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Notable People: Dr. Kim Garbedian Is Transforming Fertility Care in Canada with Pollin Fertility

Dr. Garbedian is one of Canada’s leading reproductive health experts, dedicated to providing evidence-based and compassionate fertility care. Now leading the newly opened Pollin Fertility clinic, Dr. Garbedian and her team are reimagining fertility care.

Dr. Garbedian is certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN) and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI). She is a member of the Canadian Fertility & Andrology Society (CFAS), the Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Canada (SOGC), and the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).

Photo by Pollin Fertility

What inspired you to co-create Pollin Fertility as the Medical Director and Founding Doctor?  

My inspiration for co-founding Pollin Fertility came from a deep commitment to addressing the physical and emotional challenges individuals and couples face when trying to conceive. Throughout my career as a fertility expert, I witnessed firsthand the need for a more compassionate and patient-centred approach to fertility care. Additionally, I feel like there is a need for health providers to embrace digital technology to optimize treatment protocols, improve outcomes, and enhance the overall patient experience. This inspired me to collaborate with a dedicated team to create Pollin Fertility, where we could redefine the standard of care in the field.

Our vision was to establish a fertility center that not only offered cutting-edge fertility care but also prioritized the emotional well-being of our patients. We wanted to create an environment where individuals and couples felt supported, informed, and empowered throughout their fertility journey. 

How do you envision Pollin Fertility’s role in changing Canada’s reproductive health landscape?

Pollin Fertility will transform fertility care in Canada, offering a state-of-the-art lab positioned to achieve the highest success rates in the industry. The launch of Pollin comes in response to the fact that many fertility clinics still run analog processes with very limited digitization. Consider a world in which our banks still work with pen or paper. Why should fertility clinics be any different? Pollin believes patients should have similar expectations from their fertility clinic than those of Uber or Amazon. There are too many benefits of automating processes that serve all parties, and Pollin is excited to be on the cutting edge of bringing this to market. 

In addition to the clinical excellence that many others in the fertility industry offer, Pollin employs a full technology and engineering team that is building out technology products that will lead to a better patient experience and, ultimately, higher success rates. 

Pollin Fertility emphasizes using innovative technologies to enhance fertility outcomes. How do you see this integration of technology and medicine shaping the future of fertility care?

In recent years, the field of fertility medicine has witnessed remarkable advancements. One noteworthy development is the refinement of pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT), which allows us to screen embryos for genetic abnormalities before implantation. Additionally, there’s been significant progress in the utilization of artificial intelligence to optimize fertility treatments, making personalized recommendations based on patient data. Fertility is a really interesting challenge when it comes to technology because a high-performing clinic functions like a hospital. Many different components need to work together harmoniously, and when they do, it can produce tremendous results. 

Pollin Fertility has built a multifaceted technology product that touches almost all aspects of the fertility journey. Patients will be able to interface with the clinic via a mobile application, which provides greater transparency, access and ease. Pollin’s software is built to capture a great deal of data points along the complex journey so that AI and machine learning can be applied to all aspects affecting outcomes and success rates. 

Additionally, the clinic runs on its own custom Electronic Medical Record (EMR), which the team has been developing for the past 18 months. This EMR is built specifically for fertility and is the cornerstone of Pollin’s operations. It enables the Clinic, Care team and embryology lab to work together more efficiently and effectively in service of the patient. 

Can you share more about the “Pollin Digital Experience” and how it aims to revolutionize the patient experience in fertility healthcare?

The “Pollin Digital Experience” represents our commitment to leveraging technology to enhance and streamline the patient experience. We understand that the fertility journey can be overwhelming, with numerous appointments, tests, and treatment options. Therefore, we’ve developed a comprehensive digital platform that empowers our patients at every step.

Our digital platform offers easy scheduling and seamless communication, ensuring patients can connect with us effortlessly. We are committed to empowering our patients with knowledge through extensive educational resources, including videos, injection demonstrations, and articles. We understand that tracking your fertility journey can be overwhelming, which is why our digital system allows you to monitor your progress and medication schedules conveniently. We’re revolutionizing fertility healthcare by merging these advanced digital tools with our personalized approach. Our mission is to make the journey more convenient, transparent, and supportive for our valued patients.

How do you ensure that the care provided at Pollin Fertility is comprehensive and personalized to each patient’s unique journey?

At Pollin Fertility, we pride ourselves on offering a comprehensive approach to fertility care. All of our fertility experts are OBGYNs with sub-specialty training in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) who use the most advanced diagnostic and treatments available. Our approach begins with a thorough understanding of each patient’s unique circumstances, encompassing their medical history, emotional well-being, and personal goals. We firmly believe in customizing treatment plans to meet these distinct needs, recognizing that emotional aspects are just as crucial as the physical ones. We prioritize open and transparent communication, ensuring patients are well-informed and empowered at every step of their fertility treatment. In addition to our patient-centric approach, we place a strong emphasis on lifestyle and health optimization, acknowledging their profound impact on fertility. Our ultimate goal is not only to achieve successful outcomes but also to provide unwavering emotional support. This holistic approach at Pollin Fertility is designed to deliver not only successful treatments but also the emotional support necessary for our patients’ overall well-being. 

What challenges do you foresee in the reproductive health sector, and how is Pollin Fertility positioned to address them?

Pollin Fertility is dedicated to overcoming the common barriers fertility patients encounter, such as accessibility, affordability, and emotional impact. We are set up for both in-person and virtual care, ensuring accessibility for underserved areas and those with mobility limitations. To address affordability, Pollin Fertility assists patients in navigating insurance options, provides transparent pricing structures, and offers financing plans. We know equitable access to IVF is important, and we’re working towards solutions that will support our patients. Pollin Fertility recognizes the importance of emotional well-being during this process and has partnered with groups, such as Informed Fertility,  to provide comprehensive emotional support services. Additionally, Pollin Fertility remains at the forefront of reproductive health advancements, continuously updating their treatment protocols. By addressing these challenges and focusing on the comprehensive well-being of our patients, Pollin Fertility is committed to providing the highest standard of care in reproductive health while continuously striving to improve the patient experience.

With the recent investment from FH Health, what are the next steps for Pollin Fertility in terms of growth and innovation?

The recent investment will go towards three elements of growth: our technology, our flagship clinic and cross-Canada growth:

  • Our technology:  In addition to a state-of-the-art clinic, Pollin has built a multifaceted technology product that touches almost all aspects of the fertility journey. Patients can interface with the clinic via a mobile application, which provides greater transparency, access and ease. 
  • Our flagship clinic: Encompassing a 25,000 sq. foot clinic at the heart of Toronto’s Yonge and Eglington district, Pollin’s first clinic will offer a state-of-the-art lab and inviting environment that patients will feel proud to visit. 
  • Additional satellite locations in other cities/provinces: Pollin is poised to become a major player in Canada’s reproductive space, which will come with expansion to other cities and provinces.

Your passion for reproductive health awareness, education, and evidence-based innovation is evident. Can you share a personal experience or moment that solidified this passion for you?

Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of working with a diverse group of individuals and couples who were navigating the challenges of infertility. What became increasingly evident to me was the lack of awareness and understanding surrounding fertility issues. It was a recurring theme in my practice to encounter patients who were unaware of the factors that can affect fertility, their fertility options, and the emotional toll that infertility can take. Many had misconceptions about the process of conception and believed in myths and misinformation. 

During a consultation, a patient raised a valid question about the lack of Canadian fertility doctors on social media platforms dedicated to raising awareness and educating patients. This motivated me to investigate the existing social media landscape accessible to my patients and subsequently inspired me to contribute a positive and supportive expert presence to their online feeds. Through my Instagram, I wanted to help reduce the stigma around infertility and empower individuals and couples to take control of their reproductive health. My feed is dedicated to raising awareness around reproductive health, sharing evidence-based information about fertility, debunking myths, and offering emotional support to those going through fertility challenges.

Whether working one-on-one with my patients or reaching out through social media and writing, I am dedicated to raising awareness about fertility and reproductive health. I firmly believe that reducing the stigma and increasing knowledge in this area can remove barriers that often prevent patients from accessing proper care, ultimately leading to better outcomes and a more fulfilling reproductive health journey for all.

Can you share more about your holistic approach to fertility care and why you believe it’s essential?

Our holistic approach to fertility care recognizes that fertility challenges encompass not only the physical but also the emotional, psychological, and social aspects of a person’s life. It’s essential because it addresses the whole individual or couple, not just their medical condition. We tailor our care to each patient’s unique circumstances and needs.

This approach is crucial because it acknowledges that emotional well-being plays a significant role in the fertility journey. By providing emotional support, counselling, and support groups, we help patients navigate the psychological aspects of their fertility struggles, reducing stress and increasing their chances of success. Additionally, we offer educational resources to empower patients with knowledge and help them make informed decisions about their treatment options.

By treating the whole person and not just their condition, we foster a sense of empowerment, reduce anxiety, and ultimately improve our patient’s overall experience and outcomes on their journey to parenthood.

As a leader in the field, what advice would you give aspiring medical professionals seeking to specialize in reproductive health?

I would advise aspiring medical professionals to prioritize empathy and compassionate care. Reproductive health issues can be deeply personal and sensitive, so it’s crucial to approach patients with understanding and respect. The field requires strong communication skills to effectively educate and support patients in making informed decisions about their reproductive health. Collaboration with a multidisciplinary team is also essential for comprehensive care.

Additionally, it’s important to stay committed to continuous learning and keeping up with the latest research and advancements in the field. As the exciting field of medicine is starting to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) to improve patient care and IVF outcomes, you have to be adaptive and flexible and continually evolve your practice to include the latest guidelines and technology. 

Lastly, maintain a strong ethical foundation and always prioritize the well-being and autonomy of your patients.

Photo by Dr. Kim Garbedian

Follow Dr. Garbedian on Instagram @dr. kim_md, where she’s passionate about increasing fertility awareness and empowering individuals to make informed choices about their reproductive health.

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