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Big Fat Festival Day

Putting IVF under the creative spotlight

Join us for our signature Big Fat Festival Day - a full day of performances, screenings, talks and panel discussions

The aim of this day is to create a community that travels through the experience together. With an amazing line-up of different artists and fertility experts and a few famous faces, some sessions run simultaneously and there is plenty to choose from and something on offer for everyone, whatever your fertility story.


Opening session: 10am -  11.15am
  • Modern Families

Morning sessions: 11.45am - 1pm

Choose from three events:

  • The Doctor in the Bedroom

  • The Invisible Man

  • When ART Doesn't Work

Afternoon sessions: 1.45pm - 3.30pm

Choose from two events

  • The Pursuit of Parenthood

  • The IVF Generation

Final sesson: 4pm - 5.15pm
  • Fertility Fight Club

Reception: 5pm
  • Celebrating the 21st birthday of the National Gamete Donation Trust (relaunching as SEED)

Throughout the day
  • An exclusive chance to watch a sneak preview of IF - the first ever VR film about infertility, directed by Dee Harvey & produced by Chi Thai

Friday 3 May 2019

The Pit, Cinema 1, Rehearsal Room

10am - 5.15pm

Tickets £20

With thanks to our principal clinic supporters:

Herts and Essex Fertility Centre colour.

Supported all day by our team of Fertility Fest Heroes: Sandra Bateman, Sheila Lamb

Opening Session

Opening Session 10am - 11.15am

Modern Families

What does a Modern Family look like and how is it made? Our celebrity panel are here to tell you with heartfelt honesty what they went through to make theirs!

  • Lisa Faulkner – Actress, MasterChef-winning cook and author of the new book Meant To Be – about her own very special modern family

  • Izzy Judd - Musician, best-selling author of Dare To Dream, wife to McFly’s Harry and mum to Lola and Kit

Our panel will be joined on stage by Fertility Experts James Nicopoullos, Clinical Director at Lister Fertility Clinic and David Ogutu, Medical Director of Herts & Essex Fertility Clinic.

Chaired by Natalie Silverman of The Fertility Podcast

“I met really interesting people. I learnt new things. I felt that 'fertility' stopped being a rather dark and difficult thing and that it became something which could be discussed in new and more positive ways.”

Big Fat Festival Day Attender 2018

Morning Sessions

Choose from three events

Morning Session 11.45am - 1pm

The Doctor in the Bedroom

No one would chose to make a baby in a laboratory. Would they? It’s hardly roses and candles. Is it? So what does it really feel like to have the doctor in your bedroom?

  • Artist Holly Slingsby will be presenting her performance to camera video installation Eostre Eats Eastradiol which is one of a series of her most recent work which explores the female body in relation to fertility myths and medicine.


  • Performance poet Kat Francois – winner of the World Slam championships – will be exploring the highs and lows, the laugher and tears, the fears and the triumphs that infertility and IVF has on a relationship.

The artists will be joined on stage for a discussion by two leading fertility professionals who spend their lives in the IVF bedroom of their patients – Dr Irfana Koita, Director of IVF Matters and Shaun Rogers, Senior Embryologist and Laboratory Manager, Gennet City Fertility.


Chaired by Kate Brian, Women’s Voices Leader at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)

Morning Session 11.45am - 1pm

The Invisible Man

It may be a man’s world, but not when it comes to infertility. For too long the male experience has been invisible. Traditionally the vast majority of tests and treatment have been focused on women. It’s been assumed that men have the ‘easy bit’ – all they need to do is go into a room with their favourite porn movie or magazine and wank! But is this really true? Come to this session and the male experience of infertility will never be invisible again.

  • Elis Matthews – The Rapping Reverend – will be (over)sharing about the lived experience of a man diagnosed with azoospermia and his unconventional route to parenthood.


  • Actor and Writer Rod Silvers will be talking about his short film England Expects which uses football as a metaphor for going through unsuccessful IVF, and his follow up play Terry and Jude which looks at the lives of two older, single, childless men.

The performers will be joined on stage for a discussion by two leading fertility experts of the ‘male experience’, Dr Benjamin Abramov, Medical Director, Gennet City Fertility and Jonathan Ramsay Consultant Urologist at Hammersmith & Charing Cross Hospital.


Chaired by Anya Sizer from Fertility Network UK.

Morning Session 11.45am - 1pm

When ART Doesn’t Work

IVF is a modern miracle – it’s given millions of people the families they dream of. But roughly two thirds of all treatment cycles fail and the emotional impact can be devastating whatever your outcome in the end.

  • Artists Faye Glen and Camilla Lyon will be presenting the beautiful work they’ve made out of the brutaility of going through unsuccessful IVF.


  • Faye knew from a very young age that getting pregnant would be hard and that she would need to turn to reproductive science to conceive. It’s impossible not to experience her arresting abstract work without seeing the fragility of the body and the pain she’s been through.


  • Camilla has used plant and geometric imagery -  inspired in part by her residency in the gardens of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge - to communicate the experience of attempting to grow life in a contrived context and the interplay between nature and the artifice of IVF.

The artists will be joined on stage for a discussion and Q&A by Dr Vidya Seshadri, Consultant Gynaecologist & Head of Clinical Research and Development at the Centre for Reproductive and Genetic Health Fertiltiy Clinic (CRGH) and Professor Jacky Boivin from the University of Cardiff School of Psychology, one of the leading reproductive psychologists in the world.

Chaired by Dr Zeynep Gurtin, Lecturer in Women’s Health at UCL.

“The feeling of community was palpable. I felt able to speak to anyone as I knew that there would be some form of shared experience. I made several connections and came away with some new friends.”

Big Fat Festival Day Attender 2018

Afternoon Sessions

Choose from two events

Afternoon Session 1.45pm - 3.30pm

The Pursuit of Parenthood

UK Premiere Screening of Anything You Lose, directed by Russian-born and American-based film director Irina Vodar.


An extraordinary story spanning seven years of cinema vérité surveillance, Anything You Lose is a remarkable new feature documentary focusing on the director’s personal journey through assisted reproduction resulting in a eye-opening study of the psychological effects of prolonged exposure to treatment and the innate human need to connect through time and generations.


Watch the trailer at anythingyoulose.com

After the screening, the film director will take part in a discussion with a panel of fertility experts including Debbie EvansDirector of Clinical Services at Herts & Essex Fertility Clinic and Sally Cheshire CBE, Chair of the Government Regulator the HFEA (the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority).

Chaired by Dr Zeynep Gurtin, Lecturer in Women’s Health at UCL.

Afternoon Session 1.45pm - 3.30pm

The IVF Generation

In 2018, IVF officially turned 40 – this incredible science and the people’s it’s helped (or not helped) have been in the news a lot. But what of the children? The IVF Generation. Does it matter any more if you were made in a laboratory? If you came from a Russian egg, a Norwegian sperm, had a Nepalese surrogate and British intended parents. What do you need to know and what do you have the right to know about where you came from? After all, you are who you are, and this is the 21st century.

  • Writer Lisa Parry and Director Zoe Waterman will be presenting an extract from their 2018 play 2023, which looks at what might happen when the first batch of donor conceived children turn 18 and can legally have access to their donor records following the introduction of the UK’s non-anonymity laws introduced in 2005.


  • And news writer and producer Louise McLoughlin, who was part of the UK’s first generation of donor conceived IVF babies born before the 2005 law was passed, will follow this by giving a talk on her search to find her biological family.

The artists will be joined on stage for a discussion with leading fertility clinician Carole Gilling Smith, Consultant Gynaecologist and Medical Director of Agora Clinic and Louise Brown - the world's first IVF baby.

Chaired by Kate Brian.

“Everyone was extremely welcoming and there was a friendly, open atmosphere. I instantly felt at home.”

Big Fat Festival Day Attender 2018

Final Session

Final Session 4pm - 5.15pm

Fertility Fight Club

The last session of our Big Fat Festival Day will be our signature Fertility Fight Club. Four speakers take to the stage for ten minutes each to tell us about something they feel passionate or angry about in the world of fertility, infertility, reproductive science and modern families. Our Fight Clubs are live-streamed on Facebook so if you can’t be with us in person, feel free to join us from the sofa from your own home (watch this space for links coming soon). With plenty of live and online discussion and debate. Roll up your sleeves and get ready to fight!

Fight Clubber 1: Michael Johnson Ellis

Fight Club Talk: Who's the Daddy?

Fight Clubber 2: Professor Susan Bewley

Fight Club Talk: Abuse in ART

Fight Clubber 3: Marisa Carnesky

Fight Club Talk: Reclaiming Menstruation

Fight Clubber 4: James D'Souza

Fight Club Talk: Men Have Feelings Too

Chaired by Natalie Silverman of The Fertility Podcast

Early Evening



At the end of our Big Fat Festival Day, Fertility Fest is delighted to be hosting a special reception to celebrate the National Gamete Donation Trust’s 21st Birthday and the charity’s rebrand and relaunch as SEED (The Sperm, Egg and Embryo Donation Trust).


You might also enjoy:


Open mic showcase of new and emerging work


A celebration for families made through donation and surrogacy and anyone thinking about this route to parenthood. Everyone in the family welcome!


Books To Love

The Pursuit of Motherhood & 21 Miles by Fertility Fest Founder Jessica Hepburn