Fertially: Not just another fertility platform
With so much information already available online you might ask whether there is room for one more platform.
The first conversation I have with anyone looking for answers to their fertility issues online is not about their ‘problem’ or about solutions to it. It is about how frustrating it is trying to find an answer at all, or at least an answer they can confidently assume is honest, transparent and correct.
There are growing numbers of forums, patient support platforms, and influencers offering general and bespoke advice on every aspect of fertility you can think of. But, who should we believe, who should we trust?
I am sure that most of us involved with providing patient care, support, and signposting do so from a deep conviction of wanting to help others. This might be based on our own personal experience, a professional interest or simply because we are paid to provide the best possible advice. In areas of life which have been addressed online (which is basically all areas of life) there will always be those trying to exploit the vulnerable and the fertility world is no different. In my experience however, the fertility community although not immune to this, is, on the whole, a trustworthy one. BUT, whilst we can say with some confidence the majority of information from trustworthy sources is accurate to a point it can sometimes be misleading or open to interpretation.
Any searches we perform online, any articles we read, and any forums we join therefore need to be viewed and considered with a certain degree of care. Whether we are comparing success rates, reading patient reviews or choosing treatment providers we have to be mindful that the information provided by a particular source might be open to interpretation and we should always, always, seek to compare, or confirm with others, before we decide on a particular course of action.
I was recently approached to consider the merits of a new initiative called FertiAlly.com, a simple (aren’t all the best ideas based on a simple proposition?) platform which provides straightforward answers offered by experts to straightforward questions posed by patients. I liked the idea so much I got involved in spreading the word. I like the simplicity of the concept where fertility experts are asked the questions that are really important to patients and their responses are captured on video and posted online for all to access freely. And, with a nod to honesty, transparency and an acknowledgement that we are dealing with complicated issues there are sometimes different answers given by different experts to the same question! Doesn’t this add to the confusion, I hear you ask. No, I don’t think it does, it is reassuring in many respects that questions posed by patients prompt reaction, differences of opinion and generate discussion. In many respects this is how we all learn, and I firmly believe that anyone who has questions about their fertility health or are considering treatment options should participate and listen to debates and answers created by fellow patients.
This is where the unique nature of the FertiAlly platform sits. It simply allows patients to drive the conversation rather than being directed or led by professionals.
By driving the dialogue, it is the patient that will ultimately benefit by getting the answers that are important to them and which will enable them to make fully informed decisions about the direction their fertility treatment, care and support should take.
Although still in its infancy, FertiAlly has quickly built up a bank of almost 70 worldwide fertility experts spanning different specialisms.
Patients can also contribute to the development of the newly launched European Fertility Society (EFS), an independent, not for profit organisation set up to safeguard and promote the interests of both patients and treatment providers. For each answer published on the fertially website a donation of 5 Euros will be made to the EFS.
I began this article by talking about the multitude of platforms that you can access for information and help on every aspect of (in)fertility and this number appears to be growing on daily basis. The FertiAlly platform should not however be simply disregarded as the next in a very long line, it is far more than that.
Check out the FertiaAlly YouTube channel for yourself.