The ATMS Fertility Symposium 2022
ATMS is hosting a special event, the Fertility Symposium, focused on educating practitioners on the ways in which complementary and allopathic medicine professionals can help couples trying to have a family.
Specialisation in fertility is increasing as natural healthcare is highly efficacious in enabling women to become pregnant and carry through to a healthy birth. Practitioners will learn the latest in complementary medicines and medical technology which can offer clinical support to people trying to conceive.
There are five sessions presented by experienced professionals, Professor William Ledger, Leah Hechtman, Amy Forth, Katey Weekes and Rhiannon Hardingham.
Practitioners will learn about:
- Next Generation IVF
- Strategies for improving the inter-communication between the oocyte and sperm
- Evidenced-based TCM fertility herbs for women
- Nutritional psychology and supporting the headspace for fertility
- Male factors in fertility
This event is aimed at practitioners wanting to learn more about how natural therapies can assist and support clients seeking fertility treatments.
We’re pleased to offer a recording of the livestream for this event. If you would like to purchase a streaming ticket BOOK HERE.
Speakers and Sessions
Presenter: Professor William Ledger MA, DPhil (Oxon) BM, Bah, FRANZCOG, FRCOG, CREI
About Professor William Ledger: Professor Ledger is Head of Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales, Director of Reproductive Medicine and Senior Staff Specialist at the Royal Hospital for Women and a fertility specialist at City Fertility, Sydney.
His research interests focus on in vitro fertilisation and assisted reproduction, impacts of reproductive ageing and disorders such as endometriosis, premature ovarian failure and polycystic ovary syndrome on fertility and quality of life, reproductive effects of cancer treatment and onco-fertility and health economic and demographic aspects of infertility.
Session 1: Next Generation IVF – how it works & case studies
Session overview: In this talk, Professor Ledger will review the history of the specialty, explain how IVF got to where it is and look ahead at what the future holds.
Next Gen IVF is not only for the infertile. It applies to those with familial genetic problems, it also applies to otherwise healthy women who are mindful of the impact of ageing on their potential fertility, and applies to young people with cancer trying to preserve fertility before chemotherapy.
It brings numerous ethical and clinical challenges, and there is an ever more complex range of options that those of us working in the area need to be able to explain and interpret for patients with honesty and accuracy.
Presenter: Leah Hechtman, Clinician, Researcher, Author and Educator
About Leah Hechtman: Leah is an experienced and respected clinician and has been in private practice for over 20 years. Leah specialises in fertility, pregnancy and reproductive medicine and holds fellowships and memberships with many International organisations. She sits on multiple Scientific Advisory boards and is a Past President of the NHAA.
Leah is a keynote speaker and an author of multiple seminal naturopathic textbooks and is a contributor to journals and other texts within the Naturopathic and Functional Medicine areas as well as general gynaecology, fertility and infertility.
Session 2: Why don’t we talk anymore? – strategies for improving the inter-communication between the oocyte and sperm
Session overview: In an age of concerning infertility statistics the intercommunication between gametes is increasingly important. What makes the oocyte and sperm find each other, how the oocyte selects and accepts her chosen’ sperm, how they fuse and eventually fertilise is of significant importance for clinicians.
It is essential to understand the latest research of how this dynamic interplay occurs, what interferes with this process and how as clinicians we can increase the fecundity for each couple. It is not merely a sperm and an oocyte being present but an intricate dance involving the microbiomes, nutritional status and biochemical complexity and of course a dash of sheer brilliance of the human body.
Presenter: Amy Forth BHSc MGHDS; Director, Acupuncture Pregnancy Clinic Alexandria
About Amy Forth BHSc MGHDS: Amy is a Chinese Medicine practitioner, educator and researcher with a special interest in IVF support, fertility, women’s health and pregnancy care committed to the development of integrative models of health care.
Amy is the Director of The Acupuncture Pregnancy Clinic Alexandria, an integrative acupuncture clinic that offers evidence and research-based IVF, fertility and pregnancy care located in Alexandria Specialist Day Hospital in Sydney, alongside IVF Australia. Amy has been in practice since 2008.
Session 3: Evidenced-based TCM fertility herbs for women
Session overview: This talk is divided into 3 parts:
The first part focuses on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) concepts surrounding fertility, common patterns of disharmony found in fertility patients and explains the TCM perspective in relation to commonly used (TCM and western) herbs such as Rehmannia, Peony, Angelica and Astragalus.
In the second part Amy will review the research and discuss the evidence and efficacy of TCM herbal medicine and key researched herbal formulas.
The final part will discuss key strategies to create a successful multi-disciplinary and team-based approach to care. This section will cover how interprofessional communication can foster a team-based approach to care, that is collaborative in nature, and delivers the most comprehensive care possible without stepping on anyone’s toes.
Presenter: Katey Weekes, Founder of Peachy Natural Health and Fertility
About Katey Weekes: Katey is a highly accomplished clinical Naturopath and Nutritionist specialising in hormone health and fertility, IVF support, pregnancy and postnatal care with postgraduate studies in Natural Fertility Education. In addition to her clinical work, Katey is also the Senior Clinical Consultant and Team Leader for Bio Concepts’ Technical Support Team in Brisbane.
As the founder of Peachy Natural Health and Fertility in Brisbane Queensland, Katey consults both nationally and internationally and is passionate about supporting fertility and ART patients as well as working with multiple pregnancies and other high-risk presentations. Katey is frequently invited to present for and mentor large practitioner audiences in the areas of male and female reproductive health, mental health and pathology.
Session 4: Nutritional psychology and supporting the headspace for fertility
Session overview: 1 in 8 couples have complications achieving or sustaining pregnancy and 30-55% of these couples report significant symptoms of depression and 60-75% suffer significant anxiety. Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatment and fertility medications may certainly provide much needed assistance for these couples, but they have also been associated with anxiety and depression and may compound these psychological issues. Despite this prevalence, the majority of couples refrain from sharing their story with family or friends, increasing psychological vulnerability.
In this presentation, you will discover a deeper understanding of what is happening within the headspace of fertility. Learn how to support the interaction between hormones and neurotransmitters, implement effective and suitable prescriptions alongside ART medications and tap into some often-overlooked nutritional medicines to successfully support your fertility patients.
Presenter: Rhiannon Hardingham BHsc
About Rhiannon Hardingham BHsc: Rhiannon is a highly experienced fertility naturopath, with 17 years’ experience in busy clinical practice.
Specialising in male and female infertility, IVF support and pregnancy care, Rhiannon expertly supports couples and individuals in their successful efforts to overcome fertility challenges.
Rhiannon is committed to the successful integration of natural and conventional medicine, regularly working alongside Melbourne’s top fertility doctors to achieve the best outcomes for her patients. As testament to this, Rhiannon is routinely invited to present on the topic of collaborative patient care to medical professionals and naturopaths alike.
After her significant experience in the area of infertility and IVF support, Rhiannon provides professional mentoring and education for functional medicine practitioners in both group and individual settings. This highly specialised area is outside the scope of standard naturopathic education and as such, her reproduction and hormonal masterclasses mentoring programs are a rare opportunity for practitioners to further their skills.
Rhiannon has co-authored the book Create A Fertile Life. This comprehensive pre-conception healthcare guide for both patients and practitioners, has become a staple for those wishing to overcome infertility and prepare for a healthy pregnancy.
For further information regarding practitioner education and mentoring visit www.rhiannonhardingham.com
Session 5: Male Factor Fertility: The importance of not overlooking the other half
Session overview: Male factor is thought to contribute to 50% of infertility presentations, and the scientific literature now confirms without question that sperm viability in the Western male population is on a steep decline. Evidence heavily suggests that diet, lifestyle and environmental exposures are responsible (Levine et al, 2017). Despite this, an unfortunate and undeniable clinical blind spot persists when it comes to thorough management of this patient group.
In this talk, Rhiannon will discuss relevant clinical assessment and diagnostic considerations for the male fertility patient, including an in-depth examination of semen analysis testing and interpretation.
The complex preconception requirements of this patient group will be reviewed, along with an illustration of how appropriate individualised preparation can significantly influence fertility, including IVF, outcomes.