The experience of infertility is often highly stressful, and involves more than just medical issues. Infertility Counsellors respond to the complex social, psychological and ethical dimensions of Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR). They provide a range of services including individual, marital and group counselling, emotional support, assistance with decison-making, and referral to community resources. Many counsellors are knowledgeable about alternative options such as Donor conception, Surrogacy or Adoption. They may also be actively involved in research and policy development. Most AHR clinics in Canada require that implications counselling be provided to patients, donors and gestational carriers involved in fertility treatment.
The Counselling Special Interest Group (CSIG) has been established to foster collaboration and exchange between Canadian counsellors working in this field, and to promote a high standard of professional counselling. CSIG also aims to facilitate education and professional development opportunities amongst members. CSIG is a member group of the International Infertility Counselling Organisation (IICO), a global network of infertility counselling associations.
The annual business meeting of CSIG is held each fall in conjunction with the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society conference. Counselling professionals are strongly encouraged to attend the annual meeting to network with colleagues in the field, participate in workshops and presentations, and keep abreast of new developments in Assisted Human Reproduction.
Membership of CSIG is open to all members of CFAS. The executive committee of the CSIG is comprised of members with academic credentials and clinical training in a counselling discipline such as Psychology, Social Work, Psychotherapy, Marital therapy or Counselling.
Further information can be obtained by contacting:
Holly Yager and Sharna Cohen
Cousellors SIG Co-Chairs
Holly Yager, M.Ed., Clinical Counsellor – Co-Chair
Holly Yager is a Canadian Certified Counsellor and a Registered Clinical Counsellor in Vancouver, BC. Originally from Winnipeg, Holly has a B.A. Advanced in Psychology from the University of Manitoba. In the 90s, Holly moved to Vancouver where she earned a M.Ed. in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia.
Holly works in both private practice and in a hospital setting, where she provides therapy and support to individuals, couples, and groups in the areas of third-party reproduction, assisted conception, infertility, perinatal loss, reproductive mental health, sexual health, and chronic pelvic pain.
Holly is a member of the mental health professionals group (MHPG) of ASRM and of the counselling special interest group (CSIG) of CFAS. Holly is a member of the CSIG Executive Committee, serving as Communications Chair (2013-2016) and Vice-Chair (2015- current). Holly is on several committees, including one for the standardization of third-party reproduction reporting for CSIG members.
Sharna Cohen, MEd - Co-Chair
Mary Howlett-Nero, BA, MSW - Vice-Chair
Julia Sen, MEd, PhD - Communications ChairDr. Julia Sen is the Communications Chair for the Counsellor’s Special Interest Group. She has a Master’s and Doctoral (M.Ed., Ph.D.) degree in counselling psychology from the University of Toronto. She has also obtained her certificate in fertility counselling. Dr. Sen is a member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario, registered as a Clinical and Counselling Psychologist. She has over 15 years of experience working with adults with various concerns including: