If you've been diagnosed with fertility problems, or referred for further investigations then you may have read a book or two? Browsed a website or two (or often more) and possibly visited a clinic or two as part of your preparations for what happens next.
The Fertility Show provides a home to many authors, many experts whose websites you may have visited and also many clinics. More importantly it gives you the opportunity to speak to these people, to find out who you feel comfortable with and who you don't.
With NHS & Private clinics exhibiting, from the UK and some overseas private clinics too, you can see beyond how the web and literature designers intended you to interpret their publications. But it's not all about the exhibition.
The main reason to come to the Fertility Show is for the seminars. Regardless of your marital status or sexual orientation there will be speakers who can equip you with information relevant to your situation!
Some people may think the show is all about selling clinic services, that it's over commercial, that there's nothing new to be heard. Even if you're lucky enough to live in an area where you can access the recommended three cycles of IVF and the waiting list is of an acceptable length, you can still expect there to be lots of information for you!
Hear from people who've been through treatment and equip yourself with some useful strategies. Join in workshops to learn how to manage better in your relationships whilst going through treatment. I am facilitating an interactive workshop - with lots of time for questions, on how to work towards your relationships thriving, not just surviving as you progress along your fertility journey.
There is lots of information there for men too, not just in treatment options and fertility boosters, the talk from Nigel Dawson sharing his journey to parenthood is one to book in for early, hear as he shares how it was for him - affirmation for the men in the audience that they're coping well and awareness from the women who'll know more about what it feels like for their partners.
There are preparatory & planning seminars, treatment options discussed including reproductive surgery as an alternative to IVF, medical advances shared in a patient friendly way, how to cope better, how to integrate alternative medicine in to your treatment plan, options for the future if treatment isn't successful - adopting, both UK adoption and overseas - whatever the future may bring there's a seminar about it.
You can read the full seminar programme here http://www.fertilityshow.co.uk/seminars.html
The Fertility Show IS a place to attend with your partner, with friends or with your family. They can learn how to support you before, during and after treatment – and you can learn how to let them!
If you belong to a fertility support forum do use their wristbands or pins to recognise each other, plan ahead and use your forums to roaganise a meeting point in the morning. It can be great to go as part of a resource gathering team. You can share notes afterwards on the forums; some of you might want to ask your forum moderator to add a forum for the show, a dedicated place to report back and share information that you've found useful and others in your network may do too.
Infertility Network UK pins are available on the day, if you are a member and use the forum do let us know your forum name - then we know who we're talking too :)
As well as working on the I N UK stand and speaking on Saturday I also run the Quiet Room at the show; we recognise that for some needing assistance to conceive can be incredibly isolating. Attending the show with thousands of other people experiencing the same range of emotions can be overwhelming. Empowering also, but at times it might feel like you need time out. Hence having the quiet room available, just speak to anyone at the I N UK stand and we can find time to pause, to breathe again, gather strength and continue in collecting the resources to support you now and in the future!
I look forward to seeing you on the day