Professionally, Dara has been practicing social work in Toronto, Canada since 2000, and her focus includes reproductive counselling, as well as fertility and mental health research. She is committed to providing service that is inclusive, anti-discriminatory and non-judgmental. Dara works with individuals, couples and families experiencing primary or secondary infertility or seeking assisted fertility options due to sexual orientation, gender identity, relationship status or unrelated medical conditions. She provides support in dealing with the profound emotions of infertility and loss, including marriage and grief counselling, offers pragmatic decision-making guidance and help in developing effective coping strategies. She facilitates co-parenting arrangements, conducts assessments required in advance of donor/surrogacy cycles, and mediation services when needed.
In her daily practice, Dara draws from numerous therapy models, including: Solution-Focused/Oriented Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Structural and Systems Therapy. She works closely with clinics and affiliated professionals across Canada, as well as with patients from around the world. Dara is dedicated to evidence-based practice that is empathetic, personalized and helpful.
In addition to her counselling practice, Dara works closely with professional and community organizations and is a regularly invited speaker at conferences and workshops. She is also actively involved in government consultations. Beginning in 2002, when she delivered an invited presentation to the Canadian Legislature House of Commons, Standing Committee on Health, in regards to Bill C-13, to more recently when she was an invited witness at the Ontario Legislature, presenting before the Standing Committee on Social Policy regarding Bill 28. In the years in between and on an ongoing basis, Dara is involved in numerous other government consultations, as well as industry research.
Personally, Dara experienced years of infertility herself, and eventually, after countless tests and surgeries, numerous unsuccessful intrauterine inseminations (IUIs) and multiple failed in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles, Dara and her partner turned to gestational surrogacy. Today, they are the very grateful parents of two daughters; each one carried by a different and wonderful Gestational Surrogate.
Dara feels very fortunate that her professional training, personal experience with infertility and her family’s journey through surrogacy (twice!) combine to provide a unique and empathetic perspective for her clients. Her ability to respond to the particular needs of Intended Parents, as well as Donors and Surrogates, allows her to provide support and guidance that gets to the heart of the matter, with compassion, respect and pragmatism.
She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Toronto and Bachelors’ Degrees from York University (BSW) and McGill University (BA). Dara is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers (RSW), a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) and a professional member of Fertility Matters, a patient support and advocacy group. She is also a member of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) and the Canadian Counselling Special Interest Group (CCSIG) of the CFAS, as well as the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).