EastEnders’s Kellie Shirley speaks out: “Why is infertility still seen as the woman's problem?”

Sex & Relationships

EastEnders’s Kellie Shirley speaks out: “Why is infertility still seen as the woman's problem?”

Kellie has opened up about her view on infertility and how the media focuses only on women

Kellie Shirley – known for playing Carly Wicks in BBC soap EastEnders – reveals:

"Yet another 'fertility warning!' headline screams to all women who dare to reach their 30's - this time from a well-known online newspaper's health section...

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, we GET it, as soon as you hit the big 3-0 we should down that Prosecco, find the nearest available bloke with a full set of teeth and then quickly rub ourselves up against them - before it's all too late... Well, that's what I did anyway.

"Infertility, it seems, is pretty much still perceived as a female issue. To confirm this I start googling; a heap of well known female faces beam back at me from Kim Kardashian, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Courtney Cox, Emma Thompson to Katie Price all talking openly about their various fertility treatments, egg freezing, diet fads, sperm donors, adoption, resulting in both successes and the inevitable heartaches that come with it.

"There seems to be something missing here though... the MEN.

"It definitely still requires a sperm to accompany the egg (I'd love to know Kanye's side of the story or a rap at the very least).

"We all know that with each year we clock up, with trying to have a career/life/find Mr Right, your egg count goes down.

"My friend recently sent me a brilliant picture of piece called Timeless by Liminal Space from the recent Wellcome Collection exhibition - which sort of blew my mind, and blimey, puts it all into perspective - both amazing and a bit scary.

"Although, yes it's a great picture, it's yet again the woman being examined.

"What about the quality of the sperm, which also decreases as a male, gets older? There doesn't seem to be a statue of a withered c--- and balls, standing not so proudly on a plinth or many men's magazines with the same headlines splashed all over them.. So much for equality.

"I now know that despite a somewhat dodgy sex education: putting condoms on bananas, thinking back then you only had to look at a cock (or a banana) to get pregnant, becoming a fully fledged s--- and probably end up with vaginal warts..

"This is not so, as statistics reckon one in six couples will have trouble conceiving (that's not including any single or same sex couples seeking fertility treatment); meaning now 3% of babies born here in the UK are done so by IVF.

"But you have to be quick, as soon as you head closer to 40 the NHS will not consider you for treatment = dig deep.

"Further googling, I find the Fertility Fest - where there's a play, written by a man. A man who I know. (The lovely Gareth Farr).

"Although it's not autobiographical it IS based on his own personal experience after being told at the age of 32 of "unexplained infertility". Together with his wife Gabby they started a lengthy IVF roller coaster of multiple rounds of treatment, injections, miscarriages, a random ectopic pregnancy - and finally in November 2014 the birth of non identical beautiful twin girls.

"So there you have it. How refreshing to have a Male POV for a change.

"The Quiet House opens 8th June at the Park Theatre, Finsbury, London. Grab a ticket, an industrial sized bag of Maltesers and a huge box of tissues."

Fertility Fest will be held Saturday 28 May 2016 in Birmingham and Saturday 11 June in London.

The London Women's Clinic support group is for LWC patients and non-patients who find themselves trying to cope with the demands of fertility treatment. For more information go to their website.

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