Canadian Hospital Testing New App for People with Infertility Struggles
Clinicians and researchers at Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, along with a handful of community partners, are ready to test a new phone app that they hope will assist couples or individuals that are struggling with issues surrounding infertility.
The application has been given the name “Infotility” and is designed to provide information for those undergoing fertility treatments or considering treatments, and also serves to connect couples or individuals with others who are currently going through the same struggles, notes a press release by the hospital, which as an acute-care teaching facility affiliated with McGill University.
The hope is that it will be tested in several fertility clinics in the area within the next few months, with testing involving about 200 volunteers. Once the initial testing is complete, the developers plan to introduce the app to the general public, hopefully by the end of the calendar year.
It’s a tool that’s been a long time coming, say those who designed it, and they hope it’ll help take the loneliness out of the infertility struggle.
“Infertility is a very isolating experience because if you are a couple who is going through this, you are out of sync with your peers,” Dr. Phyllis Zelkowitz, who is heading the project, told CBC Montreal’s Daybreak on Tuesday.
“Most of your friends are having babies and sometimes it is hard to talk to your family because they don’t really understand the process. They want to help you, but it’s also painful for them.”
The app, which is being funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, aims to “promote reproductive health” and can be used by a couple or individual, the latter particularly aimed at adult male cancer survivors who may be facing fertility issues due to the disease or its treatment.
The app is split into 3 components:
1) What you need to know, which provides info about diagnosing infertility and treatments available to address it;
2) what people can do as they go through the process including info about getting through treatments more easily as well as info on nutrition and exercise; and
3) an opportunity to connect with others facing similar experiences and challenges.
“People want to have information,” Zelkowitz points out. “They want to compare their experiences to the experiences of other people to kind of see, ‘is this normal?'”
However, Zelkowitz believes the major advantage in using this app is that users will know they are receiving reliable information on things like mental well-being, eating right, and – of course – treatments. She fears that too many infertile couples immediately head to the internet when challenges occur and often are provided with misinformation from untrustworthy sources, which can be debilitating in many instances.