The Big Fertility Project: Our story so far. - Matt Prior `
Dr Matthew Prior

Matt Prior

The Big Fertility Project: Our story so far.

Many of you know I’m frustrated by the lack of high quality impartial evidence-based information for people with fertility problems.

The internet is full of uninspiring clinical information written by fertility experts but often dry or technical and not engaging. The commercialisation of fertility has resulted in biased information more focused on marketing to patients rather than providing true value.

Many patients share their own facility experience on blogs, and even create social media accounts to document their journey. While this is a valuable support mechanism for other patients, it’s not the best place to source information about your own personal fertility. Then there is the traditional media—they just sensationalise.

The plan

I set up the Big Fertility Project over a year ago. The idea was simple–patients and professionals work together to create high-quality, engaging, evidence-based information about fertility.

Our emotional journey

I was at the start of an emotional journey (see diagram)–full of uninformed optimism. I made a fancy website, wrote a few sample articles and made contact with many people including patients, professionals and medical students. Some of whom contributed for which I am truly grateful.

The response from everyone I spoke to was brilliant and hugely supportive. People I spoke to introduced me to others and my network grew. My team got bigger, and we published a few articles on the website but had ideas for hundreds more. The task ahead of us was huge and daunting and we started to enter the valley of despair.

Then I met Sofia, a medical student and Healthcare Leadership Academy scholar. She too, believed in the project and had a creative talent. To build momentum, we changed focus to write articles featuring patient stories– think Humans of New York meets NHS choices. Articles would be focused on a patient story and we would provide expert commentary and infographics. We created a beautiful story about Rosy, a woman with adenomyosis. This took much longer than expected, and we came into difficulties when trying to replicate this process.

Valley of despair

Creating stories involved finding a patient, getting their story, editing, designing infographics, finding an expert to comment, providing feedback and so on. The process was overly complex and we ground to a halt. We were at the bottom of the valley of despair.

Over the next few months, we tried and failed to get more stories. We could have quit, but I still believed that collaboration can work.

After some thought, we decided to further simplify the project. We have stopped creating articles for the website (for now), and moved the entire concept to Instagram. We will create snippets of stories and high-quality information to share with patients and professionals. This platform will also allow us to engage better with our audience.

For the last few months, we have been creating content for posts which are ready to launch. These include quotes, useful statistics, infographics, diagrams, how-to guides, and of course, feature patient stories.

How can you help?

We are nearly ready to launch, but before we do we are ready to ask for your help and on-going support.

When we launch we would like to run a series of posts featuring people like you.

Please could you send us a short quote or caption about why fertility is important to you, or a piece of sound advice you offer to people with fertility problems. It would also be nice to have a  high-quality photograph to accompany the quote, and your social media handle to acknowledge you in the post.

This is what a finished post will look like.

If you want to get involved, please contact me at

June 13, 2020 | @DrMattPrior