Rhod Gilbert: Stand Up to Infertility – 31 January 2021 – 31/1/2021 – Sunday – BBC Two
Comedian Rhod Gilbert goes where no man wants to go: on a deep dive into the causes and the traumas of male infertility. It’s a topic close to his heart – Rhod and his wife Sian are trying to conceive. While Sian is struggling with endometriosis, Rhod was unpleasantly surprised to discover he has a low sperm count – ‘senile swimmers in need of zimmers’, as he puts it.
Shocked to discover around 50% of all fertility issues are male, Rhod sets out to discover why nobody seems to be addressing this. What he finds is that the £400 million a year UK fertility business is aimed almost exclusively at women, and the fact that men don’t want to talk about infertility is doing just as much harm as the condition itself.
In this emotional and entertaining documentary, shot through with his acerbic humour, Rhod meets writer and performance poet Benjamin Zephaniah who describes his own agonies when he discovered he couldn’t have children. Rhod also meets a man whose wife had eight years of treatment before they discovered that he was the one with the fertility issues. At a fertility convention with over 100 exhibitors, he tracks down just one stand dedicated to men and is told ‘21st century living is not good for sperm.’
Astonished to discover there are no male fertility self-help groups, Rhod starts one of his own and manages to attract a grand total of seven men to the first meeting. Determined to start a Movember-style movement dedicated to male fertility issues, he somehow finds himself fronting a launch complete with banners declaring him the face of infertility. ‘This was not what I had in mind when I got into comedy,’ he admits ruefully.
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