The Canadian Fertility Show is preparing for it’s second annual event on 23 February 2019. The event focusses on couples in all stages of their fertility journey by bringing together professionals from as many different disciplines as possible with the aim of providing education and teaching across a wide range of fertility related topics.
There are three main mandates for the show:
1. To provide a safe and supportive event space where no matter where attendees are in their family journey they will be welcomed and supported
2. To bring together experts from across a broad range of professions and fertility support
3. To be trusted educational resource
Fertility concerns currently impact approximately 1 in 6 couples. Struggling with fertility has now been compared in terms of stress levels and severity to events such as divorce and death of loved ones. In Canada we have an advocacy and support group called Fertility Matters who will connect people with support groups and professionals in their area. Even with this resource in place, I have spoken to an overwhelming number of people who feel uncomfortable discussing topics surrounding fertility and feel they have limited or no support in their journey. I have heard comments such as “People who haven’t been through struggles with fertility just don’t understand” or “I am so stressed, and I have no one I can talk to”.
We received a wealth of positive feedback from last year’s attendees with comments ranging from “Thank you for providing such a caring environment” to “I had no idea so many resources existed, thank you so much for the connection”. We encourage attendance from heterosexual and same sex couples as well as single men or women who are considering parenting on their own to attend to allow them to best prepare for their individual journeys to parenthood.
With any health concern different professionals can have varying opinions on the best ways to approach treatment. Fertility concerns are no exception to this. There is no “one size fits all” approach to treatment for fertility so being able to provide a venue for attendees to access a multitude of fertility experts under one roof is a major asset.
This could potentially save someone countless hours of going internet surfing and travelling from clinic to clinic to better understand each professionals’ approach.
The Canadian Fertility Show brings together Fertility doctors, Doctors of traditional Chinese medicine, Naturopathic doctors, Nutritionists, Massage therapists, experts in egg and sperm donation and surrogacy as well as several other exhibitors with different areas of expertise. Several of these disciplines are often found working together in the same clinics while others will have differing opinions on how to approach different aspects of fertility concerns. In speaking with last year’s attendees, several made comments about not realizing that there were supportive services outside IVF clinics that were available options for them. Others were happy for a chance to speak to doctors at different clinics to be able to find a doctor that was a good fit for their concerns. It is also a great opportunity to have a chance to learn about new technologies and advancements in the field that may make the fertility journey easier. Some examples include advancements in genetic testing that can make choosing an embryo for transfer significantly easier, or endometrial receptivity testing that ensures that if you are doing an IVF cycle you are transferring your embryo on the optimal day to maximize the chance of implantation. There has also been a wealth of research in nutrients and vitamins, herbal medicines and acupuncture that can support quality of egg and sperm which will also be updated.
We were able to provide 18 educational lectures during the one-day event in 2018 on a wide range of topics. Some topics included the ins and outs of IVF, fertility law, optimal nutrition for fertility, optimizing sperm and egg health and some counselling sessions addressing the stress aspect and mind body connection of fertility concerns. Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive with attendees feeling that had received amazing value for their day spent at the show.
For the 2019 show our goal is to build on the encouraging words of attendees, speakers and exhibitors. We have several leading experts in the field of fertility joining us for a packed day of educational lectures. Dr Marjorie Dixon from Anova Fertility Clinic is an extremely well-versed Fertility expert who has graciously agreed to lecture at the show as well as coming on board as a platinum sponsor. Dr Dixon appears on national television on Cityline discussing a variety of women’s health and fertility concerns.
She will be giving 2 lectures this year giving an overview on the process of IVF and when in the fertility journey this should be considered. She will also be speaking on advances in embryo genetic screening and giving potential parents the ins and outs and understanding of when this type of technology would be recommended.
Medicine expert Mary Wong will also be lecturing and will be signing her book “Pathways to Pregnancy”.
Mary will be speaking on the role of acupuncture in the fertility journey both from a research standpoint as well as from a practical application. Dr Jennifer Fitzgerald ND will also be joining us again next year, speaking on recurrent miscarriage. The topic was identified at this year’s event as one which required further sharing. We acknowledge that it is an extremely sensitive and rarely spoken about topic and as such it can be difficult for women to get the answers they want which leads to more isolation. The emotional aspect is also extremely difficult as most women in my experience find it is a very difficult topic to share. When someone had experienced multiple miscarriages, it is very important to look at all aspects of health but there is also specific testing that is important to undergo.
Other lectures will cover the importance of both parties being in optimal health before conception to improve the chances of having a healthy baby. These can range from topics to naturally manage polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis to optimizing your diet and what supplementation can be helpful. There will also be a focus on ways to help improve the health of both egg and sperm.
Presenting a blend of lifestyle changes combined with up to date technology gives attendees access to the best of both aspects which can have a positive impact on fertility.
Feedback from fertility shows globally has suggested that they have become overly commercially driven. At the Canadian Fertility show we aim to provide high quality services and education without there being pressure put upon attendees to make purchasing decisions at the show. The focus is on providing a welcoming and supportive environment.
Attendees can access speakers, exhibitors and sponsors contact information during the show and also through our site before and afterwards. This gives people the opportunity to reach out when they are ready to have that particular service or support. Sponsors genuinely care about the outcomes for their patients and are looking to provide the best care they can. Sponsors understand that we are trying to provide great value for attendees and are supportive of keeping prices for attendees as affordable as possible and to include all the lectures in the admittance price.
As the main organizer of the show and a practicing Naturopathic doctor I have seen too many couples during my years of practice not be equipped with the information that would benefit them on various aspects surrounding fertility. This is one of the main driving forces behind organizing the show to help support couples in both the local community and across Canada.
Bringing awareness and compassion to people on their journey to parenthood whatever that looks like is the ultimate goal.
Author Dr. Jodie Peacock ND firstname.lastname@example.org or visit canadianfertilityshow.ca