Are you coming to the Fertility Show this weekend?

header_510_graphicIt’s not too late to get tickets if you are interested in coming along to the Fertility Show this weekend at London’s Olympia – and if you register at Infertility Network UK, which is completely free, you can get a discount on your entrance.

It’s a huge event, and can be rather overwhelming, but what it does present is a unique opportunity to hear some of the country’s leading experts in the field talking about their subject – there’s Dr Allan Pacey on male fertility, Sam Abdalla of the Lister Fertility Clinic on treating women with reduced ovarian reserve and his colleage James Nicopoullos on fertility testing,  Yacoub Khalaf of Guy’s and St Thomas’ on improving the odds of IVF working for you and his colleague Tarek El-Touhky on treatment for older women, Professor Lesley Regan of St Mary’s Hospital will talk about dealing with recurrent miscarriage, Lord Winston will discuss how to deal with a diagnosis of unexplained infertility, Stuart Lavery of IVF Hammersmith is talking about fertility basics and Zita West will cover nutrition and complementary therapies. If you want to find out about any aspect of fertility or treatment, you will find a seminar that will be useful in a schedule of more than fifty different talks from leading experts.

There are also the exhibition stands covering many different aspects of fertility. A number of UK clinics are represented – the Bourn Hall chain of clinics, the fourteen clinics in the CARE fertility chain which now cover many areas of the UK, City Fertility, Create, Guy’s Assisted Conception Unit, Herts and Essex Fertility Centre, Homerton, IVF Hammersmith, King’s College Hospital ACU, the Lister, London Fertility Centre, Newlife and Poundbury Fertility. There are also clinics from across the world, along with complementary therapists, charities and support organisations. This year for the first time the British Fertility Society will have a stand representing the professional bodies involved in fertility, and this is a very welcome development.

The Fertility Show is sometimes criticised for laying bare the commercialisation of the fertility industry, but I think it is most helpful to approach the two-day event understanding that there may well be things that aren’t for you and that you will need to sift out what is most helpful for your individual situation. Look at the list of exhibitors and think about which you might want to make time for.

One often overlooked aspect of the Fertility Show is the sheer numbers of people who come through the doors – there is something very positive to be gained from being with so many other people who are going through similar experiences and who understand how you are feeling. The fact that there are 3.5 million people at any given time in the UK experiencing fertility problems is something that it can be hard to believe if you are feeling isolated and lonely – but being in one place with so many other people who are struggling to conceive can feel unexpectedly empowering.

Coping with Christmas

images-1If you’re finding the build-up to Christmas hard going, you may find it helpful to go along to the next meeting of Fertility Circle in London next week where the evening will be devoted to the subject with tips and advice from a qualified fertility counsellor.

Fertility Circle is open to anyone who is having fertility problems and is hosted by the London Fertility Centre in Harley Street.  For more details, click here 

Linking up with others and getting support – NIAW day three

I was really pleased to hear that the fertility support group at Complete Fertility in Southampton had a successful launch this week, and am looking forward to hearing about the new group in Fulham starting tonight – and the other new groups starting around National Infertility Awareness WeekDownloadedFile-16 too – there’s the St George’s West London group, the Fertility Circle at London Fertility Centre and the secondary infertility group for those who are already parents too.

Some of the groups I’ve been to in the past have been hugely successful – others have been quieter – and they do seem to go in peaks and troughs.  It made me think about the whole idea of support groups, and whether it’s the name that puts some people off?  Would you be more likely to go along to something that was a talk on a specific fertility-related topic with the opportunity to chat to others at the same time?  Or would a more casual coffee morning type event be more attractive than an actual group?

I think sometimes people imagine support groups being slightly alarming – but in fact they are quite laid back affairs where people have an opportunity to get together with others who are going through similar experiences and to talk about how they’ve been getting on. It’s not the same as talking to friends or family because these are other people who genuinely understand where you’re coming from because they’re in exactly the same place.

I’d be interested in your thoughts though – would you be more willing to go to something that wasn’t called a “support group”?  And if so, what sort of event would interest you?

New fertility support groups

NIAWLOGOSMALLThere are a range of new fertility support groups launching in London and the South East in the next few weeks – many inspired by National Infertility Awareness Week.

On Monday 28 November, Complete Fertility in Southampton will be launching their first fertility support group, and on the same day the first ever group specially for those experiencing secondary infertility will be starting in Central London.

On Wednesday 30 a group for those living in South West London and the surrounding area will be starting in Fulham.

The London Fertility Centre will be launching their Fertility Circle on November 14 – a group which is open to everyone, not just those having treatment at the centre.

And finally, a new group will be starting on November 20 at St George’s Campden Hill in Kensington. The St George’s West London Group is based in the church, but is a secular group open to all with an optional meditation and prayer session before the group begins.