IVF Counselling and Fertility Support
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The team at CARE aims to provide the best possible care for every patient and this includes attending to their emotional as well as to their physical needs. For this reason a professional and confidential counselling service is available to all patients before, during and after treatment.
Infertility is recognised as being a major life crisis which can cause enormous emotional pain. Losing our fertility can be like losing our future not only can we not be parents, we won't be grandparents either. We are denied all the joys and the heartaches of nurturing children. We can feel excluded in a society which puts so much emphasis on couples with children; left behind by our friends when they start having babies, and pressurised by our families who want to know why we don't start a family. All this can result in a confusion of conflicting emotions; anger at the injustice of it all; envy of couples with children; depression and fear at the prospect of an empty childless future.
Having children is what most of us expect to be able to do when we decide we want to, and when we can't, we can lose confidence in ourselves, our self esteem can hit rock bottom and we may feel somehow incomplete as sexual beings, failures as men and women. Life can lose its meaning. And when we start treatment we are faced with a whole new set of stresses.
It is hard to over estimate how stressful fertility treatment can be. And it is often made worse by the fact that infertility is not spoken about openly so the isolation that couples so frequently feel is increased. It is not surprising given all this, that couples going through fertility treatment can often benefit from counselling.
When Can Counselling Help?
Counselling can be helpful at any stage throughout treatment – and afterwards. You can come as a couple or individually. Sometimes people just need support, a quiet place to come and talk about how they feel without fear of being judged or misunderstood.
In some cases loss of fertility, a failed treatment, a miscarriage or stillbirth can trigger off profound feelings of depression and despair.
Sometimes treatment itself can bring up things from our past that we thought we'd forgotten or left behind. Counselling can help to make sense of these thoughts and feelings that at first may seem senseless.
When couples are considering having treatment with donor eggs or sperm, or are planning to share eggs, it can be extremely useful to talk through the implications of this treatment with a counsellor who is not involved in their treatment, and who can help them to explore the important issues in an impartial and non advice-giving way.
How Can Counselling Help?
In counselling it is possible to talk through our feelings about our infertility and its treatment; its success or failure as well as other things that are happening in our lives which are causing us stress and distress. Expressing painful feelings can often help to relieve the pain and we can feel less alone, less burdened.
It is not a weakness to talk about how bad we feel at times, to grieve openly for what we've lost. In fact, it is positive and healthy and can actually reduce our stress levels.
Counselling allows us to do this in a safe environment where you will never be judged or thought silly. And it is confidential. Each session lasts for an hour, and for couples who live at a distance, it is possible to arrange contact by telephone.
Counselling is a positive process, aimed at increasing your power and sense of control while you are going through a treatment programme that can so often make you feel powerless and out of control. It can be a way of taking care of yourself while undergoing treatment at CARE, and the medical team actively encourages couples to do this.
Couples who are infertile and who are coping with the trauma of treatment are dealing with loss often more loss than many people have to deal with in a lifetime. The counselling process can help people to work through their grief, help them to mourn their loss and begin to find new ways forward.
When Can I See a Counsellor?
CARE provides a professional counselling service, to all patients before, during and after treatment.
Please contact your local CARE centre for more details.