‘41 minutes of television does more for male fertility than 40 years of debated research’

When Crackit Productions contacted me out of the blue in July last year, I was not impressed by their suggestion.  Their proposal seemed unlikely because they told me they were going to recruit three men and assess their fertility and then improve it by suggesting lifestyle changes.  The second part was plausible, but to find even one man, especially a celebrity, who was willing to expose ‘his fertility’ seemed to me to be unlikely – how wrong I was!

Typical of a doctor, ‘we always know best’(!)  I pointed out all the potential negatives.  How would we find them; what might we discover, which could be upsetting; and would the timeframe available produce the desired effects?  Perhaps my most important worry was whether I wanted to be associated with something populist over which I could have little control.  When they suggested that I might join in with the finale – naked swimming on Brighton beach – I was even more alarmed.  A naked urologist would not enhance my reputation and might even be a bit scary!

But in the event, this programme has exceeded all our expectations, with the possible exception of the scrotal massage!

With commentaries in the Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian, it is clear that this is an issue of universal importance and this programme will have done more for fertility in 41 minutes on television than my 100 or so publications about fertility over the last 40 years.

I therefore offer my thanks to all those who made this work.  Particularly, of course, the cast of three celebrities, but also to my co-conspirators, Dr Anand Patel and Melanie Brown.  Two people who gave of their time and scientific expertise, Claire Mooney of Fertility Solutions and Erica Foster, deserve a special mention for they did the scientific semen analysis assessments at the beginning and the end of the lifestyle changes.  Finally, I congratulate the production team at Crackit who have managed to compress many hours of filming into very compelling television with more than a little science and I think a very effective narrative demonstrating new horizons for all men wishing to start a family.