A sperm donor helps Stuart become a dad

Stuart Powell case study small
Josie, Freddie and Jessie

One third of fertility problems are linked to a man’s health. Stuart shares his story.

Stuart, 43, and Lucy, 40, from Worcestershire, had always wanted children. A few years after marrying, as they entered their late twenties, they started to try. But after eighteen months and no success, they visited their GP.

“When we saw our GP and explained the problem, the focus was instantly on Lucy. The GP prescribed her some fertility medication, but it didn’t work. Only after another year did the attention turn to me and thank goodness it did.

“Tests revealed I was infertile. We believe a brain abscess from almost a decade earlier had left a permanent mark on my hormone levels and the ability to produce fertile sperm. Rather than be upset or angry, we found it a great relief. We had identified the problem and so now could deal with it.

“Over the next two years we underwent two rounds of IVF with donor sperm at a local NHS IVF clinic. But neither cycle led to a viable pregnancy. We were devastated, but we went into IVF knowing there would be highs and lows and so we pulled together, determined to achieve our dream of having a child.

For anyone experiencing problems, I would encourage both of you to undergo a fertility test, meet the team at Oxford Fertility and ask lots of questions. Get as much information as you can to make a decision. The team will help you with eyes wide open honest advice, they’re a brilliant bunch.

“Lucy conducted extensive research to find a clinic that would be right for us. After looking at success rates and attending open evenings, we decided to be treated this time at Oxford Fertility. The people were very professional and the facility itself is first class. As we walked through the doors, it immediately put us at ease.

“We were also able to attend most of our appointments at its Cheltenham clinic, which would make the whole process less stressful. We wouldn’t need to take time off work for each appointment.

“Once ready to move ahead, we underwent IVF with ICSI and donor sperm. We were given four donors to choose from who met our needs and we picked one who matched our characteristics well. The procedure went smoothly and to our joy Lucy became pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl, Josie. As part of the procedure we also had a number of viable embryos, which were frozen.

“We were so content and loved our family, but after a few years we realised that our remaining embryos, still frozen at Oxford Fertility, would soon be unable to be used due to the donor sperm consent conditions. So when Josie was four, we returned to the clinic to undergo embryo transfer and again were successful, this time with the arrival of twins, Freddie and Jessie.

I know that men don’t often talk about fertility problems. But it’s just as important to discuss our fertility as well as the woman’s – we lost a year by not doing so.

“I know that men don’t often talk about fertility problems. But it’s just as important to discuss our fertility as well as the woman’s – we lost a year by not doing so. I know it’s a cliché, but talking really does help. Like many men, I’m straightforward – we were clear we wanted children and once we knew what the problem was we could do something about it. Thanks to this, we now have three wonderful kids.

“For anyone experiencing problems, I would encourage both of you to undergo a fertility test, meet the team at Oxford Fertility and ask lots of questions. Get as much information as you can to make a decision. The team will help you with eyes wide open honest advice, they’re a brilliant bunch.”


If you’re worried about your fertility or are having problems conceiving, a fertility test may give you the answers you are looking for. Learn more about the tests we offer by visiting our fertility assessments page.