Katie Paquin, a social worker, counsellor, women’s health advocate and owner of Her Helping Habit, has been nominated for a Women of Excellence Award. Photo Submitted

Sylvan Lake counsellor nominated for Women of Excellence Award

Katie Paquin has been nominated in the Health and Wellness category, for her work in women’s health

Sylvan Lake social worker and councillor Katie Paquin has been nominated for a Women of Excellence award in the Health and Wellness category.

Paquin is a fertility expert and a women’s health advocate, who, at the age of 25, is working to decriminalize surrogacy and egg donation in Canada.

She says to be nominated for this award, and at her age, is simply amazing.

“I’m really just surprised someone local saw me and nominated me for this award,” she said.

Paquin founded Her Helping Habit, which “specializes in helping women on their journey to motherhood,” in 2018. She has been working full-time with Her Helping Habit for just under a year.

Simply being nominated for a Women of Excellence Award will help further her work advocating for women’s health.

The nomination will give weight to her work, she says.

“This means there are people in Central Alberta who see me and find value in my work, people who back my work on a local level,” Paquin said.

“My age has been against me a lot, this will help give me more credibility.”

Her advocacy work focuses on bringing affordable fertility treatment to Canada through decriminalized surrogacy and egg donation.

She says women face a number of barriers in becoming a mother, one of which is the cost associated with fertility treatments.

“Right now egg donation comes from the States, and it is very expensive. It costs about $15,000 for six eggs, and you would be lucky to get a child from it,” said Paquin.

The cost associated with egg donation, In Vitro Fertilization and other fertility treatments are costly, and many of Paquin’s patients come to her for counselling when the financial strain becomes too much.

“Fertility treatment is not covered at all in Canada, and it is costly.”

Women’s fertility starts to decline at the age of 25, it then drops steeply at the age of 30 and by the age of 35 it becomes incredibly difficult for women to conceive.

This is why Paquin provides educational and support services for women regarding their reproductive health.

In addition to her advocacy work, Paquin is working to expand the educational component of her work with an online sex education course.

The plan is to offer the course, which will include topics such significant hormonal changes, healthy relationships, how to set boundaries, consent and masturbation, using appropriate language and information regardless of the youth’s sexual orientation.

This year the Women of Excellence Awards will be done virtually. The gala will be held on June 13 at 7 p.m. tickets to the virtual event are $25 each and can be purchased through the Red Deer and District Community Foundation website.

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