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Counselling SIG

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 decision-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.

Dara Roth Edney, BA, BSW, MSW, RSW - Chair

CSIG/Dara

Dara Roth Edney is a Reproductive Counsellor, practicing for more than 2 decades and offering supports in family building, grief counselling, stress reduction and anxiety management. She counsels people dealing with infertility and loss, as well those using assisted reproduction due to sexual orientation, gender identity, relationship status or underlying medical conditions. She conducts assessments for donors and surrogates, and facilitates infertility and LGBTQ2+ peer support groups. Dara works closely with professional and community organizations, and is a regularly invited speaker and consultant. She is involved in Canadian government consultations, is active in industry research and sits on the Ethics Committee of a large Toronto fertility clinic. She is a Registered Member of the College of Social Workers (OCSWSSW) and the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW), as well as a member of the Counselling Special Interest Group (CSIG) of CFAS, currently holding the position of Vice-Chair, and the Mental Health Professionals Group (MHPG) of ASRM.

Personally, after many years of infertility, loss and IVF, Dara became a parent through surrogacy and now has two daughters, each carried by a different (and wonderful) gestational carrier.

Amrit Malhotra, BA, MSW, RSW, Acc FM (OAFM) - Co-ChairCSIG/Amrit Malhotra

Amrit holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto providing social work services since 1993 and is registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Specializing in fertility counselling and third-party reproduction in addition to Family Mediation, Collaborative Divorce and Organizational Trauma.

Amrit has completed three certificates in fertility counselling from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and is a member of the Mental Health Professional Group as well as The Counselling Special Interest Group with CFAS. She is also an Accredited Family Mediator through the Ontario Association for Family Mediation and is a Mediation Coach at York University, Certificate in Family Mediation Program. Amrit in a Board member of Collaborative Divorce Toronto as well as Hamilton Halton Collaborative Practice.

In her private practice, Invicta Counselling, Amrit provides implications counselling for individuals and couples considering donor conception, working with intended parents, known donors and gestational carriers/surrogates.  Fertility treatments may require support throughout, and Amrit offers support to cope with the journey, including grief/loss and adjustment to illness counselling.

Jodi Munroe - Vice-Chair CSIG/Jodi Munroe

Jodi Munroe is a Reproductive Counsellor with many years of experience working in the areas of health care, child welfare and crisis settings. Jodi works in community healthcare as well as counselling in private practice. Jodi’s counselling practice includes collaboration with single and coupled Intended Parents, Egg /Sperm/Embryo donation, Gestational Carriers, Fertility Preservation and overall mental health. Jodi has had years of dedicated volunteer service in the community within various settings, most recently having served on a Board of Directors for a Bereavement organization. Jodi is a Registered Member of the College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) and the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW). She is a member of the Counselling Special Interest Group (CSIG) of CFAS and is also a member of the Mental Health Professionals Group (MHPG) of American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). On a personal note Jodi and her spouse have faced years of
infertility, loss, and failed cycles. They have been fortunate to have a daughter who encourages Jodi to believe that anything is possible.
 

Elisa Gores and Blair Wexler-Singer - Student Observers/Secretaries

Mary Howlett-Nero, BA, MSW - Past Chair CSIG/Mary Howlett Nero

Mary Howlett Nero has been working as an Approved Adoption Practitioner with the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services since 1997 and has maintained a private practice in which she has assisted hundreds of families with private domestic, international and public adoptions. In 2009, Mary joined Beginnings Family Services as their Adoption Practitioner. In 2010, she took on the role of managing the agency’s newly formed open (not anonymous) Embryo Donation Program and over the last decade has assisted many families across Canada with donating and receiving embryos. Mary is a registered member of the Ontario College of Social Workers (OCSWSSW), of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) and of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS).