will explore the fertility options for lesbian couples available at Bourn Hall  and the wider issues to consider if you are looking to start your own family.   

Register now to watch

On-demand webinar: Endometriosis and fertility

“I normally have quite a high pain threshold but this time it was really bad. Initially the doctors thought I had appendicitis but then they opened me up and saw the mess. I thought the odds were stacked against me ever having a child.”

Up to half of women with endometriosis – where tissue can grow over the ovaries and fallopian tubes – are affected by fertility issues. Worryingly, few women know that surgery to alleviate the symptoms may also cause damage to their reproductive organs.

In our on-demand webinar we discuss endometriosis and the impact on fertility. We have two guest speakers: Dr Thanos Papathanasiou, Bourn Hall’s Medical Director, and former Bourn Hall patient Victoria Key.

Endometriosis and fertility 

Dr Papathanasiou is concerned that people aren’t accessing good advice

Dr Thanos Papathanasiou, Bourn Hall’s Medical Director, will explain some of the common, as well as lesser known, symptoms of endometriosis and the treatments available to women who have been unable to conceive

“Endometriosis is a progressive condition, so being aware of the options at an early stage can help improve the chances of a successful pregnancy.

“Women with severe endometriosis symptoms may need complicated and delicate hospital surgery. We are concerned that many women are not aware that this may sometimes result in long-term damage to their tubes and ovaries. So, it is important that women are informed before such a procedure that they have an option to freeze their eggs. This would preserve their fertility should they want children in the future.”

Victoria’s story: “emergency surgery uncovered a 6cm ovarian cyst”

Former Bourn Hall patient Victoria Key will talk about her experience of finally being diagnosed with endometriosis after years of painful periods culminated in emergency surgery – and how IVF enabled her to become a mum.

Victoria and Alex
Victoria and her son Alex, her endometriosis was undiagnosed for many years.

Victoria had always suffered with painful and heavy periods, but it was only when she was rushed into hospital in an ambulance in the middle of the night in excruciating pain that the cause was found. “My surgeon told me that my emergency surgery had ‘tidied things up’ but that he expected to see me again in a few years,” says Victoria.

When Victoria was admitted to hospital, she and husband Neal had already been referred for fertility tests after being unable to conceive for two years. “We thought the odds were stacked against us ever having a child, but our consultant told us we were eligible for NHS-funded IVF.”

Now mum to Alex, aged 7, Victoria recently had a hysterectomy to alleviate the pain and discomfort of her endometriosis. “I am 42 now and I wish that when I was younger I had pushed a bit harder for some answers,” she says.

She is speaking out about her experiences to encourage others to seek advice sooner.


Our on-demand webinar will help you understand the options available to you to create your family. 

Register now to watch

Please click here to register.

March is Endometriosis Awareness Week organised by Endometriosis UK – to find out more about their work 

To support the work of Endometriosis UK click here.

Free IVF open evening

Our next event is Tuesday 19 October 2021 at 6:30pm

When you’re beginning your fertility journey, we know how hard it can be to choose the right clinic – even more so when you are not able to visit one of our clinics in person – we are still here for you.

To help you make the right choice, we are delighted to be offering free virtual open events. Held monthly, these events are intended for couples or individuals who are looking to complete their family through fertility treatments.

Start your journey

We know how you feel – if you are interested in finding out more about fertility tests or IVF treatments at Bourn Hall, this open event will give you the opportunity to meet some of our experts, learn more about our clinics, tests, treatments and success rates, and give you an opportunity to ask any questions you might have.

The event will be run via Zoom a secure webinar platform and will last no more than an hour. 

Register now

To reserve your place at our open evening on Tuesday 19 October 2021, please register through the link below and we will then send you a confirmation with your unique Zoom details to join the event.

Book now

We look forward to welcoming you into the Bourn Hall family.

Future open evenings will be held on:

23 November at 6:30pm

On-demand webinar: It’s a game of two halves – tackling male infertility

“I’ve got plenty of really close mates, but it feels almost like a taboo to talk about it down the pub. Because blokes aren’t naturally caring… the default way is to laugh it off with a bit of banter and a bit of humour. That’s great, because it alleviates that glumness, but sometimes you just need to talk to someone.”

Register now to watch

In our on-demand webinar about male infertility, Matt O’Malley talks about his experiences and how he found it helped him to open up about the issue. He is be joined by Mr Oliver Wiseman, urologist and male infertility specialist at Bourn Hall, who explains what a semen analysis reveals, how to improve poor sperm quality, and the treatment options that are available.

Mr Wiseman says: “A semen test is just the starting point of a fertility journey. Many issues with poor sperm quality or quantity can be resolved naturally or by surgery and/or medication, increasing your chances of becoming a dad.”

Matt’s story: “I was like ‘no, I’m absolutely fine’, when I knew I wasn’t…”

poor sperm quality
Matt is now a dad to baby Elle after treatment at Bourn Hall

At the age of 31, Matt O’Malley and his partner Laura found themselves in the middle of a baby boom. All around them, friends of a similar age were all starting to have children. But after 18 months of trying, the couple had still not been able to conceive.

“Laura’s cycle is irregular and we thought it was that,” says Matt. “It came as a complete shock that the issue was with my sperm. I think as a man you just automatically assume you can have children – it’s a given.

“We mentioned to friends and family ‘we were going for treatment’ but didn’t go into details.

“I’m very much a happy-go-lucky person, but after Laura suffered two miscarriages I changed… I really struggled,” he says.

“Friends had noticed I’d changed. It was only when I started talking more openly about male infertility and what I’d experienced that it made me realise that I should’ve been doing it a long time ago. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, there’s nothing to hide, it’s part of who you are.”

Male infertility specialist: overcoming poor sperm quality and quantity 

Mr Oliver Wiseman says: “In 50% of cases, there is a male factor contributing to fertility problems, so early assessment of the male side is important, and that can be done with a semen analysis.

Oliver Wiseman, specialist on male infertility
Oliver Wiseman, specialist in male fertility

“Sperm is produced in the testicles. The testis have only two jobs: to produce the male hormone testosterone and to make sperm. Unlike the female, where all her eggs are present at birth, sperm is produced continuously and even a short period of illness can impact production.

“This is why, if there are abnormalities in a semen analysis, it is important that these patients are seen by a male infertility specialist, because there may be things we can diagnose or advise that will improve sperm count.

“If we can improve sperm quality then the couple may be able to conceive naturally, or if they do need IVF treatment, it will make it more successful.” 

Our on-demand webinar will help you understand the options available to you to create your family. 

Register now to watch

Please click here to register.

On-demand event: Female same sex couples’ paths to parenthood

Bourn Hall gives female same sex couples the very best chance of having a baby – watch now

If you are in a same sex partnership, then some type of fertility support is inevitable if you want to have a baby. 

Our on-demand webinar discusses the fertility and IVF treatment options available to you to create your family, as well as addressing some key questions: 

  • Is IUI the obvious choice for everyone?
  • The legalities: How can I guarantee my partner is going to be the legal parent?
  • The rights and duties of the sperm donor, of yourselves and of your future child.
  • Is anonymity of the sperm donor a thing of the past?
  • Can we be pregnant at the same time?
  • What does the regulatory authority say about shared motherhood?
  • How can fertility test results inform your choice of the best treatment?
  • How much do different fertility treatments options cost?

Bourn Hall has its own sperm bank and also offers single women and couples the opportunity to select  sperm from other banks where greater diversity is required, or use a known donor if they prefer.

We provide a personalised fertility pathway to help you on your journey to achieving your dream of parenthood, our experts are on hand to offer you advice and support. 

Bourn Hall was the first IVF clinic in the world, set up 40 years ago to help people create their families, and we are incredibly proud that our success rates are now consistently over 40%. Our latest live birth rate per embryo transfer for patients of all ages at our clinics is 44% and for patients aged under 38 we are achieving live birth rates of 50% and above.

Everyone we see is uniquely individual and your specific circumstances will affect the way in which you choose to start your family. 

Our on-demand webinar will help you understand the options available to you to create your family. 

Watch now

Fertility Support Group

Treatment after Loss: 21 October at 6:30pm

The Fertility Support Group, held virtually, is led by independent fertility counsellor, Jackie Stewart, and other members of our Bourn Hall family.

Joining the group meeting gives you the opportunity to talk to other people experiencing infertility, with members supporting each other on what can be an emotional journey.

Special focussed meeting – Treatment after loss

Sarah - IVF gave me hope after baby loss heartache
“IVF treatment gave me hope after recurrent miscarriage,” says Sarah

Recurrent miscarriage is heart-breaking and can be isolating as few are prepared to talk about the emotional impact.

Sarah, had three miscarriages the last on her husband’s birthday. She is talking about their experiences and how they coped with subsequent fertility treatment in the Fertility Support Group on 21 October. You can read more about their story here.

Fertility counsellor, Jackie Stewart will be facilitating the discussion and providing insights.

Our meeting comes after Baby Loss Awareness Week which runs from 9-15 October 2021 and which aims to help people talk more easily about this difficult subject.

About the group

Held monthly from 6:30pm using Zoom, for approximately an hour and a half, we invite experts and patients to speak on a range of topics that reflect the needs of individual members.

The group offers:

  • Free attendance for all
  • Guest speakers
  • Facilitated meetings with Question & Answer sessions
  • Caring, supportive staff
  • Opportunity to meet other people who empathise
  • Helpful information

Register your place now

If you would like to join a meeting please register your interest by using the form below and we will be in touch with further details.

If you have any questions or require more information about the fertility support group events, please contact Sharon on You can also access more information about support available in our blog.

We look forward to welcoming you to the group.