‘Not alone’ in infertility: Manitoba clinic marks Fertility Awareness Week

Infertility affects one in six Manitobans, and most people in the province likely know someone dealing with it, Winnipeg’s Heartland Fertility says.

As Manitoba marks Fertility Awareness Week, Dr. Stephanie Appleby, a specialist with the clinic, said difficulties with conception can have a big impact on general well-being, stress and enjoyment of life.

She encourages those unsure about their fertility to talk to their family doctor and to share their story.

“Infertility is no one’s fault. This is a biological condition, and I think we have so many effective techniques for treatment these days,” she said. “Creating conversation can also create hope for others.”

There is a stigma and embarrassment associated with infertility, “mainly due to the fact that we blame ourselves,” Appleby said.

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“We don’t want to talk about it. We don’t share it with friends and family members.”

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But she said sparking conversation can help locate necessary resources for those who want to conceive.

“It’s really important for Manitobans to know that they’re not alone,” she said.

The doctor added that when people advocate for themselves, get information on their fertility and seek care, they’ll feel more in control.

“Know that there are excellent treatment options available,” she said, noting many are available at Heartland.

“We are a full-service fertility clinic, meaning we don’t just specialize in advanced reproductive technology” like IVF, she said. “We offer fertility investigations — many of which are covered by the province of Manitoba — lesser fertility treatments such as ovulation induction, insemination therapies, (and) surgical fertility treatment.”

Appleby said for people wondering about their fertility, the “what’s next” can start with a family physician, or by filling out a self-referral form to Heartland Fertility.

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