National Fertility Conference to focus on Infertility in the Year of Mercy

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-3-42-47-pm_200Bishop Mark Edwards, a member of the Bishops Commission for Family, Youth and Life will deliver the opening address at the National Fertility Conference in Melbourne this weekend, 16-18 September 2016.

On Friday evening, Bishop Edwards will address a public forum on the topic, ‘Infertility in the Year of Mercy- a Pastoral Response’.

The journey of infertility is a difficult one affecting one-in-six couples. Our technological culture promotes treatments like IVF which, unfortunately, have a low success rate and bypass the underlying cause(s).

Couples who prefer to conceive naturally, because of their religion or a desire for a healthier outcome, may struggle to find medical assistance, which aims to restore their fertility and offer hope.

In recent years, the number of Australian health care practitioners dedicated to a restorative approach to solving infertility has grown. The network includes doctors and members of the three national fertility awareness agencies*. Since 2014, they have met annually to promote therapies for infertility which are respectful of physical, mental and spiritual health, relationships and embryonic life.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-4-07-39-pmThis year marks the third National Fertility Conference at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne.

Bishop Edwards address will be followed by presentations from Ms Madonna McGahan (Executive Director Mission Leadership Mater Health Services) and Dr Luke McLindon (specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist), outlining the excellent work of the Fertility Assessment and Research Clinic at the Mater Mothers Hospital, Brisbane.

The weekend conference covers a range of topics including an overview of the important contribution of fertility awareness methods to women and an assessment of their health; endocrinological disorders which may be missed in a fertility workup; new insights in restorative surgical approaches to tubal infertility, endometriosis and polycystic ovaries; medical and surgical approaches to male infertility.

A case presentation session will explore the bioethical dilemmas that arise in reproductive medicine and provide theological, philosophical and clinical management insights into ethical decision making in this field. Importantly, an overview of fostering and adoption in Australia will be examined, highlighting problems and opportunities for change.

At the Conference dinner, the inaugural Nicholas Tonti-Filippini Memorial Scholarship for Bioethics will be presented as a tribute to one whose vision and endeavour initiated the first National Fertility Conference in September 2014.

This important Conference will encourage Catholic healthcare providers to be among the first to provide, in the words of Pope Francis, ‘field hospitals’ in infertility care, providing hope and healing to the many suffering with the associated loss and grief.

This Conference will be of great interest to medical and allied health professionals and students with an interest in this field, natural family planning educators, as well as clergy, pastoral care workers, those working in Marriage, Family and Life Offices and those affected by fertility issues.

* The Australian Council of Natural Family Planning, FertilityCare Centres of Australasia and the Ovulation Method Research and Reference Centre of Australia

For further information about the conference, please visit or email,

The conference is being organised by the Australasian Institute for Restorative Reproductive Medicine (AIRRM), in collaboration with the National Fertility Awareness Agencies:
Australian Council of Natural Family Planning Inc.
FertilityCare Centres of Australasia Inc.
Ovulation Method Research and Reference Centre of Australia Ltd.

Source :
Mary Tonti-Filippini