Defining Expectations and Setting Boundaries

()Speaker: Dara Roth Edney, MSW, RSW

Dara Roth Edney, MSW, RSW founder of Informed Fertility and mother through surrogacy, works with individuals and couples experiencing primary or secondary infertility, or seeking assisted fertility options due to sexual orientation, gender identity and/or relationship status. As a Reproductive Counsellor, she provides support in dealing with the profound emotions of infertility and loss, offers pragmatic decision-making guidance and helps in developing effective coping strategies. Dara specializes in conducting assessments for egg/sperm donors, surrogates and embryo donors, as well as counselling for Intended Parents working with donors/surrogates.

Based in Toronto, Dara counsels people from around the world in person and via video, and is dedicated to a practice that is inclusive, empathetic, personalized and helpful.


It is common knowledge that infertility and reproductive loss causes a high degree of stress in individuals and couples. Studies have shown that these experiences are also linked to higher rates of anxiety and depression. Increased levels of stress and heightened emotions can have a negative impact on patient behaviours and attitudes, which in turn can significantly impact clinic staff. As almost everyone working in a clinic setting has direct patient contact, anyone from medical to administrative personnel may speak to patients right after they receive bad news and therefore, be at the receiving end of these emotional responses. Having a more comprehensive understanding of patients’ emotional experience and better understanding specific points of stress for patients, yourself and your colleagues can help in identifying what all parties are expecting in a particular situation. Once expectations are defined, behaviours and emotions can be better anticipated, and subsequently a foundation for building boundaries can be established.

Learning Objectives:

  • To better understand the impact of infertility on patients, in order to identify points of stress for them, yourself and your colleagues
  • To explore and identify expectations of everyone involved in care (patients, yourself, your colleagues), in order to better anticipate emotional responses and ideally reduce unacceptable behaviours
  • To build capacity for boundary building (personally and within your team) in order to reduce caregiver burnout