The Fertility Show goes to Manchester

the-fertility-show-london-logoIf you missed the Fertility Show in London at the weekend, you may be interested to know that there will be a second Fertility Show in Manchester for the first time this year. There will be the same wide range of seminars and exhibitors with lots of information and advice.

The Manchester Fertility Show will take place on March 25 and 26 in the Exchange Hall at the Manchester Central Convention Complex in Windmill St in Manchester. Tickets will go on sale in January 2017 and you can find out more on the Fertility Show website.

Finally, for those of you who came to my talk in London and are looking for the notes on my talk, I am hoping to put them up on the blog later this week so you will be able to find out all you need to know about choosing a fertility clinic!

Why it’s worth considering a support group

images-2Going along to a support group can seem a bit outdated when so much support is online now, but there is still a place for the old-fashioned way of getting together. The survey released for National Fertility Awareness Week by Fertility Network UK and Middlesex University found that just 17% of respondents had attended a support group, but more than half (52%) would have liked to attend one if they’d had the opportunity.

It isn’t easy to go along to a group for the first time, and the very idea of a “support group” can sound off-putting. I think people often imagine something terribly gloomy and it can take courage to take the first step and commit to going to a meeting. In fact, most people who do get as far as going to a group tend to find it incredibly helpful. There’s something very empowering about being with other people who understand what it’s like to experience fertility problems, to share experiences and to learn from one another. People are often surprised at how upbeat and cheerful the groups can be. Of course, there is sadness sometimes but there is also a lot of laughter and many friendships are forged.

If you have a group near you, why not give it a try – and if you don’t, maybe you could think about setting one up yourself? You don’t need any special training as a group can be a simple matter of arranging a get-together at a local cafe. Those who have done this in the past have found it to be incredibly rewarding at many levels – you may be interested in this article by Fertility Network UK volunteer Ridhi Sahi about her experiences and you can find out more about volunteering as a support group organiser here.

Fertility advice in Wales

Cmhc-LqWYAAWk88If you want to know more about fertility and live in Wales, you may be interested in a fertility information event organised by Fertility Network UK and sponsored by Darren Millar AM.

Held at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay on Saturday 19th November from 10.30am to 4pm, this free event will bring together fertility clinics, practitioners and support agencies from all over the UK and Europe.

There will be the opportunity to have an informal chat and to pick up information on clinical and donor treatment options; fertility counselling; alternative family options; male fertility and local support services

For more information please contact Alice  – alice@fertilitynetworkuk.org

Social media – is it helpful?

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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…)

Ask A Consultant

800px-Woman-typing-on-laptopIf 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 hannahtramaseur@infertilitynetworkuk.com

New name and logo for fertility charity

Cmhc-LqWYAAWk88Infertility 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.

How volunteering can help

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 

Support from Lesley Pyne

UnknownOne 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.

Come and hear Lesley Pyne!

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 katebrian@infertilitynetworkuk.com for more details. You can find Lesley’s website at www.lesleypyne.co.uk

Secondary infertility support

DownloadedFile-16Having 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 – katebrian@infertilitynetworkuk.com