Taking on Everest Base Camp for fertility

Taking On Everest Base Camp For Fertility

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Around 40% of infertility cases in couples are due to male factor infertility. And yet there’s still a big stigma around the topics – and men often struggle to find a space to talk about it. The guys from HIMfertility Support Group understand what it’s like to face fertility challenges and meet monthly to support each other on their sometimes rocky journey to fatherhood. But now they are facing another huge challenge – and are embarking on a whole other journey together. Where to? Mount Everest Base Camp.

In March 2022 a team of 15-20 men from the HIMfertility Support Group will climb to Everest  Base Camp, raising funds for Fertility Network UK along the way. Each man in the expedition has suffered due to male infertility, but not always as you’d expect.

Check out the guys’ stories and donate to the cause!

There are still places available on the base camp trip, if you’d like to join this amazing adventure please contact Ian for further details.


Meet the team


Ian Stones

Ian Stones

Ian is a leading fertility and wellness expert with extensive experience in supporting couples through their fertility journey. He is especially passionate about offering support to men and raising awareness of male fertility issues.

Ian co-hosts Fertility Network UK’s monthly male fertility support group, which has proved incredibly popular and is breaking down the barriers and stigma around male fertility. 

The Everest challenge was Ian’s slightly crazy idea, however, he’s super excited to be doing something that is getting people’s attention about male fertility whilst also raising money for FNUK. 

You can donate to Ian’s fundraising pot here 


Aaron Sutton

Aaron Sutton

“I’m Aaron, a 42yr old married man. I’m a keen trail runner, so when this challenge was first suggested I was up for it right from the start. It’s a part of the world I’ve always to see and can’t wait to get up into those mountains. I’ve always aimed for the hills on my trail runs too as it’s here that I have found the time and space to reflect of life’s challenges. To gain some perspective and to be immersed in places that can’t fail to provide a sense of awe. So with Everest, the thing I am most looking forward to is the grandeur of the views and breath-taking scenery; I’m just hoping that the smell of 12 unwashed men isn’t too much to bear!

The reason I am supporting Fertility Network UK is that my own fertility journey ended childless over 10 years ago. It was only last year that I allowed myself to reflect on the impact that childlessness had on me. Whilst documenting this on my social media accounts I became aware of the stories of other men in the midst of fertility treatment and could see the same service failures that I felt existed a decade earlier, this in turn got me linked into Fertility Network UK and the start of a male-only online support group.

Over the last 10 years, and through the stories of others, I have seen the trauma caused by poor service. Particularly for men, I have seen the way that the pursuit of parenthood can become all consuming to the point that relationships fail. I have seen how the ability for men to talk about this topic has been shied away from. That’s why I’m supporting Fertility Network UK who continue to offer hope to others that there is a worthwhile life after failed fertility.

You can donate to Aaron here


Tony Suckling

Tony Suckling

“We started our fertility journey in 2016, four years after getting married. Nothing was happening so we went in search of help. After two failed IVF cycles and a natural miscarriage I was a broken man. I used this negative energy and turned it on its head, starting my own website and Instagram account to talk to and support other people who are struggling. We are currently waiting to get back to Spain to continue our 3rd IVF cycle.

I want to really give something back to the fertility community that has helped both my wife and I so much over the last few years. The Everest challenge really shouted out to me. Raising awareness of male infertility issues is something I feel very strongly about as I really struggled at the start of my journey.

I’m slightly scared of flying and heights, so this will be a real challenge for me. But this will help me prove to myself that anything is possible!”

You can donate to Tony here 


Jamie Lord

Jamie Lord

“My name is Jamie Lord and I am a 32 year old engineer.

My wife and I started trying for a baby in 2016. When she still didn’t fall pregnant nearly two years later we contacted our GP. After some tests, we were told the devastating news that we would be unable to conceive naturally. The only way if we wanted to have a child would be through IVF. This was due to male factor infertility. 

This was an extremely difficult time for me. I felt very alone because this is not something people speak about, especially men. I wish I had known about the male support group when I was going through this. It would have helped my mental health greatly.

We started the IVF process in early 2018, after numerous tests we were able to have ICSI in October 2018. Due to further complications my wife was unable to have an embryo transferred then, so we had to freeze them.

In February 2019, my wife had a Frozen Embryo Transfer. We were extremely lucky to have a successful pregnancy, and the birth of our son in October 2019.  

I have had a few group meetings on Zoom with the rest of the guys on the trip. I am very excited to be climbing with such a great group of guys. 

The thought of even being in the same country as Mt Everest let alone actually climbing part of it really excites me. I have been training since the beginning of Feb and have been doing 2 to 3 runs per week. But I don’t think this is going to fully prepare me for what’s to come. 

My job takes me all over the world and many flights. However, I am terrified of flying. The terrifying flight into Lukla airport is what scares me the most. The part I look forward to the most is spending time with the great guys on my trek and hearing their stories.”

You can donate to Jamie here  


Ciaran Hannington

“My wife and I always knew we may need some kind of intervention for us to have children due to my wife suffering from Polycystic Ovaries. It came as a complete shock to both of us when during routine tests it was discovered I had a low sperm count, morphology and motility. 

Initially, I was in denial, I was convinced that the doctors had it wrong and that I couldn’t possibly have fertility issues. However, after several rounds of ICSI it began to dawn on me that I was the cause of our issues. This came with a heavy burden. 

Over time I became more depressed and my mental health deteriorated. I fell hard! I looked for support networks but there were none. Despite my fertility journey now being over, I want to use my own experiences to raise awareness of male infertility. To show other men that it is ok to talk about it as well as give support to those that need it. 

The #basecampforfertility challenge is giving all involved a fantastic platform to raise awareness and highlight the importance of talking and addressing male infertility.

As an avid mountaineer in my younger years, I never got to visit the Himalayas. I’m looking forward to the views and looking up at the highest mountain in the world. On the flip side though, two and a bit weeks away from my family is going to be tough. It will be the longest time I have been away from them ever and will be a true challenge.”

You can donate to Ciaran here

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Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.


Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.


Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.


Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.


There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  


A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.


Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.