It's time to get used to a new name for Infertility Network UK – or INUK as we are often known. From 1 August 2016, we are rebranding and will become Fertility Network UK.
We are doing this for a number of reasons, but mainly to better reflect our role in providing support and information for everyone, whatever their experience of fertility issues. The word 'infertility' is often seen as very negative, and in rebranding we are building a more positive image for the charity. The help and support we offer does not focus on negatives, despite the fact that fertility treatment is often stressful and a successful outcome is not guaranteed.
We offer a safe space for the 3.5 million people across the UK who are currently experiencing difficulty conceiving. The impact of fertility problems is not just physical but also emotional, and that's where Fertility Network UK comes in. Our friendly team is at hand to offer the help that is needed – that may be a chat on the phone to our support line, run by a qualified nurse (the wonderful Diane who has been with us for 20 years), or it may be going along to one of the dozens of groups run by our fabulous staff and volunteers across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It may be chatting to others in our online HealthUnlocked community or attending one of our Skype talks on fertility-related topics.
Our support focuses on positive ways of getting together to help one another during what is often a very challenging time, and our new brand reflects a change that has already been underway within the charity as we have become a more outward-looking and upbeat organisation.
We want to highlight that we are here for:
- anyone considering their future fertility
- those trying to become parents
- anyone facing the challenges of childlessness
- people who have been successful in overcoming fertility issues
Our work has always had a wide remit, and we don't just support those who are currently trying to conceive. We also offer help to those who are struggling after unsuccessful treatment, who are often unable to access the right support at the time they need it. We are experienced at dealing with the emotions that can follow a positive pregnancy test and at offering help when no one else seems to understand. We work with the families and friends of those who are trying to conceive, and offer help and advice on practical issues. We have also worked to raise awareness of the need for fertility education. Our project in Scotland – Your Future Fertility – successfully reaches out to young people to help inform and educate them about lifestyle factors that could impact their chances of conceiving in the future.
We also continue to lobby for fair access to three full cycles of funded IVF treatment across the UK. Last month, our dedication and hard work in Scotland was part of the successful campaign there. Access criteria have been widened, and the NHS in Scotland will now offer the recommended three full cycles to all those eligible (see BioNews 855). We know that support services, such as counselling, are not always as available as they might be and we have worked with the British Infertility Counselling Association to investigate this.
Our work has been described by many as a 'lifeline', providing support and a listening ear when no one else is there. We hope that our new name and our new brand will make us more accessible and will enable us to widen and enrich the care and support we offer. We are currently working on a fabulous new website (www.fertilitynetworkuk.org), which will be launched at The Fertility Show in November as part of our annual Fertility Awareness Week.
We are very much looking forward to continuing to provide and expand our services as Fertility Network UK.