Meet Our Trustees

Rachel Watson - Chair

I’m the current chair of the Board of Trustees for I N UK and have been on the Board for three years and the chair for eighteen months.  I have been a member of the charity for over ten years joining at the time I was diagnosed with an early menopause. I found I N UK to be the best source of information and I was really impressed with their personal approach and the determination of the organisation to do their absolute utmost for patients suffering with infertility. Having been through fertility treatment we were incredibly blessed to have our son. 

I decided that I wanted to contribute to I N UK in a practical way and applied to become a Board member.  My day job is running my own business, which I love, but equally I find working on the Board so incredibly rewarding. The team at I N UK are fantastic to work with and very committed. My work with the charity is so different to anything I have ever done before and it’s refreshing to escape the corporate world, to drop the corporate jargon (not sure I always manage that as Clare will testify!), and do something to make a difference in order to support those affected by infertility.


Melissa Asare

I was provided with information about I N UK by my clinic when undertaking my first cycle of IVF.   At a time when I felt so isolated, knowing there was support out there comforted me and I quickly became a member.  The advocacy provided by I N UK has helped me get through the darkest moments of treatment and by becoming a Trustee I can give back by lending my knowledge and experience of the voluntary sector and help build on the achievements already made by such a passionate and committed team.

I have worked in the public and voluntary sectors within children services for fifteen years as a frontline practitioner and as a senior manager.   My most recent post was with the NSPCC where I led on public policy initiatives and organisational management activities including strategic business planning, business development, performance management and impact evaluation.  I also directed the four nation professional conference programme bringing leading experts, policy makers and professionals together to improve outcomes for children.   Previous to this I worked within the youth justice sector holding responsibility for reducing the recidivism rates across Lewisham Borough.

I am committed in helping others through their infertility journey.


Liz Ascham

More To Life is an invaluable service for people who are involuntarily childless and becoming a member of MTL was a very positive step for me.  I've met a lot of lovely people, made some amazing friends and feel very supported by people who understand what it is like to be childless.  I was in my early 20s when I found out I couldn't have children of my own and the subsequent years were filled with very mixed emotions and experiences, including trying to have children through IVF. Sadly, it was unsuccessful and that's when I discovered MTL and Infertility Network UK. I decided to join the MTL steering group so that I could be more involved in decision making and also be in a position to give something back by representing other members' points of view. I have recently become the Chair of the MTL SG and a member of the Board of Trustees of I N UK and am looking forward to raising awareness of the charity and providing much needed help and support to people who are experiencing infertility, whatever the outcome. 

I started my career as a children's nurse (RSCN) at Great Ormond Street Hospital before my love of Spanish led me to take a BA (Honours) degree in Hispanic Studies at Sheffield University.  I now teach Spanish to children and adults of all ages which I thoroughly enjoy.

I love walking, like many of my friends in More To Life, so we spend a lot of time in the Peak District walking and talking and providing an understanding ear. The support is invaluable and I'll always be grateful to I N UK and More To life for helping me see the value of life without children.


Melissa Hillier

I have over ten years experience' of working within the voluntary sector in both communications and management positions. I am currently Assistant Director at a health charity working with families affected by genetic conditions, where I manage a variety of projects as well as being involved in the organisation's communications, policy and campaigning work. I have extensive experience of communicating with a variety of audiences involved in genetic healthcare, including patients and families, support group staff, health and social care professionals, industry representatives, academia and policy makers and I hope I can use this experience in my role as Trustee for I N UK.

I came across the work of I N UK through my professional life, but began using its services and support as a member when my husband and I encountered fertility issues.  Like many small charities, I am always impressed by the depth and breadth of work that is undertaken by such a small team and the enthusiasm shown to improve the services, information and support that families deserve.   Having been through the IVF process and used I N UK’s services, I hope that I am now able to give back to the organisation in a way that is helpful and supportive. 


Carol Hulley

I became a More To Life steering group member in January 2011 and feel passionate about improving access to support for anyone who is affected by involuntary childlessness.

My working background has been very much centred around health care. Having qualified as a nurse and midwife, I worked in the NHS for 25 years, predominantly as a midwife. Since then I have done a counselling course and an MA in public health. I currently do bereavement support work for the local hospice.

I feel honoured to be representing the members of MTL on the I N UK board. I have met many good friends through MTL and look forward to representing the needs of those whose journey through infertility has ended without children. I feel strongly about: promoting health, especially mental health; supporting people in need; ensuring people know where to go for support and can access it readily.

I love walking, especially in the hills and enjoy music of nearly all descriptions. My other hobbies include: playing in a wind ensemble, singing, travelling, gardening and eating!


 

Nicky Murray 

I have personally experienced the trials, tribulations and luckily, the immeasurable joy of conceiving twins through fertility treatment. At the time, I N UK did not exist and I know just how helpful such a charity would have been to us back then.  Now, as a Trustee of the charity, I hope to give back to others experiencing fertility challenges and to make a positive contribution in my personal capacity.

 
I currently run my own consulting business and have a depth and breadth of corporate experience, which I hope may prove useful and of benefit to I N UK. At the same time I am delighted to have the privilege of working alongside my fellow Trustees, all of whom have a combined wealth of knowledge and expertise. It is stimulating, challenging and rewarding to be a part of this charity’s future – life is precious and a new life miraculous! We look forward to hearing from you and heart-warmingly encourage you to engage with us.

 


Antonia Rodriguez

I am a qualified English solicitor working for a major oil and gas company and have spent many years working overseas in that time.  Upon my return to the UK, and having experienced fertility challenges as a couple, I was keen to get involved with the charity and to support it in its efforts to help those who everyday are undergoing their own challenges. In addition to legal skills, I bring to the Board a familiarity with the various aspects of a business, such as the planning cycle, financial and budgetary issues and general commercial matters.  And personally, I bring an empathy and real life experience of what it feels like to have to undergo fertility treatment, and to be on that journey trying for a family.

When we were going through our fertility challenges, the one thing that struck us the most was how little support and information there was out there shared with young men and women wanting to, or thinking of perhaps one day, having a family.  And yet suddenly, when diagnosed with fertility issues, we realised how common a problem it was, with one in six couples experiencing these challenges.  To our surprise, when we started to talk of our challenges, we were amazed at the number of people who came forward and shared their own stories and experiences. 

Organisations such as Infertility Network UK, therefore, play a vital role in supporting people wanting to create their own family, be it via either IVF or adoption, or deciding to lead a child-free life.  The opportunity to get involved with the organisation represents a very exciting prospect, and I hope one that can help to make the path of infertility easier for folk to manage.  To help remove some of the stigma that exists about talking about fertility issues, and to hopefully make the next generation of men and women better informed on this topic so as to prevent some of the avoidable cases of infertility.  It would make me very happy if GPs and practice nurses could be encouraged to speak more pro-actively with their patients on these topics.


  

 Sylvia Shearer

As a civil servant, I took early retirement as a Policy Analyst from the Scottish Government in August 2011. I worked closely with Ministers and colleagues in the Department of Health, Home Office and the Ministry of Defence and advised on a variety of policies such as managed migration in Scotland and various aspects of NHS provision of health care. As health is a devolved issue, I represented Scottish interests on a number of UK Committees.  In my last posting I headed up the Scottish Government’s policy unit on NHS maternity services and infant health. This included addressing inequality of NHS provision of infertility services in Scottish Health Boards. I had previously been responsible for blood policy, including the setting up of a public inquiry, chaired by Lord Penrose, into the acquisition of Hepatitis C from blood and blood products within the NHS in Scotland prior to the introduction of testing.  I also developed the flagship policy of the then, First Minister on managed migration, entitled “The Fresh Talent Initiative” to encourage more talented individuals to come and live and work in Scotland to support public services in a time when the demographics indicate further pressures are looming and also to increase economic activity within Scotland. In 1998 I obtained a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Napier University.  Upon retiring in 2011, I accepted the newly created voluntary post of Community Ambassador for Marie Curie Cancer Care for Edinburgh and the Lothians, and was also invited to join the Board of INUK .  I hope to continue to contribute to the strategic direction of these charities in these difficult and challenging times.  I also advise the recently formed Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Scottish charity (FAS Scotland) on the development of campaigns and policy strategies.