Local man Tony Suckling’s six-year struggle to become a father and the impact infertility has on men is his inspiration for tackling the gruelling challenge of climbing to Everest base camp, and he wants to give back to the charity Fertility Network who support everyone facing fertility struggles.
Tony, 41, who lives in northwest London, says: ‘I am doing the challenge to push my own boundaries and to face some of my fears, but mainly I’m doing it to get guys talking about fertility issues. It can be a lonely place until you realise there are people out there to talk to and I hope the coverage that comes from this epic challenge can help to get more people talking.’
‘I’m trekking to base camp Everest to support Fertility Network UK – people need support during their fertility journey. Everest will be a massive challenge for me as I don’t like heights and I don’t like flying, but it’s for an amazing cause.’
Tony and his wife started trying to become parents in 2016. As his wife was in her early 40s, they knew it could be more difficult to conceive. However, tests also showed Tony had a high levels of DNA fragmentation.
Sadly, IVF treatment has not yet been successful, and the couple have also experienced the heartache of early miscarriage after Tony’s wife became pregnant naturally in early 2019. Just before the Covid pandemic hit, the couple travelled to Spain for IVF and their one remaining embryo is still there, but the pandemic has meant they have been unable to travel back for an embryo transfer. ‘We are crossing our fingers that “she” is our miracle,’ says Tony.
Man with a mission
The many years facing infertility have had a deep impact. ‘I went into a really dark place. I felt completely emasculated. I ended up doing a blog, anonymously, just to get my thoughts down. I hadn’t told anybody – best friend, family, nobody. I needed to get it out. It became an incredibly lonely place. All you can think about is IVF,’ he says.
That all changed about 18months ago when Tony joined Fertility Network’s men-only support group, HIMfertility, which meets once a month online, and he realised there were others going through similar experiences to him. ‘These are normal guys with problems. We have conversations about anything and everything…. What did help me is talking and helping other people,’ he says.
You can donate to support Tony’s epic Everest challenge at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/everestforfertility2022?utm_term=bzmAPj7zw