Posts Tagged ‘Connections’

Connections at ASRM 2011 Summary

One of the most enjoyable aspects of attending a large professional meeting like the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Annual Meeting is connecting with colleagues, many of whom I had not yet met in person but had gotten to know virtually either via email or through social media.

Some of the highlights of this year’s conference include several delighting conversations and discussions with the following thought leaders in the infertility field:

Mikki Morrissette:

It was a pleasure to meet Mikki at ASRM. We discussed the potential option of having members of the Choice Mom community be able to donate directly to other Choice Mom members in either an open or anonymous fashion. While the details need to be worked out, I can’t help but think that the option is there for this group and others who would desire the same.

Barbara Collura

Executive Director of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association

Barb knows everything and everyone about infertility. She is the go-to-person for all issues involving infertility patient advocacy. As always, it was a pleasure and a learning experience in speaking to her. If I need to know what is really going on, she is the person I ask. I think we will be working quite closely together in the months to come and I know I will learn a tremendous amount from her.

Dawn Gannon

Chair-Elect at ASRM Women’s Council
Professional Outreach Manager at RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association

Having spent time with Dawn at other meetings, she is consistently engaging and knowledgeable and always has a smile on her face. She was one of a few women that I knew at the ASRM Women’s Council meeting, where I truly felt like the odd duck out. I know I will see her at other meetings and it is always enjoyable to spend a few moments with her.

Megan Fabian

Manager, Development and Outreach, Nightlight Christian Adoptions

Sitting next to Megan during the discussion regarding the personhood amendment was an interesting experience. Understanding that Nightlight is a pro-life organization, I winced a few times as speakers spoke about such individuals with condemnation. Understanding that this is a free society, I feel we should embrace their views as we equally embrace the views offered by pro-choice individuals. In speaking with her afterwards, I think Megan saw, perhaps for the first time, why some of us are so very concerned with using the phrase “embryo adoption,” understanding that assigning personhood to embryos would result in a host of unintended consequences that have the potential to change so much in the world of infertility and women’s healthcare. Even though EDI is not faith-based, we clearly had more in common than not in our united desire to reduce the number of cryopreserved embryos discarded or abandoned and building families whenever we can.

Dawn Davenport

Dawn is the executive director of Creating a Family, a nonprofit providing a tremendous amount of educationand support for infertility and adoption. While I had the pleasure of interacting with her online, this was my first opportunity to meet her. She is lovely, very bright and quite tall (I say that of many women as I am only 5’7″ on a good day). EDI may very well work closely with her in the future as we all try to decrease the number of cryopreserved embryos discarded or abandoned while “creating a family” where one would otherwise have not existed.

Amy Demma, Esq.

I wish I had a chance to spend a bit more time with Amy as we were both so very busy at this recent ASRM meeting. She is the absolute queen of social media and brings a tremendous amount of expertise, energy and enthusiasm to the medium. Perhaps we will have time to connect in San Francisco at the upcoming American Association Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (AAARTA) meeting. She is a gem and has a wealth of knowledge and contacts in the field of reproduction.

Davina Frankhauser, M.A.

This bright and insightful young woman is bringing a much-needed perspective to the world of infertility. She and Sandra O’Keefe founded Fertility within Reach™,which serves as an educational resource to increase access to ART for those who need it. I believe as a field, we will find her knowledge and connections invaluable in advocating for infertility awareness and equality as we protect the rights of the infertile patient while  facing off against those that believe the infertile patient is utterly expendable as they push for the personhood of embryos.

Judy Weiss, R.N.C.

Judy is a “mench,” a doer of good deeds. As a previous egg donor nurse coordinator who has decades of infertility counseling experience, her clear goal is to help find Jewish egg/sperm donors and surrogates for Jewish families. Understanding that many embryo donation centers are faith-based and frequently aligned with Christianity, she understood the ultimate value of Embryo Donation International. Since we are not faith-based and non-discriminatory, and a potential source of donated embryos with Jewish ancestry, she is excited to offer potential recipients our program. In addition, for those Jewish families who have excess cryopreserved embryos, we will provide a conduit to embryo recipients with similar heritage. I can tell we are going to get along great and work together creating families who would otherwise not exist.

Robert L. Klitzman, M.D.

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

It was interesting that the two of us showed up to the Legal Professional Group meeting, for which we are both members though neither of us are in the legal profession. Robert and I hit it off a couple of ethical dilemmas as we walked to another meeting. I was envious to learn that he had the opportunity to earn his master’s degree in medical ethics. Upon returning home, I soon discovered the number of books he has

written and can’t wait to pour over them. I can’t help but think we have a great deal in common and look forward to getting his input on a host of issues involving embryo donation and reproductive medicine.

Kathryn Kaycoff-Manos

Co-founder, Global IVF

It was lovely chatting with Kathryn Kaycoff-Manos, one of the directors of Global IVF, a Web resource for infertility consumers from all over the world who are looking for information about infertility treatment in

foreign countries. This can mean Americans looking for more affordable treatment options, especially for third party alternatives, as well as people from Europe, South America and Asia who must seek treatment elsewhere because of legal and accessibility restrictions in their home country. I am excited about the potential of collaborating with Global IVF on the international aspects of Embryo Donation International.