Our Professional Team
Dara Roth Edney
Dara has been practicing social work since 2000, and her focus includes reproductive counselling and mental health support, as well as research in these areas. She is committed to providing services that are inclusive, empathetic, personalized and helpful, informed by her educational background and years of clinical and research experience, and inspired by her own long journey with infertility, IVF and ultimately, surrogacy.
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, turned to gestational surrogacy. Today, she and her partner are grateful to have two daughters, each carried by a different and wonderful gestational surrogate.
Professionally in her daily practice, Dara draws from numerous therapeutic models, including: Emotion-Focused, Solution-Focused/Oriented Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour and Narrative Therapy, and Structural and Systems Therapy. When appropriate, she also incorporates Positive Psychology, Coaching and Mindfulness methodologies. She works closely with clinics and affiliated professionals across Canada, as well as with international patients from around the world coming to Ontario for treatment.
In addition to her counselling practice providing ongoing therapeutic supports, required counselling and assessments, group and peer support facilitation, Dara works closely with professional and community organizations and is a regularly invited speaker at conferences, workshops, webinars/live stream talks, community organizations, university campuses and fertility clinics. Beginning in the 2023/2024 school year, she will be an instructor in Wilfred Laurier University Faculty of Social Work Professional Development Program. She is 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 regard to Bill C-13 (legislation that led to the Assisted Human Reproductive Act), to more recently when she was an invited witness at the Ontario Legislature, presenting before the Standing Committee on Social Policy regarding Bill 28 (the All Families are Equal Act). In the years between and on an ongoing basis, Dara is involved in numerous other government consultations, as well as industry research.
She holds a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from the University of Toronto and Bachelors’ Degrees from York University (BSW) and McGill University (BA). She is a member of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS), holding the position of Chair of the Counselling Special Interest Group (CSIG) of the CFAS, as well as a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and ASRM’s Mental Health Practitioner’s Group (MHPG). She is a Registered Social Worker (RSW) with the Ontario College of Social Workers and the Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers, as well as a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) and a professional member of Fertility Matters, Canada’s patient support and advocacy group.
Dara feels very fortunate that her professional training, long 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, Donors and Surrogates, allows her to provide support and guidance that gets to the heart of the matter, with compassion, respect and pragmatism.
After joining Informed Fertility in 2022, along with Dara, her experience includes compassionately and respectfully conducting the required counselling and assessments for 3rd Party Donor and Surrogate arrangements, pre-IVF and Egg Freezing Counselling, as well as providing support to those dealing with infertility, miscarriage and bereavement.
Blair is passionate about providing positive foundations and wrap-around support for individuals, couples and groups hoping to grow their families through collaborative and assisted fertility options. She is able to provide sensitive education and thoughtful guidance to help clarify roles, expectations and potential outcomes during pre-conception, pregnancy and postpartum stages, as well as to those wishing to explore pathways to adoption, or considering life without children.
Blair earned her Master of Social Work degree at Columbia University and completed her bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation at Dalhousie University. Her therapy approach is strength based, mindful and solution focused. She is a current member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, Alberta College of Social Workers and the British Columbia College of Social Workers. She is a member in good standing of the Ontario Association of Social Workers, the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS), the Counselling Special Interest Group (CSIG) of the CFAS and a professional member of Fertility Matters.
On a personal note, Blair comes to fertility counselling after her own first-hand experience with surrogacy, having been a Gestational Carrier for close friends. Already indirectly familiar with the pain of infertility and loss through her role in foster and adoption work, this journey provided her with new insights into the world of assisted fertility, IVF and Collaborative Family Planning. Her surrogacy experience had a profound impact on her, leading to a mentorship with Dara, extensive professional development in the area of Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR), and ultimately, a full-time career shift into reproductive/fertility counselling.
Beyond her education and wealth of experience, Blair is warm-hearted, flexible, open-minded, and strongly believes in an inclusive and anti-discriminatory approach to care. She lives in Toronto, Ontario with her family and dog, is very proud to have been a gestational surrogate and now, a Family Building Practitioner with Informed Fertility.
Our Administrative Team
Personally, she is a survivor of domestic violence, and was a residential counsellor at a women’s shelter. During these years, she provided non-judgmental and practical crisis support, while honing her counselling skills. Following her role at the women’s shelter, she had the opportunity to combine her passion for the outdoors with her strong desire to support people who are struggling and became a wilderness field instructor for a youth-in-crisis program.
After a hiatus from the intensity of crisis counselling and the difficulties in starting her own family, she was looking for a way to step back from direct practice, while staying true to her personal goal of making a positive difference in people’s lives. When she was approached by Dara to provide administrate support to Informed Fertility’s growing practice, she was thrilled at the chance to work in this essential “front desk” role with therapists so deeply committed to inclusive, non-judgmental practice and with such a high degree of expertise, in a field so near and dear to her heart.
Knowing her professional background and personal fertility journey could be the foundation for how she helps others access the support they need, is tremendously meaningful to Hannah. She knows first-hand that a respectful and understanding administrative response can make a huge difference in people’s experience of and ability to access health and social services.
Hannah feels privileged to be the person behind the Informed Fertility counsellors and wants all prospective and current clients to know she looks forward to answering questions and helping to navigate the booking process so you can get the support you need and deserve through this challenging time in your life.