Lads from Wickford Town Youth U9 Pumas will debut this season with their kit sponsored by the fertility clinic Bourn Hall, which has a new clinic based in the centre of the town.
The sponsorship deal was expertly brokered by one of the player’s mums, Shanna Mattacks, a former IVF patient.
“The team are excited about the start of the season and they will be playing their first game this weekend,” says Shanna, whose son Henry plays for the team.
Struggled to conceive
That first match will be extra special for Shanna, who feared she might never be able to have children.
She had cancer as a baby, which meant one of her kidneys had to be removed followed by radiotherapy as well as chemotherapy – both treatments can damage the ovaries, where the eggs are stored. She was then told at 21 after investigative surgery that she had severe endometriosis, where cells similar to those lining the womb had blocked the tubes from her ovaries. This meant there was no chance of her getting pregnant naturally.
Fortunately, her eggs had survived, and Shanna had successful IVF treatment in London, resulting in the birth of her son Henry. Her daughter Arabella is a Bourn Hall baby, conceived after it opened a clinic in Wickford, close to her home in Basildon.
Shouldn’t be hush hush
Shanna feels that having the Bourn Hall branding on the kit will encourage others to gain advice and not miss out on their chance to see their children playing football.
“Some people try and try for a baby and don’t understand what is going wrong. For me I knew it was coming.
“I want people to talk about it. I don’t want infertility to be this big ‘hush, hush’ thing because it is what it is, and it’s quite common.
“I am so pleased that we have got the Bourn Hall branding on the boys’ shirts, because now it is ‘out there’ and it might encourage others to get advice.”
Fertility Fair 6th November
For others concerned about their fertility Bourn Hall has a free virtual Fertility Fair on Saturday 6th November where health professionals will answer questions by chat. Find out more information and register for the Fertility Fair.