Fertility Coaching – tips without tricks from an insider

Professor Alan Thornhill
Fertility Expert & Coach, The Fertility Guy

Emotions and Support

From this video you will find out:
  • How do you know when you need a Fertility Coach & what are its benefits?
  • Who is Fertility Coaching for?
  • What kind of support and information can Fertility Coach offer?
  • Prior to commencing IVF treatment, what essential information should you be aware of?
  • Seeking reliable sources, where can you find credible information about IVF?
  • When selecting the right treatment and clinic for your needs, what factors should you consider, and what should you be on the lookout for?
  • Planning for the financing and overall cost of your IVF treatment – what steps should you take to prepare?

Fertility Coaching – tips without tricks from an insider

During this webinar, Professor Alan Thornhill, Fertility Expert & Coach, provided some practical guidance and empowering strategies to enhance your fertility journey. Alan focused on evidence-based methods and proven techniques. His expertise can help you to take control of your fertility journey and make informed decisions.

Bad News: Facing Reality

There are some harsh truths that often remain unspoken in the world of IVF. Over half of all IVF cycles end unsuccessfully. This statistic is often sugarcoated, but it’s crucial to be aware of the potential challenges. Fertility, especially for women, significantly declines with age. While exact numbers vary, age does impact fertility. Couples undergoing IVF have a higher likelihood of experiencing relationship strain or even separation following failed attempts. Financially, IVF can be an expensive process, and one should not assume a guaranteed success in the first attempt. Furthermore, the growing demand for IVF leads to busier clinics, which can sometimes compromise personalized care.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Success rates for IVF are improving, and treatment options are expanding. Regulators ensure clinics adhere to standards and provide honest information. Professionals in the field genuinely root for patients’ success and well-being. Funding options and financing are becoming more accessible, making treatment feasible for a broader range of people. Patient well-being is increasingly emphasized, and this has given rise to the role of fertility coaching.

The Role of Fertility Coaching

Why consider working with a fertility coach? Fertility coaches provide independent guidance, leveraging their deep understanding of the IVF process to help navigate challenges. They offer an external perspective, free from personal bias, helping you set boundaries and make informed decisions. The empowerment aspect is essential, enabling you to ask questions, assert yourself, and regain some control over your journey.

Fertility coaching is about supporting individuals on their path to parenthood, encompassing various perspectives and experiences. Different types of coaches offer distinct services, catering to different needs. Coaching covers a range of aspects, including nutrition, emotional support, lifestyle, mindset, stress management, and natural methods. However, Alan emphasised that his focus lies on providing practical insights based on the inner workings of clinics, offering an alternative perspective to the more common coaching themes.

The Importance of a Strong Foundation

Starting with the basics is essential. To navigate the complex world of IVF, understanding the language and fundamentals is key. Becoming an expert is unnecessary, but grasping the essentials is crucial. This empowers you to comprehend the advice given, critically evaluate it, and align it with your needs.

You need to learn the IVF language; that’s the reality.

Questioning, Advocating, and Complaining Effectively

As you progress through your IVF journey, don’t hesitate to ask questions, decline certain options, or voice concerns. Remember, you hold rights in this process, as you’re investing both financially and emotionally. Being clear and precise in your communication, rather than emotional, paves the way for a productive dialogue. Put your concerns in writing, creating a paper trail for better resolution.

Be clear, concise, and precise when expressing your concerns.

Choosing the Right Path: Clinic and Treatment Selection

Selecting the right clinic and treatment is paramount. Focus on reputable sources of information, such as licensed clinics and trusted regulators like the HFEA in the UK. While overseas options can be viable, consider legal differences that might impact your journey. Utilize virtual consultations and visits to assess the clinic’s environment and staff vibes, ensuring you’re comfortable.

Amidst a sea of information, finding reliable sources is challenging. Friends and online communities offer emotional support, but their advice may lack factual accuracy. Be cautious of internet searches, as algorithms may not always yield accurate results. Rely on trustworthy resources like official regulator websites and balanced medical information from trusted institutions.

Fine-Tuning Your Skepticism

Maintaining a skeptical approach is essential throughout your journey. Sense-check information that doesn’t sound plausible. Be wary of red flags like vague answers, hesitance to address questions, or an unwillingness to accommodate your inquiries. Trust your instincts, ask tough questions, and seek answers that align with your best interests.

Remember, silence isn’t an answer. Questioning a lack of response is essential to maintaining clarity and making informed choices.

Be Wary of Overpromises and Hidden Costs

Beware of misleading pricing and claims. Often, seemingly lower costs may not encompass the entire treatment cycle or include hidden expenses. Investigate what’s truly included in the quoted cost and clarify any doubts. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it likely is.

Financing and Planning: Consider Multiple Cycles

Prepare financially by planning for more than one IVF cycle. The number of cycles required varies with factors like age and medical history. Engage in discussions about multicycle packages or money-back plans, but also be vigilant about scrutinizing the costs and evaluating what aligns with your goals.

Seek Eligibility for State Funding or NHS Support

Explore the possibility of state funding or NHS coverage, depending on your location. In some cases, free or subsidized cycles might be available. Don’t overlook these options if you’re eligible, as they can significantly impact your financial commitment.

Empower Yourself and Communicate Clearly

Establishing personal boundaries is pivotal. These boundaries encompass various aspects, such as treatment options, disclosure to others, use of social media, and ethical considerations. Conduct a self-audit to evaluate your comfort levels, communicate your boundaries to those involved, and maintain them throughout the journey. Remember that boundaries can evolve based on circumstances.

Maintain Healthy Relationships

Keep your relationships strong by fostering open communication. Both partners should engage with the process, understand each other’s experiences, and provide unwavering support. Consider fertility counselling as a means to work through issues and strengthen your bond. Maintain self-care practices and seek professional help if necessary.


Embarking on an IVF journey requires careful planning, thoughtful decision-making, and a strong support network. By validating information, setting boundaries, and maintaining clear communication, you can navigate this complex process with confidence. Remember that informed choices and a well-rounded approach contribute to a smoother and more successful IVF experience.


- Questions and Answers

What is your advice on assessing outcome statistics for supplements?

If you mean nutritional supplements, the data on those is not as clear as it could be. It’s difficult to get clear statistics on the value of supplements. So, it’s hard to find really strong evidence that a given supplement improves fertility outcomes more than exercise, diet, or addressing deficiencies.

How do you stay up to date with the latest developments and research in fertility treatments?

I work closely with the fertility industry and the research and development team. I keep my ear to the ground for the latest fertility advances.

What do you offer in terms of service and what is your fee structure?

It’s best to have a free call to discuss the service and fee structure. We can talk about what’s right for you during the call.

Regarding IVF policies like Gaia, what’s your opinion on the difference in BMI cutoffs? How about the 5-year packages vs. single treatment plans, especially regarding switching clinics?

Changing BMI cutoffs could be a way to manage resources. It might also be related to success rates as BMI increases. These decisions are often driven by financial considerations. Five-year packages can offer benefits like cost savings and volume discounts. If you’re concerned about flexibility and switching clinics, consider your options carefully based on your specific situation.

Do you have experience with spinal cord injury patients and issues they face with fertility treatment?

When working with clinics recommended by spinal units, ensure they have experience with specific challenges. Consider seeking second opinions and finding clinics familiar with spinal injury-related fertility issues.  

Why do some clinics offer higher BMI cutoffs for treatment than the NHS?

Higher BMI cutoffs might be due to success rate considerations. Different clinics have varying resources and patient profiles that influence their decisions.

Have you ever recommended overseas treatment to UK clients, and if so, why?

Overseas treatment might offer more options, different care options, and varied ethical and legal frameworks. It’s not just about finances, but also about what suits the individual’s needs and values.

Do you provide consultation on choosing egg or sperm donors?

Yes, I can help you navigate the factors to consider when choosing a donor. This includes ethical considerations, legal frameworks, and various aspects of the donor’s background.

How do you help patients balance staying informed while avoiding information overload and stress?

Stick to your planned pathway and avoid getting distracted by new information. Manage expectations and consider regrouping if a cycle is unsuccessful.  

What advice do you have for patients seeking double donation treatment?

Research clinics offering double donation and assess their experience, success rates, and legal frameworks. Consider aspects like ethical values, costs, and available donor options.  
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Professor Alan Thornhill

Professor Alan Thornhill

Professor Alan Thornhill is a fertility expert with over 25 years of experience and more than 100 scientific publications in IVF. Specifically, he’s a clinical scientist (specialising in embryology and genetics). Uniquely, he’s worked in IVF and diagnostic laboratories, research, clinical and business management, and even with the UK’s fertility regulator. Working in US and UK-based IVF clinics and consulting globally, he’s been involved in the IVF journeys of thousands of couples (both professionally and personally). He’s helped and advised patients, friends and strangers with issues including low sperm count, sperm and egg donation, genetic testing, surrogacy, treatment overseas and more. He currently works in the biotech industry, and his personal mission is to provide his unique brand of fertility coaching to people in need of help.
Event Moderator
Caroline Kulczycka

Caroline Kulczycka

Caroline Kulczycka is managing MyIVFAnswers.com and has been hosting IVFWEBINARS dedicated to patients struggling with infertility since 2020. She's highly motivated and believes that educating patients so that they can make informed decisions is essential in their IVF journey. In the past, she has been working as an International Patient Coordinator, where she was helping and directing patients on their right path. She also worked in the tourism industry, and dealt with international customers on a daily basis, including working abroad. In her free time, you’ll find her travelling, biking, learning new things, or spending time outdoors.