On-demand webinar: Male fertility – take action

You decided to start a family, but it isn’t happening – how do you feel?  Fertility treatment often focusses on the female partner but it is a shared journey. Getting the news that you are unable to conceive can be a shock, but on the male side there is much that can be done to overcome a low or zero sperm count, and ways that you can help yourself and support your partner.

Whatever stage of your fertility journey you are, there will be something for you in this webinar which looks at fertility from the male perspective and what you can do to improve your chances of becoming a dad and cope better with the journey. 

Increase your chance of being a dad

There is a male factor in 50% of infertility cases and unlike eggs, sperm is made continuously so there is an opportunity to improve its quality and quantity.

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

Mr Oliver Wiseman, consultant urologist and specialist in male fertility, sees men every day who have been told they will never become a dad through natural conception. He says that the semen analysis is just the starting point.

“A semen analysis tests the volume of the sperm (sperm count), how well the sperm move (motility) and how normal they look (morphology).

“Many things can affect sperm quality, for example a brief period of illness can temporarily lower a sperm count, so it is important to repeat the test before diagnosing a problem. Many issues can be resolved naturally by lifestyle changes, by surgery and/or medication,  all increasing your chances of becoming a dad.”

Sometimes there is no sperm but this too can be overcome in many cases; the important thing is to get good advice – don’t sit on the side-lines hoping that life will come to you.

Help for the journey 

Jackie Stewart, Fertility Counsellor

Infertility impacts both partners, but the coping mechanisms are often different. Jackie Stewart is an independent counsellor specialising in fertility and over the years and although there are of course many exceptions she has observed that men and women seem to cope differently with the challenge of infertility and fertility treatment.

“Often men cope by being positive, logical minded and pragmatic, focusing their energies very much in the present moment and on what they can solve. They may prefer not to talk about treatment because they feel helpless, powerless and don’t like to see their partner suffer when the topic comes up.

“This means that they may also not get the support or information they need and may try to be the rock for a partner, but it is better to accept that you are in this together and you don’t know what the outcome will be.”

Jackie will be talking about how to understand the coping mechanisms that you and your partner use and how to work out individually what you need. This includes discussing difficult decisions during fertility treatment.

This webinar is now over, but you can watch the recording below on-demand.

On-demand webinar: Understanding Fertility Testing 

Would you like to know how to increase your chances of starting a family? Do you have questions about your fertility health?

Join our fertility nurses in this free webinar where we will talk you through the testing and diagnosis options available at Bourn Hall.

We will explore male and female fertility tests and talk you through the procedures included. From this webinar, we also aim to give you a deeper understanding of your reproductive system and the tests available at Bourn Hall.

We will explain what the outcome of our male and female fertility tests might mean for your ability to conceive naturally, and what lifestyle changes might increase your chances of achieving a pregnancy.

We will also discuss the options, support and advice you will receive if we identify treatment or surgical intervention is indicated.

Our events are run via Zoom and will last no more than an hour.

This webinar is now over, but you can watch the recording below on-demand.


On-demand webinar: Become an egg donor

Do something amazing – give others the opportunity to create their family

For some couples, egg donation is their only chance of having a baby. If you are aged 18-34 and in good health you could help them achieve their dream of a family.

Many women dream of having their own family but there are a large number of women who need the help of an egg donor to make this possible. It is very difficult to be told that you can’t have a baby from your own eggs and these women then face a long journey to become a parent as there is a shortage of egg donors in the UK.

Egg donors receive a free fertility check, infection screening and can be compensated up to £750 in line with HFEA guidance. If you need IVF treatment yourself, and meet the criteria to become a donor, you can be compensated with a reduced IVF treatment package price instead.

Becoming a donor can be a very rewarding experience and it is one of the most generous gifts you can give. By choosing to donate you can make a real difference to someone’s life as well as your own.

Learn more
Watch our free webinar now – our Lead Nurses Jackie Richardson and Kate Pleace discuss the benefits, the process and the reasons why you should consider donating your eggs and answers a number of questions.

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

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.

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.   

Watch on demand here

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. 

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

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.

Our events are run via Zoom and will last no more than an hour. 

Register for our next event on the 21 July now

If you would like to join our next event please register here. Once registered you will receive your details for joining the event via Zoom.

(Please check your spam folder if you don’t receive a message and add Zoom messages to your safe senders list)

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

Future event dates include:

18 August @ 7:00 pm

15 September @ 7:00 pm


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.”

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. 

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

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. 

Fertility Support Group

Next meeting Wednesday 13 July 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.

About the Fertility Support Group Meeting

Held monthly 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

Guest speaker for July meeting – Melanie shares her fertility journey

Mel Fertility declines with age, so a common concern of those struggling with infertility is the fear of time running out.

Melanie didn’t meet Mark until they were both in their late 30s – how would this impact their chances of success?

Melanie will talk about the couple’s journey and the choices they made, and share her coping tips.

Everyone’s journey is unique, but hearing from someone’s lived experience can create an opportunity to explore different options, to know what questions to ask and to stimulate a discussion.

There will be opportunities in the meeting to talk about issues of concern to you.

More about Melanie. 

Register here

Register your place now

If you would like to join a meeting please register here. Once registered you will receive further information and the details for joining the group via Zoom.

(Please check your spam folder if you don’t receive a message and add Zoom messages to your safe senders list)

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

We look forward to welcoming you to the group.

Group meeting dates: