Why Train As A Specialist Fertility Counsellor

Why Do The NFS Advanced Specialist Fertility Diploma?

According to NHS statistics, about one in six couples may experience difficulties when trying to conceive, which means that around 3,500,000 are affected by the condition in UK.

Ovulation is vital to pregnancy, and without the monthly release of an egg there will be nothing for the male sperm to combine with. Failure to ovulate for whatever reason, is one of the most common causes of infertility and can occur as a result of a number of conditions:

Female Infertility

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
This is a condition that often inhibits the ovaries from producing an egg.

Early menopause (POI)
A women’s ovaries stop working before she reaches the age of 40.

Thyroid problems
An underactive or overactive thyroid gland can prevent the occurrence of ovulation.

Chronic long-term illness
Some women who suffer from long term chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer or kidney

failure may not ovulate.

Problems with the womb or fallopian tubes

The fallopian tubes are essentially the pathway from the ovary to the womb, along which the egg travels whilst being fertilised along the way. When the egg reaches the end of its journey down the fallopian tubes, it is then implanted into the lining of the womb where it then grows and matures into a baby.

However, if either the fallopian tubes or the womb are damaged, or indeed if they stop working, it may then become very difficult to conceive.

Damage to the fallopian tubes or the womb can be caused by a number of factors. For example, pelvic surgery can sometimes scar the fallopian tubes, whilst cervical surgery can result in a shortening of the cervix (neck of the womb).

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

This is an infection which occurs in areas including the fallopian tubes, womb and ovaries and is usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The disease can damage and scar the fallopian tubes, thus meaning the egg is unable to travel into the womb.


Endometriosis is a condition in which minute pieces of the womb lining begin to grow in other places, such as in the ovaries for example.

The growth of this sticky tissue or cysts can lead to blockages and misshaping of the pelvis and can also distort the way in which the follicle releases the egg. 

Male infertility

For men, the most common cause of infertility is abnormal semen, accounting for 75% of all male infertility cases.

There are a number of explanations for abnormal male semen, some of which can be found listed below:

Low sperm count

Some men have a very low number of sperm, or in some cases they have none at all.

Low sperm mobility

This is where the sperm has difficulty making its way to the egg.

Abnormal sperm

In some cases, sperm may be an abnormal shape which makes it difficult for them to swim to the egg and fertilise it.

Factors affecting both sexes


Unfortunately age works against us if we are looking to conceive, and as we age our fertility begins to reduce.

According to statistics, the biggest drop in fertility levels occurs during our mid-thirties. For women who are aged 35, 95% will fall pregnant within three years of having regular unprotected sex. For women who are 38 however, this figure falls to 75%. Whilst fewer statistics exist with regards to male age and fertility, it is thought that men over the age of 35 are half as likely to achieve conception in comparison to men younger than 25.


Stress is a multi-faceted aspect of conception. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that stress does in fact have a direct impact upon fertility – limiting the production of sperm in men, whilst also affecting ovulation within females.

In addition, many experts are also warning couples attempting to conceive about the indirect impact of stress. Work stress for example, may have an effect upon partner relations, which can in turn lead to a reduction in libido which then leads to a reduced frequency of intercourse.

In addition, for couples who are desperately willing themselves to conceive, there is certainly a temptation to become an expert in the menstrual cycle, working out exactly when ovulation is occurring, keeping pregnancy tests stock piled in the bathroom and having sex like it is a military operation. To either one partner, or both, making love may begin to simply feel like a routine, and subsequently resentment and stress may set in.


Being outside of a healthy weight range can seriously impact fertility. Women who are overweight or severely underweight for example, will often find that their ovulation is affected, or in some cases it may stop entirely.

The Fertility Counsellor

When someone seeks the support of a Fertility Counsellor it is important that the Counsellor understands what the patient might be feeling. When someone has been trying for a baby for some time and their doctor starts them on their journey of fertility tests, for the patients it’s waiting for the next step, hospital letter, see the consultants, blood test, sperm test, scans and then their appointment to see if they need to have IVF, is it unexplained IVF or do they need donor eggs or sperm? Or even donor embryo? Is there something wrong with the womb? Is a surrogate needed?

You can see why it is important that the Counsellor is specialised within the fertility area this Diploma Course will give you the knowledge that you need to help and support you patients, it will also give you the knowledge of the Implications of using donor gametes to achieve a pregnancy.

The diploma course is held over 2 weekends, 6 weeks apart, with blended learning between.  A total of 50 hours with a diploma qualification within fertility counselling that meets the HFEA regulation guidelines.

Continuing Professional Development