Dara Roth Edney
Assisted Fertility/Infertility Counsellor
My name is Dara Roth Edney and I have been practicing social work since 2000, with a Master’s degree from the University of Toronto. I was born in Montreal, Quebec but now live in downtown Toronto with my partner and our two daughters, both of whom were carried by wonderful gestational surrogates after our years long battle with infertility.
My personal struggle began back in 1998 and over the years, included countless invasive tests, surgeries, medications, unsuccessful intrauterine inseminations (IUI), numerous in-vitro fertilizations (IVF) and more anguish than I can express. During this period, while immersed in my own grief, I discovered how many others were struggling with infertility and loss as well.
Over time, my social work practice, which had been in geriatric women’s mental health, evolved into supporting women and men struggling with infertility and loss. And once it became clear that I would never be able to carry a baby myself, my personal journey informed my practice once again and I developed a unique expertise in the area of 3rd party reproduction (egg and sperm donation, surrogacy and embryo donation.) My practice is now entirely in the area of assisted fertility, supporting individuals and couples experiencing infertility/loss, and of course, also working with people accessing Assisted Reproduction (AR) options for reasons other than infertility, i.e. sexual orientation, gender identity, medical conditions, relationship status.
In 2001, while in the middle of my own battle with infertility, I became very involved in the developing legislation around Assisted Human Reproductive Technologies. I was invited to speak before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health in 2002 and consulted with Assisted Human Reproduction Canada (AHRC) for many years. Though the Agency has been disbanded, I continue to work with expert and public stakeholders to advocate for patients and highlight the needs of those of us who use these technologies to have our babies.
In my daily practice, I conduct the mandatory assessments for egg donors, known sperm donors, surrogates and embryo donors/recipients, as well as provide the required counselling for individuals/couples using donors and surrogates (this is called Intended Parent Implications Counselling and is not an assessment!).
While I compassionately support people experiencing infertility, I am equally committed to supporting people accessing AR options for reasons other than infertility, as well as supporting all the incredible women who act as surrogates, and the amazing women and men who donate their gametes so others can become parents.
I am here to support you while you deal with the profound emotions of infertility and loss, offer pragmatic guidance pertaining to short and long term decision-making processes impacting you and your future child(ren), and assist in developing effective coping strategies. My expertise includes individual and couple counselling, and grief counselling when treatment has been unsuccessful or when miscarriage/perinatal loss has occurred.
I am also here to offer support to surrogates and egg donors as they go through their own emotional and physical journey in reaching their goal of helping someone else create a family.
Though I am located in downtown Toronto, I offer remote counselling/assessments via Skype or Facetime, when appropriate.
My educational background, years of counselling in this field and my own personal experience with infertility, IVF and 3rd party reproduction, combined with knowledge of current research and practice methods, enables me to respond to the particular needs of clients and provide counselling that is empathetic, personalized and helpful. And happily, my services are covered by many employee Extended Health Benefit programs and are also tax deductible as a medical expense!
I am a Registered Social Worker (RSW) with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW), the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS), the Counselling Special Interest Group (CCSIG) of the CFAS, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and a Professional Member of the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada (IAAC). I am also a regularly invited speaker at the 519 LGBTQ Community Centre.
No matter what brought you to this point, I am here to support you, to answer your questions and to help facilitate what can be a very emotional, exciting, scary and wonderful journey – for Intended Parents and for surrogates and donors. Please remember that I am only a phone call – or email - away.
Dara Roth Edney