Fertility families: ‘We wouldn’t be here’

DOZENS of children who ‘wouldn’t be here’ without the help of Jersey’s Assisted Reproduction Unit have been photographed alongside their parents for a moving new campaign to highlight the work of the facility.

Tiny Seeds Jersey photoshoot to raise awareness of infertility and the work of the Assisted Reproduction Unit. Picture Sophie Darwin photography 
 (29201781)
Tiny Seeds Jersey photoshoot to raise awareness of infertility and the work of the Assisted Reproduction Unit. Picture Sophie Darwin photography (29201781)

Taken by photographer Sophie Darwin in a shoot organised by former ARU patient and founder of Tiny Seeds Jersey Chloe Fosse, the images capture the families which, in many cases, were created following battles with infertility which went on for years.

Taken at Samarès Manor on 13 September, the photos form a new campaign ‘Wouldn’t Be Here’ designed to raise awareness of infertility and what many people go through to have a family. It also aims to thank ARU and demonstrate just how many children would not be here without its services.

The publication of the images comes as ARU is being redesigned pending the retirement of Jersey’s leading fertility specialist Neil MacLachlan, who has been running the service since its inception in 1992. Health is due to consult with Islanders, including patients past and present, about the future of the service soon.

Mr Maclachlan and some other ARU team members, past and present, also appear in the photos.

Among those featured in the campaign are couples with medical conditions which caused infertility problems, cancer survivors, those in same-sex relationships who required help from the beginning to start a family, some with unexplained infertility and those who eventually turned to a surrogate to become parents. Two of the families are now best friends, having been brought together by the shared experience of infertility treatment.

Throughout this week some of the families affected will share their personal stories, bravely captured in their own words, in the JEP.

One in eight couples are affected by infertility and last year, of the 880 babies born in the Island, 5.2% of them were born as a result of treatment with the ARU.

Mrs Fosse, who is aiming to raise awareness of infertility and help to reduce stigmas through her Instagram and Facebook accounts Tiny Seeds Jersey, said: ‘The response to the call out for the photoshoot was fantastic, with so many parents coming forward. Many of these people have been on long and difficult journeys to have their babies and it was lovely to come together and celebrate them all. It was also clear from speaking to the people there just how grateful they are to Neil and the team at the ARU for everything they do in helping people have a family.’

The images, a selection of which are printed on pages 16 and 17 today, will also be shared throughout this week on Ms Darwin’s social media and the Tiny Seeds Jersey accounts using the hashtag #wouldntbehere. Ms Darwin has previously worked on the Motherhood Campaign and World Breastfeeding week.

Covid guidelines were adhered to when taking the photos.

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