It’s been ages since I have posted anything to this page, but today I feel motivated to give a bit of an update. I have been reflecting on how fortunate I have been since undertaking my Churchill Fellowship at the end of 2015. At the time, other Fellows assured me that the Fellowship itself was just the beginning, and that the really exciting stuff was ahead of me – out of sight and unknown, but coming. Well, it seems that someone had a crystal ball, because the last year has been filled will challenging but exciting opportunities.
In May 2018 I was invited to present at a panel discussion on international surrogacy in Nashville for Family Lawyers in the American Barristers Association, and so far this year, I have presented to health professionals at the Australian Association of Health and Behavioural Medicine Conference in NZ, and was invited to be part of a panel of Fertility Specialists discussing international third party reproduction at the ASPIRE conference in Hong Kong. In June I was invited to attend another congress on international surrogacy (at Cambridge University), and tomorrow I am heading back to the USA to Philadelphia to participate in a shared workshop on open discusser in donor conception. This workshop is part of the ASRM annual congress and I am incredibly proud to be standing alongside some really esteemed clinical colleagues and researchers in discussing the future of donor conception.
There is no way I could have predicted the way 2019 would turn out, and I am excited (and a little nervous!) about what 2020 might hold. Despite exhaustion, jetlag and my nagging Imposter Syndrome, I remain so grateful to the QLD Churchill Trust selection committee for seeing merit in my topic and me and starting me on this incredible path a few years ago. I know it is helping me as a practitioner and I believe that these opportunities are providing me with the chance to share my learnings amongst my amazing colleagues.
I have very excited to announce that my practice has now officially partnered with the team at Greenslopes Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Possums for Mothers and Babies. I am now offering appointments on Thursdays and Fridays from a brand new consulting room within Greenslopes Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
If you would like to make an appointment with me, please contact them directly on P: 07 3188 5000 and the lovely admin team will advise my availability.
Please note that if you are wanting to discuss counselling for surrogacy, it may be simplest to contact me directly my email (please see the contact page on this website or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you are trying to work out exactly where the new rooms are located, this map might help…
For some people “compassion focused therapy” might sound all a little bit “wishy washy” but have you ever wondered what it is? or whether it might be useful to you? Check out this great interview with Paul Gilbert, who has been one of the pioneers of this form of psychological intervention. He is talking to Richard Fidler on the excellent radio program Conversations which can be downloaded from the ABC website.https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/conversations/paul-gilbert-compassion/10922574
Ever wondered what it is like to have a new baby and develop depression? Ever wondered how someone could have this beautiful little baby and feel so bad at the same time? Ever been depressed and struggled to explain it to the people around you? This video is a quite incredible representation of the workings of a postpartum depressed mind… but buckle in it is pretty hard viewing https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=U8ZSUzJ0KqU&app=desktop
When I first started as a fertility counselling, it was still possible to be an anonymous sperm donor. A couple of years later, the Australian guidelines for fertility treatment (including donor conception) changed, and true anonymity was no longer possible.
More recently, some Australian states have changed their legislation to permit access for donor conceived people to identifying information about their donor, even if that donor had donated anonymously – effectively resulting in retrospective removal of anonymity. This legislative world-first was designed to increase the rights of donor conceived people to access to their biological identity but did cause an enormous furore, both in Australia and overseas.
But in 2019, anyone who thinks it is possible to remain anonymous as a gamete/embryo donation is delusional. The incredible success of home DNA testing has forever changed the landscape of donor identity. This article provides some clear examples of DNA discovery of past anonymous donor and shows that donor identification must be seen as a reality for anyone exploring either being or using a donor https://m.medicalxpress.com/news/2018-11-home-dna-doom-anonymity-sperm.html
I just got back from an awesome weekend in Christchurch presenting at the Australasian Society of Behavioural Health and Medicine Conference. My paper, “Extraordinary Claims Demand Extraordinary Evidence” A Systematic Review of the outcome of Psychological Interventions during Assisted Reproduction Treatment gave me a chance to really explore what the last 10 years of research demonstrates actually works in supporting people going through ART. A great audience, and a great conference. And what’s not to love about Christchurch??!!
I am very excited to share the news that I have been appointed to the Brisbane South Primary Health Network Clinical Council for a period of 2 years. This is pretty exciting for me personally, but also for psychologists as a profession, as this really provides an opportunity to input to the type of healthcare delivery that we can expect to be received in the Brisbane South region.
A Bit of background…..Primary Health Networks (PHNs) were established by the federal government in July 2015 to facilitate the delivery of efficient and effective primary health services. PHNs aim to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes, and to improve coordination of primary health care to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time.
The Brisbane South PHN covers the large geographic area south of the Brisbane River and includes metropolitan, rural and remote island locations across the four Local government areas (LGAs) of Brisbane (part), the Scenic Rim (part), Redland and Logan, with an estimated population catchment of 1.1 million residents (23% of Queensland’s population). The area is culturally diverse and contains 13 public and private hospital locations and more than 300 General Practices.
The purpose of a PHN Clinical Council is to assist in development of local strategies that will improve the operation of the health care system for patients, to better meet the unique needs of the local communities. The Council provides recommendations and advice to the Brisbane South PHN Board of Directors.
If you would like to know more about PHNs, you can access the Australian Government here: http://www.health.gov.au/PHN but otherwise… wish me luck!!
My heart goes out to this Australian couple who have just had their babies through surrogacy in Ukraine. Unfortunately, the babies have been born very prematurely and the parents are now trying to manage the care of their twins in a foreign country, negotiating in a language they don’t understand and with medical insurance that apparently hasn’t really covered their current needs. This is probably the worst possible outcome of cross-border surrogacy I could imagine. https://www.facebook.com/7NewsBrisbane/videos/264865640843154/UzpfSTEzMDczNjM3NjkzOTIyMzoyMjEzMTExOTc1MzY4MzA5/
Helping new mums and dads negotiate the complex pathway into parenthood is one of the best things about my work. So, I was really excited to discover this recent interview on the ABC RN program exploring the topic. Here is the link so you can listen to the entire program https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/perinatal-mental-health/10478792
Making the transition into parenthood can be hard for all sorts of reasons so if you are a new parent and you are finding it tough – it can be great to know you aren’t alone. Also know, that help is available!
Oh, I REALLY like this article from the ABC’s Life program about managing the competing demands of parenthood and work! https://www.abc.net.au/life/juggling-motherhood-and-a-career-carla-gee/10325824
This is a topic I spend a great deal of time discussing with new mums in my practice … because the reality is, for many families there is no financial choice but to have both parents return to work reasonably soon after they bring home a baby. But there are so many questions so answer within this….
How do you decide to stay home with the baby or return to work?
How soon is “too soon” to go back to work?
Should I go back full time or part time?
How do you find the balance?
How will all of this impact my career?
How am I going to be able to wake up to get to work in time, and not find myself covered in baby spew?
How do you deal with the judgement from (apparently) everyone else??
When I became a mother, I also became the recipient of loads and loads of unsolicited advice, whether it was from a friend over coffee, or from a stranger as I waited to cross the road with my kids.