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“A shared problem is a problem halved”: Share your fertility challenges by participating in TRIO’s online support groups

One in six Canadians faces infertility. Yet, we hear over and over that people feel that they face this journey alone. TRIO wants you to know you are not alone. There are so many others out there just like you.

As you are going through your infertility journey, it’s so important to take care of your emotional well-being. This is a stressful time for many reasons, including feeling “different from others who have children,” and feeling socially isolated. One way that could help you to feel less alone is by connecting with other people who are also facing infertility. TRIO has created many free-of-charge online fertility support groups in which you can participate as much, or as little, as you like. In addition to the online comments and questions that can be posted 24/7, the groups offer live video chats several times a week.

The purpose of these support groups is to:

  • Offer a space to share your journey and listen to others’ experiences.
  • Provide emotional support in order to decrease the sense of isolation.
  • Bring together people with different backgrounds, treating doctors, and treatment methods. Hearing a variety of stories will likely introduce you to information that’s new to you.
  • Learn more about infertility and the treatments.
  • Engage with others who know the ups and downs of balancing treatments with having a busy life, and who can give suggestions on how they managed it.
  • Help others. Everyone in a support group has a unique story to share. You may find that sharing your own experience helps someone else, and that simple act can often lift your spirits.

All of our support groups are moderated by Counsellor Reina Zatylny MSW, RSW. Reina was a fertility patient many years ago, and she understands how challenging it can be when family building doesn’t always go as planned. When she was unable to have a child, Reina decided to fulfil her need to nurture others and to create a more meaningful life for herself. She returned to university to receive her social work accreditation to practice as a therapist. While she works with people with many different emotional concerns, Reina is especially delighted to help and nurture others who are trying to build their families.

What support groups are available?

 TRIO currently has six support groups. Our support groups are safe and respectful spaces that welcome ALL patients.

Women’s Support Group

This group is for individuals identifying as female or hoping to carry a pregnancy, members who participate in this group report that they:

  • Feel less lonely, isolated and judged
  • Better manage and reduce their distress, depression, anxiety or fatigue
  • Talk openly and honestly about their feelings
  • Improve their skills to cope with challenges, including interacting with others socially
  • Stay motivated to manage their infertility treatments
  • Gain a sense of empowerment, control, and hope
  • Improve their understanding of their infertility and their experience with it
  • Receive practical feedback about treatment options
  • Learn about health, complimentary or social resources

Women’s Support Group: Secondary Infertility

This group is for individuals identifying as female or hoping to carry a pregnancy.

People with secondary infertility, who already have children but who are having difficulty building their family tend to receive far less social support from others than those who have primary infertility. Individuals with secondary infertility can be extraordinarily thankful for their existing child, but still long for more children.

In addition to the benefits noted by the participants in the Women’s Support Group, this group helps members to:

  • Know that they have sounding board with others who can empathize with the frustration and feelings of guilt, anger, isolation, depression, jealousy and lack of control.
  • Acknowledge and work through the feelings of sorrow and powerlessness to produce a sibling for the existing child.
  • Better manage the complicated emotions involved in the current parenting role while still “working on” trying to have another child.  For example, sometimes the enormous effort and emotional cost of trying to have a second child can take away from the energy spent engaged in nurturing the existing child. There are others who face the same struggles and complex feelings associated with secondary infertility.

Men’s Support Group

This group is for individuals identifying as male.

This group helps individuals who are struggling to build their family, no matter what the reason of infertility to:

  • Better manage and reduce feelings such as grief, loss, anger, depression, worthlessness and anxiety.
  • Discuss issues related to masculinity and sexual inadequacy when faced with a diagnosis of male factor infertility.
  • Feel less helpless, isolated or judged.
  • Acknowledge and communicate their needs to their partner.
  • Stay motivated to manage their infertility treatments.
  • Gain a sense of empowerment, control and hope
  • Receive practical feedback about treatment options
  • Learn about health, complimentary and social resources.

Supporting Couples Experiencing Infertility

This group is designed to help protect and strengthen couples’ relationships during infertility. We discuss strategies to:

  • Better communicate thoughts, fears and other emotions.
  • Maintain a sense of identity, meaning, and joy that is separate from infertility.
  • Cope with marital stress and conflict.
  • Set boundaries with others so that your needs are better met.
  • Help couples to maintain emotional and sexual intimacy.
  • Address difficult decisions in fertility treatments, such as what procedures you are prepared to undergo, and determining when you’ve reached “the end of the road” and no longer want to pursue further fertility treatment.

Pregnancy Support Group

This group is for individuals carrying a pregnancy.

Transitioning from being a fertility patient to being an expectant parent is not easy. Although you’re excited and thrilled that you’re now pregnant, the pregnancy can be fraught with its own kind of concerns and anxieties. This group is designed to members to:

  • Adjust to the “new normal” of no longer being a patient to being pregnant.
  • Adjust to their body changes.
  • Manage the worry that “something could go wrong” at any point in the pregnancy or with the baby’s development.
  • Cope with the guilt that they are successful in being pregnant, but their friends with infertility are not pregnant.
  • Understand that, while they are grateful that they are pregnant, they also may feel unwell, “hormonal”, anxious, and sad. Sometimes it’s a challenge to balance “gratitude” of pregnancy with the understandable physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy.

Parents’ Support Group

After the challenges of finally bringing your baby into the world, now comes the reality of parenting. This group helps new parents to:

  • Learn to adjust to the challenges involved in sleep deprivation, new routines, and couples’ relationships
  • Feel less lonely, isolated, and judged
  • Better manage and reduce their distress, depression, anxiety or fatigue
  • Talk openly and honestly about their feelings
  • Improve their skills to cope with challenges, including interacting with others socially

How do I join?

You are welcome to join as many groups as you like. To join please send us a message on Facebook or Instagram with the following information:

  1. Your full name
  2. Your TRIO doctor’s name
  3. The email address associated with our Facebook account
  4. The group(s) you would like to join

Are TRIO support groups private?

Yes. Our groups are set to ‘Secret’, which is the highest privacy setting on Facebook. A ‘Secret’ group is hidden from searches, members are added by invitation only, and non-members cannot see who is in the group. Please note that the group is not anonymous, and other members of the group will be able to see your profile.

Are the groups for TRIO patients only?

Yes. Our groups are currently for TRIO patients only. If you are not a patient and are looking for support here are some other support groups you can join. You can also find our recommended counsellors here. You do not need to be a TRIO patient to work with one of our recommended counsellors.

We are deeply committed at TRIO to providing excellence in our emotional support to our patients. We recognize the considerable challenges involved in experiencing infertility and the toll that it takes on peoples’ hearts and minds. In addition to offering individual counselling, our support groups can help patients throughout their fertility journey to cope with and adjust to the challenges in that journey. We invite you to join us, and look forward to meeting you!