The fertility world is an ever-changing beast!
Recently I attended the online ‘All About Fertility Expo 2021 to keep myself up-to-date with new initiatives and approaches. It was an amazing event with some validating moments for the work we are doing at Mindful Moments by Therese Sheedy and with the MindBody Program for Fertility.
Let’s face it, there’s a LOT of jargon in the fertility world – lots of big words and medical terms that can cause anxiety and confusion for most people. Thankfully the speakers at the Expo were carefully chosen their content was jargon-free. Phew!
I especially loved the speakers in the allied and complementary health areas, I truly believe there needs to be more work in this area to highlight the science behind these treatment areas.
Infertility is one of the most stressful issues a woman or couple can face is no secret, right!
The trauma impact infertility has on women and couples – for me as a psychologist – is one of the drivers in my work to help women unlock their fertility.
While the Expo was packed with amazing speakers, there were a couple that really stood out for me, here are my faves:
IVF Australia – A/Prof Peter Illingworth – Medical Director
What I loved – he spoke clearly and informatively. The content was easy to understand and apply. I was impressed by the number of times he spoke about the emotional toll of IVF – so refreshing.
My validating moments – he spoke of the heartache of failed cycles and noted this emotional response lasts longer than any physical impact of treatment and he recognised the need for help and support with this. This is backed by research that suggests women withdraw from treatment due to stress. (ref: Rooney, K.L. & Domar, A. D., The Impact of Stress on Fertility Treatment, Obstetrics and Gynaecology: June 2016 – Volume 28 – Issue 3 – p 198-201)
Resources/support – If you haven’t seen it yet do yourself a favour and check out yourivfsuccess.com.au – this is an initiative from the Australian Government to support women and couples through their fertility journey. If you’re confused about success rates quoted by different clinics start here – it’s a wealth of knowledge for anyone considering ART (Artificial Reproductive Technology).
Belinda Kirkpatrick & Amy Forth
What I loved Belinda is a naturopath/nutritionist and Amy an acupuncturist/herbalist and they spoke about using an integrative approach to infertility and IVF. They both spoke about the impact of stress and how it affects how the body absorbs nutrition and overall gut health. This work is a focus of the MindBody Program for Fertility – through the program we focus on lowering the stress response and increasing a relaxation response.
My validating moments – stay with me here – there’s a few. Fertility support – in the past this has largely been limited to acupuncture and naturopathy, however there is very clear evidence there’s a role for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness and meditation in changing and supporting a woman’s fertility journey.
Sleep – and in particular its direct impact on egg quality. Meditation, mindfulness and cognitive strategies dramatically improve sleep quality and as a result the ability to cope day to day.
Food and exercise – these factors were noted through the session as shutting down essential functioning of the body.
Resources – The Treatment Of Depression and Anxiety In Infertile Women: cognitive behavioral therapy versus fluoxetine
Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on fertility quality of life and pregnancy rates among women subjected to first in vitro fertilization treatment. Behaviour Research and Therapy
While these were some of my favourite sessions, I was impressed by all of the presentations at the Expo. I have reached out to the Expo to present at their next Expo to add to the growing understanding about infertility – it’s impacts on the physical and emotional wellbeing of women – and also about how the MindBody Program for Fertility can contribute to this growing field of expert knowledge and help unlock your fertility.
My final thoughts, the Expo highlighted the emotional rollercoaster we know the fertility journey to be! The extreme and traumatic impact of heightened emotions on the mind and body often lead to women considering whether they’re emotionally able to continue with ARTs.
Don’t lose hope though! Many fertility clinics offer complementary support for women on their fertility journey. The MindBody Program For Fertility is fully researched and is science-based and may just be the solution you’re looking for.
Check out this blog if you’re interested in learning how the MindBody Program Unlocks Fertility. And, if you’re interested in learning whether it’s right for YOU reach out today and let’s chat.