For many of those with fertility problems, social media has become a key source of information and support, but is that a good thing? There’s quite an interesting article in the British Medical Journal on the subject which you can find here (and you can sign up for a free trial for 14 days to access the whole thing).
It is written for medical professionals but is still of interest to patients – one of the points it raises is about concerns that social media may be used to offer “dangerous or unsuitable remedies”. It’s an interesting issue as I know how many times I delete what are apparently “comments” on this blog that are actually people advertising their businesses for fertility patients. One clinic overseas was attempting to post promotional comments on a daily basis at one point – personally, I’d be worried about any clinic that needed to advertise itself in that way (and just to reassure you, I’ve yet to come across anyone who has visited the country for treatment let alone the clinic). Having been an administrator for another fertility group online, I saw how often posts were reported and then deleted because they weren’t from fellow fertility patients but from people offering miracle cures or promoting their businesses.
Despite all this, I think social media can be incredibly helpful and can provide support that may be difficult to find elsewhere – particularly with a problem like fertility which it can be hard to talk about – and that the problems outweigh the negatives – but I’d be interested to know what you think too so feel free to post your comments (but beware, I will delete anything that is promotional…)
If you’ve got questions you’d like to ask a fertility specialist, you may want to join Infertility Network UK’s online chat session via Skype this Thursday titled ‘Ask a Consultant’.
This month’s guest speaker is Shipra Singh Krishna, Consultant Gynecologist. Shipra will address the most commonly asked questions before those joining the group have the opportunity to ask their own questions during a Q and A session.
The session begins at 7pm and all you have to do to join the group is email your Skype username to email@example.com
Infertility Network UK, the country’s support charity for anyone affected by fertility problems, is set for a change of name and logo! From mid-August, the charity will be Fertility Network rather than Infertility Network.
It’s a welcome change – the term “infertility” is no longer so widely used and in fact the majority of those experiencing difficulties getting pregnant are sub-fertile rather than truly infertile. The new name also reflects some of the wider interests of the charity, around campaigning for better fertility education for young people for example. Here’s a preview of the new logo and colour scheme! A new website will follow and will be launched in the Autumn at the Fertility Show.
Please read this brilliant piece for the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network written by Ridhi, one of Infertility Network UK’s volunteers, about how running a support group has helped her cope with her own fertility problems. Ride is an absolute star, runs a hugely popular group and has written a really honest and open piece which I hope may inspire other people to get involved – see here and if you want to volunteer for Infertility Network UK, you can find more details here
One of the things I do in my role as London Representative for Infertility Network UK is to organise get-togethers for patients at our London support group. Last night, we invited Lesley Pyne to come along to talk about coping strategies which was one of our most popular evenings to date.
Lesley taught us some techniques to help deal with difficult situations and there was a lively discussion with members of the group who had lots of questions about coping. Lesley explained how she had got through her own decision to give up fertility treatment and talked about the need to look after yourself, to allow yourself time to grieve and to seek help when you are finding things difficult.
You can find Lesley’s website, full of helpful advice, here and if you would like professional help from a counsellor, you can find a list of specialist fertility counsellors on the British Infertility Counselling Association website here.
We’re delighted that Lesley Pyne is coming along to the next Central London get together for Infertility Network UK on the evening of April 7th. Lesley, who works with women who are experiencing involuntary childlessness, will be sharing some of her advice and tips for coping and it promises to be a really helpful session.
These sessions are open to everyone and are completely free of charge, so if you’d like to come and join us, just email Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. You can find Lesley’s website at www.lesleypyne.co.uk
Having fertility problems when you are already a parent can be isolating as you may not feel able to access the existing support services for people who are trying to have their first child. Infertility Network UK is organising a get-together for parents who are experiencing problems getting pregnant in London next week. It’s an informal, friendly group and all are welcome – whether you got pregnant naturally or with treatment first time around.
For details, contact Kate – email@example.com
It’s one of the most difficult times of the year for anyone trying to conceive, and it’s here again. A day focused on celebrating motherhood is bound to be challenging for anyone who is longing for a family, but the time leading up to it can be the hardest part to deal with. It’s virtually impossible to escape Mother’s Day when every local shop has jumped on the commercial bandwagon and even the local supermarket seems to have decided to label anything you might possibly give to anyone else as a “Mother’s Day Gift”.
Mother’s Day can act as a horrible reinforcement of the sense of isolation and loneliness that you may feel as more and more of those around you seem to be pregnant or new parents. It can make you feel like an outsider whose life has become completely cut off form those around you.
If you know anyone else who is experiencing difficulties getting pregnant or who doesn’t have children, this can be the ideal time for meeting up with them. Getting together for a day out, a trip to the cinema or theatre or sharing a meal can be a good way of reminding yourself that you are not alone. This Thursday evening, March 3, there’s a get together for anyone experiencing fertility problems in Central London and if you’d like to come along and join us you’d be very welcome (for details, email firstname.lastname@example.org). On Sunday March 6 itself, you may be interested to know that Gateway Women’s Jody Day will be giving a live talk on BBC Radio’s Mother’s Day Service – you can find details here
However you decide to spend Sunday, remember that you are not alone. There are around 3.5 million people in the UK alone who are going through difficulties at any given time, and every one of them will be experiencing very similar feelings about Mother’s Day.
It’s not too late to sign up for Infertility Network UK’s new online support session this evening on managing stress and looking at mindfulness. The online meeting will take place this evening, Monday 29th February, between 8 and 9pm.
The guest speaker will be Hilary Knight, Infertility Network UK’s Support Group Co-ordinator in Northern Ireland. Hilary will discuss mindfulness and offer some practical tips on managing stress and the talk will be followed by a Q & A session. If you would like to attend the meeting, please email your Skype username to Hannah: email@example.com
If you’re interested in finding out more about adopting after fertility problems and live in or near London, you may want to come along to the next meeting of the Central London fertility group in Vauxhall on February 4th. We’ll be joined by a speaker from First 4 Adoption who will be giving a short talk about adoption and will then be around to answer any questions you may have. We will have time for our regular catch up and chat too.
This is open to everyone and is completely free – if you’d like more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The group is run, funded and organised by the charity Infertility Network UK.