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Lets’ all Talk Fertility Dairy: March. By Sophie Sulehria

Hello and thank you for joining us for our March newsletter.

I’m Sophie from The Fertility Show, it’s great to have you on board.

The big question of course is have you got your ticket yet??  In just 6 weeks time, The Fertility Show will be back and live at Olympia London! 

On the 7th & 8th May - after a COVID 19 enforced hiatus - the world renowned Fertility Show will be inviting a smörgåsbord of top fertility experts, clinics, doctors, charities, patient advocates and ambassadors to our wonderfully discreet environment, with the aim to help people embarking on a new or ongoing fertility journey to get the most accurate advice, support and information around.

WHAT AM I LOOKING FORWARD TO?

Where do I start?? There are so many fantastic elements to this year’s show, so here’s a heads up of what’s on offer…

1) FERTILITY TESTING AND DIAGNOSIS

So important when starting a fertility journey, right? A diagnosis is crucial, and knowing what the best, most accurate tests are to undertake and prioritise can feel like a minefield. That’s why it’s wonderful to have Mr Tarek El-Toukhy, the clinical lead of the Assisted Conception at Guy's and St Thomas’ Hospital, giving his expert advice in this area. 

Plus Alison Campbell, the Director of Embryology at Care Fertility, will be talking about the new technologies breaking through in the labs, and how they can help with your treatment.  I had the pleasure of talking to Alison at last year’s Fertility Summit and the information about new tech was totally fascinating, I highly recommend.

2) MALE FERTILITY

Over the years, male fertility has really come into the spotlight. We are proud of our fabulous line up of speakers, ready to tackle a whole hots of subjects on male health and sperm health.

One to watch out for is Professor Suks Minhas (a consultant urologist and lead Andrologist at Imperial College). Suks will be giving his expert advice on varicocele and azoospermia, two huge reasons for male infertility.  Plus the fantastic Professor Allan Pacey from The University of Sheffield (a professor of Andrology) will be giving us an overview on the issues men can face with their fertility and how to best deal with them.

3) THE LET’S ALL TALK FERTILITY STAGE

This year, we’re dedicating a section of The Fertility Show to some wonderful patients advocates. We have asked two panels to join us for an informal coffee / lunch style chat across the weekend in our new “Let’s all Talk Fertility” Hub.  And what great panellists we have!  These phenomenal people have either been on, or are still on a fertility journey themselves and have used their experience to help other people.  You will get to meet people such as…

Emma and Gabby from “The Big Fat Negative Podcast” - who are now authors too!  These girls started their podcast during their own fertility treatment. They went on to become parents via IVF but have continued the podcast (and have released their book) which includes lots of fertility advice and patient stories for you to gain help and info from.

Shaun Greenaway, AKA “Knackered Knackers” on Instagram.  After a diagnosis of Azoospermia (the medical term used when there are no sperm in the ejaculate) Shaun and his wife went on to have donor conceived twins. Shaun used his experience for good and started an Instagram page, which has been a great support to people.  Shaun has now gone on to start a support group, to help men going through infertility.

Noni Martins AKA “Unfertility” on Instagram.  Noni started the “Unfertility” podcast after her own fertility experience.  She now seeks to break the silence, shame and stigma around unconventional fertility journeys through the voices of black women.

“Notafictional Mum” - an adoptive mum who started a blog, then Instagram account, and now shop to sell clothing, cards and other inclusive items for all kinds of families, fertility warriors, and parents in progress after feeling unrepresented.  NFM also campaigns for adoptive families, including her latest petition to ensure statutory adoption pay is available to a self-employed parents in the same way that mat / paternity pay is given to the self-employed.  We are delighted that NFM will be at this year’s Fertility Show, selling her amazing range of products, talking about adoption, and offering her advice and support. 

Ruth Corden.  Sadly Ruth cannot be at The Fertility Show in person this year as she turns the big 40 that very weekend.  The good news is that we caught up with Ruth to find out how life is for her as a child free 40 year old and what decisions she has made about her fertility as she enters her 40th year.  This will be exclusively available on our digital platform after the show.

This is just a few of our wonderful guests, there are many, many more! Join me for next month’s newsletter when I’ll dish out some more shout outs!

 

Meanwhile, on Let's all Talk Fertility Online...

This month I spoke to the wonderful Raef Faris from The Lister Fertility Clinic. Raef was on giving an overview to IVF and ICSI fertility treatment, telling us how to prepare for treatment and answering your important questions. 

It was reassuring to hear Raef say there is nothing a person can do to improve the chance of pregnancy once the embryo is inside the body and the two week wait has started.  At this point you cannot change the outcome of the treatment.  So many people place blame on themselves when they see that negative pregnancy test.  I still can’t forgive myself for the “long hilly walk” I took during my first two week wait. 

Raef told us “there’s nothing a woman can do… the main reason for an unsuccessful cycle is down to the embryo” and that’s that.  To watch this insightful webinar in full for free, head HERE

COMING UP NEXT MONTH ON LET’S ALL TALK FERTILITY…

We shall be discussing nutrition. While there may not be anything you can do to improve the outcome of a fertility cycle once the embryo is in place, there is a lot you can do on the road to fertility treatment.  To find out how your nutrition can play a part, register for your free place HERE

 

THIS MONTH'S Q&A

This month I caught up with Nader AlSalim, the CEO and founder of Gaia Family - our Headline Sponsor at this year’s Fertility Show…

1) What was your own experience of infertility Nader? 

In 2015 my wife and I started trying for a baby, in what we thought would be a straightforward experience.  It was far from it.  After years of IVF treatments across multiple clinics and countries, we were very fortunate to have a child.  But it was painful.  Physically painful for my wife, and emotionally and financially painful for both of us.  And what made the whole process harder was our lack of understanding - we never fully understood why IVF wasn’t working for us.  Sadly we were one of the many “unexplained'' cases of infertility, which can be very hard to come to terms with.

2) How did the experience change you? 

As someone who loves working with numbers and solving problems, there was no solution for us; no number, no answer.  With every round of IVF we embarked upon, the only thing we had was hope.  But it wasn’t enough for me.  I wanted to understand why we weren’t successful and what our chances would be going forward.  If we were to be investing thousands of pounds into this process, I wanted to ensure we were making the right decision to do so.  But we never had that.  We were never given a roadmap or a total sum of money that we may have to spend.  It frustrated me, and that frustration turned into a determination to do something about it.  


3) Why did you decide to use this experience to start Gaia? 

The difference between having a child or not, should not be based on how rich you are, yet the system today is designed exactly like that.  Most people don’t have £30,000 stashed away to pay for IVF treatment.  However a lot of people can manage affordable monthly payments with a sensible back up plan to limit their cost.  We need to ensure that fertility isn’t treated as a luxury good but is an accessible part of common healthcare.  And no one should have to pay for IVF treatment without a child to show for it.


4) It’s a new company, but what are you most proud of so far? 

I am proud of the feedback we have received from our existing members.  It can be daunting to create a solution that you wished you’d had yourself.  But to know that others have found our Gaia Plans valuable and meaningful on their fertility journey, has shown that our hard work in creating the world’s first IVF insurance plans is not for nothing. 

 

5) You are now the headline sponsors at this year's The Fertility Show! What are you most looking forward to about being there? 

The last time I was at The Fertility Show I was an IVF patient myself.  I found it so valuable in order to better understand my own options, clinic choices, and journey.  I am looking forward to attending as a company this year, which is able to support others.  The Fertility Show is an invaluable resource for so many, I am very proud and excited to be among other organisations and charities who are working towards solving and supporting families on their family building journey.

 

Thank you Nader.  And you can find out more about Gaia and their finance plans via their website: Gaia Family 

 

TIP OF THE MONTH:

This month’s tips come from you, the reader.  We were blown away by your kindness towards each other when we asked on our Instagram page @thefertilityshow what advice you would give someone starting out with fertility treatment for the first time.  You gave such wonderful, kind, amazing help to your fellow TTC community.  Here are ten of your tips…

1) Don’t underestimate the emotional impact of fertility treatment - get support in this area

2) Make sure you are with a doctor you can trust

3) Test test test before you start - including the man

4) Don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion

5) Do your research (a great place to start your fact finding mission is at The Fertility Show) 

6) Prepare your body and mind

7) Be your own advocate - go to the appointments prepared and with questions

8) Don’t forget your mental health - get counselling if you need it

9) Try to look for the positives and fill the little moments with lovely memories 

10) Take one day at a time

These were just a few of your great words of wisdom, for more head to @thefertilityshow on Instagram.
 

OUR NEWEST SPONSOR…

We are delighted to announce our newest sponsor, Leeaf. 

The Leeaf App acts as the bridge between women and their doctors.  It aims to support you at every juncture in the IVF journey - from guiding you through the complex process of selecting the right clinic, collecting and understanding essential health information, and knowing the right questions to ask.  Leeaf is also the most efficient way to keep your fertility documentation in one place. 

So if you decide to move clinic, your files will follow.  No need to keep repeating tests or to keep going over your medical history.  Your new clinician will learn from the last, meaning your treatment is not only less hassle but also predicted to give you a higher success rate.  What a fantastic service, I am sure you’d agree.

We are delighted that Leeaf will be sponsoring The Fertility Show’s seminar theatres this year, and will also be on hand to talk to anyone who is interested in their services.  For more information head HERE 


UNTIL NEXT TIME…

That’s a wrap for this month!  Here at The Fertility Show HQ we are busy in the last 6 weeks leading up to our first live Fertility Show in two years!  We can’t wait to see you there.