Fertility, Infertility & Assisted Reproduction: Routes to Parenthood
the MAC

What do you know about fertility? What about infertility? What are your options if you want to become pregnant or be a parent?


Fertility, Infertility & Assisted Reproduction: Routes to Parenthood

In the UK, access to IVF and assisted reproduction isn’t the same for everyone. Age, circumstance, relationship status, and income will all play a part. Additionally, but perhaps unsurprisingly, Northern Irish provision is far below that of the rest of the UK.

Join writer, actor and comedian, Diona Doherty, writer and broadcaster, Laura Barton, Director of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Clare Murphy, as well as Jessica Hepburn, one of the UK’s leading voices on fertility, and Ciaran Moynagh, human rights and family lawyer, as they combine lived experience and expertise to discuss fertility, infertility and assisted reproduction, looking beyond the clickbait headlines and confusing statistics at the reality, politics and economics of IVF, surrogacy, and routes to parenthood.

Lynette Fay, award-winning presenter and producer, chaired this discussion.

About the speakers

CLARE MURPHY, Director, British Pregnancy Advisory Service

Clare Murphy has been the Chief Executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) since December 2020. BPAS is a charity which sees almost 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception at clinics across Britain. Later this year, BPAS will be launching a not-for-profit fertility service to provide ethical, evidence-based, person-centred care that supports patients. They intend to only charge what it costs to provide a safe, high-quality, and accessible service, while also continuing to campaign for NHS-funded treatment to be available across the UK.

Clare joined BPAS from the BBC 10 years ago, and prior to her appointment as CEO, she was a Deputy Chief Executive and oversaw the development of BPAS’ highly successful advocacy and campaigning activities, including the expansion of its remit to champion women’s rights across the reproductive spectrum – from contraceptive decisions to choices around birth.


Jessica Hepburn is one of the UK’s leading voices on fertility. She is the author of two books - The Pursuit of Motherhood and 21 Miles: swimming in search of the meaning of motherhood; Founder of Fertility Fest, the world’s first arts festival dedicated to fertility; and Content Director for The Fertility Show - the UK’s largest patient event.

She has also been a trustee of the national charity Fertility Network UK; a patient adviser to the HFEA, the government’s regulator of fertility treatment; and a leading member of the Fertility Education Initiative. In 2018 she was nominated as one of Amnesty International’s ‘Women of Suffragette Spirit’ and won the Fertility Foundation’s inaugural Fertility Hero award for her role as a fertility patient advocate.


Actor, writer and stand-up comedian, Diona Doherty’s TV performance credits include ‘Derry Girls’, ‘Soft Border Patrol’, ‘Give My Head Peace’, ‘Penance’ and ‘The Break’. She has also written upcoming short film ‘Shit Stepmum’ for the BBC iPlayer as well as an episode of BBC radio comedy ‘What Happens In Ulster’ and can currently be seen as a panellist on ‘The Blame Game’ and regularly on radio comedy ‘A Perforated Ulster’. Diona is currently pregnant with her first child through a successful IVF round that she did in the Czech Republic.


Laura Barton is a writer and broadcaster. A feature writer and music columnist for the Guardian for more than a decade, she now writes for a variety of publications including the Guardian, the Observer, the New York Times, 1843 magazine, the Telegraph and the Financial Times. She is also a contributing editor at Q magazine.

In 2010 she published a novel, Twenty-One Locks, which received a Betty Trask Award. She is a regular contributor to Radio 4 and Radio 3, for whom she has written and presented documentaries on subjects as diverse as the musicians Abner Jay and Karen Dalton, the allure of the tomboy, the role of silence in Shakespeare, and a three-part examination of confidence.

Her series on music and landscape, Laura Barton’s Notes From a Musical Island, has now run for three seasons on Radio 4. She speaks regularly at festivals and universities, and since 2018 has curated the literary stage at Green Man festival. She also moonlights in A&R for a music publishing company and has signed some of contemporary music’s most sought-after acts. She has recently worked with acclaimed photographer Sarah Lee on West by West, a photographic exploration of the edge of America at the end of Route 66 and Santa Monica Pier, and is now working on her next book, Sad Songs, which will be published by Quercus in 2022.

She has written movingly about her solo IVF journey in the middle of the pandemic.


Ciaran Moynagh is a solicitor advocate and partner in Phoenix Law practising in Northern Ireland and England & Wales. He specialises in the area of equality, human rights and family law. He has a reputation in the area of judicial review and has been involved in significant legal challenges on issues such as same sex marriage, protection of sex workers, trans rights and access to funded fertility treatment for same sex couples. Ciaran regularly appears across all court tiers in complex family law matters to include international surrogacy arrangements, child abduction, parent alienation, contact and residence disputes and cases where issues arise from private donor arrangements that are outside the scope of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology legislation. Ciaran is an expert in surrogacy and a member of the NI Fertility Network and a Trustee of The Rainbow Project.


Lynette Fay is an award-winning presenter and producer, working in television and radio most recently with BBC Radio Ulster and The Lynette Fay Show. Lynette will chair this discussion.

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