​When I first started working in the fertility field 30 years ago, I was unable to discuss or comment on my work with my parents due to their religious views. My father is a Church of England priest and at that time, fertility treatment was very much seen as messing with what God has created. The church and science were just not on the same page so though they knew what I was doing and never actually said for me not to chat about my work, they never asked either which was hard to deal with.
I loved my work (and still do) and wanted them to be able to see the positive side of what we were doing; the families we were creating and the hope we were giving to others who we just knew would make the most amazing parents but for one reason or another were not able to have that happen naturally.
About 3 years in, I was planning a party for my husband’s 30 th birthday, a surprise party (which I will never, ever try to plan again! The stress of the day and getting him to it was a nightmare!) My parents would be there and a wonderful couple, Fiona and John, who I had helped through treatment and had become friends were also coming with their 6-month-old son, William conceived through IVF. I spoke to Fiona about the problems I had discussing my work with my parents and she just said, ‘Leave it with me!’
Day of the party and my parents were already there sat in chairs when Fiona arrived. She picked out my mother quite easily (yes, we do look alike) and walked up to her, plopped William onto her lap, said ‘Hi, here, see some of Ruth’s work’ and walked off leaving my mother literally holding the baby!
William, bless his heart, was at the adorable happy, smiley stage and looked up at my mum and dad and grinned. How could you not love this blonde, blue eyed gorgeous child?! And that was the thing – my work was suddenly not some mad scientist in a lab doing weird stuff, it was a real, live baby that they were holding. They could see the reality, not just the science, of how we were creating families and if that isn’t doing something that God would be proud of, I don’t know what is.
That was the turning point, from then on, they would discuss my work with me. Dad and I would read and share when new advances came out, discussing the good and the bad and do you know, from his theological standpoint and my scientific one, we more often than not came to the same conclusion on what treatments felt right and what didn’t.
I am thankful that I have had their support for so many years now and that for the most part the
church doesn’t stigmatise those undergoing fertility treatments, but I know there is still some way to go. If you are wanting to consider fertility treatment but feel that you don’t have that support to help you through the process, know that we are here, and we will support you. Just contact us and have a chat.

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