Graduate Focus – Oana Gharbi, getthegoldenegg.com

Hi, I am Oana, a French-Romanian journalist and communication specialist turned Infertility Patient Advocate.

“Sometimes, although it may sound like a cliché, we really don’t choose the path we walk on. The path chooses us, and with passion and determination, it takes us places we never expected to go.

Diagnosed with secondary infertility after a second trimester loss, I spent a couple of years doing fertility treatments. It was an exhausting experience, both physically and psychologically.

People tend to believe that IVF is some sort of magic wand, meant to turn any egg into a lovely baby. The truth is, it’s not. And for every successful couple, there is at least another couple, which, at the end of the journey remains not only childless, but also drained, depressed and broke. Infertility takes a toll on women, takes a toll on couples, and it would have been a blessing for me to have someone to guide and support me along the way.

There wasn’t anyone there, so I started to “help” myself, to educate myself hoping I will understand what was happening to me. I started reading a lot of medical literature, writing articles for specialty magazines, I even launched a blog. I was dreaming of a virtual community for women like me, and I couldn’t find one.

So I started my own Facebook group dedicated to women over 40 having a hard time getting pregnant, or staying pregnant. We are now counting 7000 members, and growing steady.

The fact is, I used to offer Patient Advocate services for my community, for free, long before I knew what a Patient Advocate ever was. My advice was never medical, but the eye-opening unbiased input of someone who has been there and has a clear view on a familiar situation. I would provide my fellow “getthegoldeneggers” with scientific facts, under the form of medical studies and articles, so they were able to advocate for themselves in their interactions with their healthcare providers.

I have helped them see light in moments of despair, or get real when there was no point in hoping against hope. We celebrated every little success, and at one point I just knew: if my own journey hasn’t produced a positive outcome, it was not all in vain. My own struggle turned into my passion, and my passion turned into my mission: I was to help other women – other couples – navigate the unsettled waters of infertility.

Patient advocacy doesn’t necessarily require degrees and diplomas. It requires ethics, empathy, determination and a thorough knowledge of the medical process. It requires helping the client to keep a clear mind, to make informed decisions and find the right ways to communicate with the medical team.

Yet I wanted to offer my clients the best, so I pursued my education. I used lockdown to my advantage, and I obtained several certificates from prestigious British Universities. I had the passion, I had the knowledge, and all that was missing was a better know-how, an even more tailored approach. IHS and the Health and Wellness coach course was the obvious choice for me. Infertility should never be taken out of context, for it is more often than not a marker for overall health.

The Health and Wellness coach course helped me accompany my clients more effectively in their journey. Being healthy, making adequate choices and taking care of both body and spirit is a sine qua non condition for an improved fertility.

Thanks to IHS I have reached a new step in my continuous professional development, and I trust I have made a great decision choosing them.

If you’re curious about my work or you need help in your infertility journey, you can find me at getthegoldenegg.com or on Instagram @getthegoldenegg