Message from the Office
Subsequent to the Board meeting at the end of January, the CFAS is geared up for an ambitious year to deliver on our key strategic priorities of education, government and public relations, member engagement, and clinical leadership all of which shall be supported through a balanced budget.
Education. The theme for the annual meeting in Vancouver is “Healthy Body, Healthy Baby” where we look at aspects that contribute to healthy outcomes for children born of ART. An early draft of the program is available on the CFAS web site. Many recognized international and Canadian speakers promise to make the annual meeting a memorable one.
CFAS is more than an annual meeting. Each of the Special Interest Groups have plans to offer something to CFAS members. NSIG is holding a 1-day nursing summit in Toronto on April 28, which is followed by a 1-day embyology summit on the 29th (organized by Merck), also in Toronto. We have plans to hold a third edition of the Gatekeepers Dilemma in June. CFAS members benefit from preferential pricing on regional meetings and events and will be notified directly as new educational opportunities arise.
Government and Public Relations. The increasing oversight of federal and provincial governments necessitate that the CFAS position itself as a strong central voice for ART in Canada. We made significant progress in 2016, but there is considerable work still to do. We will be monitoring progress with AHRA regulations and support actions that will decriminalize compensation for donors and surrogates. We will monitor and contribute to the development of standards by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and advocate for national standard for ART. We will partner with organizations like Accreditation Canada and Canadian Standards Association to realize a national framework for quality assurance in the field. Finally, we will use the collective strength and expertise of CFAS members to achieve these goals.
Having a strong voice means having a presence in the public domain as well. We extended our voice in 2016 with increased exposure in the media, but we will aim higher in 2017. This year, we will start to develop patient information brochures that can be utilized by Clinics. We will increase our presence on social media and extend our connections with the media to ensure accurate information is made available in the public domain.
Clinical Leadership. CFAS members are making significant progress on development of guidelines and standards of practice. As provincial and federal governments look to increase oversight of ART, the importance of guidelines for our Society are even more critical. The CFAS has committed financial resources to support members in these efforts. A new publication process will ensure relevant experts have input into standards before they become publicly available. Finally, all members will have a chance to provide input. The following guidelines are at various stages of development:
- Assisted Reproduction and Advanced Age initiated by Ethics and Law SIG
- DNA Fragmentation Testing initiated by Andrology SIG
- Standards for Reporting on Third Party Implications Counselling initiated by Counseling SIG
- Competency Framework for the Canadian Fertility Nurse initiated by the Board and facilitated by a Nursing sub Committee
- PGS, Clinical Practice Guideline
- Recurrent Implantation Failure, Clinical Practice Guideline
- Thin Endometrium, Clinical Practice Guideline
- Social Egg Freezing, Clinical Practice Guideline
- Obesity and fertility treatment, Clinical Practice Guideline
In addition to the guidelines, ART Lab SIG will publish a certification exam for embryologists and andrologists by end of 2017. This initiative strengthens the credibility of the field. Finally, nursing is undertaking an ambitious project to establish competencies for the fertility nurse which will then become part of a more comprehensive orientation program for new nurses. Expect this project to run several years.
The CFAS office is engaged in other initiatives to support members and clinics. It is expected that a group liability insurance program will be made available in 2017 to some 18 clinics that have expressed interest. The program will increase protection for clinics while reducing their costs. The program can evolve to include coverage for frozen gametes – an area where there is currently a major gap in coverage. This project is evolving slower than expected, but we expect more clinics to participate as the value becomes clear.
We look forward to delivering more value to CFAS members and to the field in general over 2017. Many challenges and opportunities lie ahead.