Infertility can be an isolating experience, peppered with highs and lows. It is no wonder therefore that the “rollercoaster” metaphor is used so often to describe the emotional challenges experienced by those struggling to achieve a viable pregnancy. These challenges often present themselves as anxiety, depression and stress. Addressing these challenges can be difficult at any time but the Coronavirus pandemic has heightened these emotions for many as physical isolation and distancing has restricted our ability to interact and access care and support on a face to face basis.
The pandemic has however highlighted the importance and significance of online communication. The Internet and the myriad of emotional support networks which have been established over the last year have offered normalisation and reassurance to those experiencing infertility
. One can only imagine the emotional damage caused by a similar pandemic striking thirty years ago without the harness of the internet.
The internet has certainly revolutionised people’s experience of infertility. We have access to fertility ‘experts’ 24/7, we are able to research and learn more about causes and treatments and can share and listen to others with similar experiences.
Quantity is not always a good measure of quality however and a slice of caution has to be adopted when you access online information. Websites, forums and platforms must be considered in the context in which they are created and maintained. Some may be directed at a particular audience or may promote a specific treatment provider or product. It is therefore important to do your research to establish which online information hubs are appropriate for your needs.
The online space for an independent information source, shaped by patients and supported by professionals has been filled by the newly launched FertiAlly.com
. This information resource has been created specifically in response to feedback from those seeking answers to questions raised by their experience of infertility. So how does it work?
Well, anyone with a question, issue or problem associated with infertility can share it with the platform and this in turn will be shared amongst its bank of experienced medics and scientists, therapists, counsellors and coaches (and there are nearly one hundred of these!). Considered professional opinion will then be given to any question or issue raised in the form of jargon free videos which are freely available on the website, FertiAlly.com and on the FertiAlly YouTube channel.
What’s more you won’t necessarily only receive one answer! Infertility is complex and one size does not fit all that’s why FertiAlly.com have brought together experts from all over the world to provide a balanced approach to all the questions and issues raised and this may mean that some questions will receive multiple answers!. Professional participation is given freely on FertiAlly.com, free of bias and guaranteed to offer honest opinion. In short FertiAlly.com is more than happy to generate discussion (and sometimes disagreement) between professionals in order to offer fertility patients feedback about the issues affecting them and their fertility journey.
The videos offered by FertiAlly.com cover every aspect of infertility so you will find a lot of information about the psychological difficulties faced by those with infertility and some suggested strategies and coping mechanisms to address them. Equally, FertiAlly.com offer an enormous resource of information on treatments, BMI, supplements, male infertility, miscarriages and conditions such as endometriosis. The videos are purposely short in nature (mostly 1 – 3 minutes) and are designed to be jargon free to allow the viewer a concise response to specialist topics and questions. The answers may not be definitive (answers about treatments will depend on individual patient diagnosis) but will give viewers a good insight to the subject and could signpost them to additional resources where appropriate.
If you ask anyone who has searched the internet for information on infertility you will invariably get the same response. ‘Overwhelming’ is a response a lot of fertility patients use; it is an emotion which seems to be synonymous with web searches associated with fertility, IVF, egg donation or surrogacy. What FertiAlly.com does well is to introduce and explain often complicated issues and subjects clearly and authoritatively. Viewers can have unlimited access to professionals with worldwide reputations in the comfort of their own home which means that they do not have to spend countless hours (and you really can!) surfing inappropriate websites in search of answers.
Infertility is stressful and although the internet now offers unparalleled access to information, stress is often compounded when you are faced with too much information to process. FertiAlly.com does a lot of the deskwork for you and enables those with questions about the psychological and practical aspects of infertility a quick, straightforward and honest answer as Aleksander Wiecki, one of its Founders explains,
“FertiAlly.com is designed to help patients find answers and point them in the right direction. Our job is to help reduce stress experienced by individuals and couples by providing access to professionals with the very best knowledge. We are a one stop shop for fertility questions”.
By accessing videos created by FertiAlly.com viewers will also be contributing to the work of the European Fertility Society (ESF), a not for profit organisation designed to safeguard and promote the interests of fertility patients. For each video answer published on the FertiAlly.com website a donation of 5 Euros will be made to the EFS.