Navigating Infertility

How one Catalyst Grant winner plans to improve care.

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Women’s health research has historically been, and continues to be, gravely understudied and underfunded — meaning that doctors often aren’t equipped to provide patients the care they deserve. Daniela Palombo, Assistant Professor at the UBC Department of Psychology, felt the impacts of this personally.

“I realized there wasn’t enough research on how to help women navigate infertility while experiencing a difficult fertility journey of my own. When confronted with the intersection of these two parts of my life, I knew that I could apply my own expertise in psychology and cognitive science to make a difference.”

Daniela wanted to better understand how women process and remember challenging experiences related to infertility, the role social supports play in this, and how these memories might ultimately shape their self-identity and well-being. Unfortunately, without promising preliminary findings — something that didn’t exist because of the lack of prior research on this topic — all she had was the seed of an idea.

Enter, Catalyst Grants, a BC Women’s Health Foundation donor-funded award offered by the Women’s Health Research Institute (WHRI), these grants were created specifically to support the initial stages of innovative projects like Daniela’s. The only of their kind in BC, Catalyst Grants kick start some of our provinces’ most cutting-edge research on women’s and newborn’s health that otherwise would likely not be funded.

Daniela was awarded this funding in 2021 and is actively conducting her research project “A Woman’s Journey to Parenthood: Memory, Self-Schema, and Well-Being During Fertility Treatment”, coinvestigated by Dr. Samantha Dawson. And she’s not alone, 6 grants are funded each year thanks to the generosity of our donors — fundamentally impacting the landscape of women’s health for years to come.

Our 2022 Fall Impact Report, INVISIBLE TO INVINCIBLEhighlights a handful of ways that your investments are amplifying the voices of women, bridging the gender gap in women’s health research, and helping to fund vital equipment and upgrades at the province’s dedicated women’s hospital.