Specialist fertility counselling
As human beings one of our most deeply seated and instinctive drives is to have children and create a family of our own. Indeed we often have a sense of this family even though this might not be a wholly conscious one from a very early age. We assume that the creation of this family will occur as a natural part of our progression throughout life. Thus when problems with fertility occur this can come as a profound shock giving rise to a whole host of different emotions. It can even rock our whole sense of who we are and the future we envisage.
The journey through fertility treatment will be unique for every individual or couple as we all come with different previous experiences and with differing strengths, resources and sources of support. Treatment may be more or less complex or successful. Counselling with a specialist fertility counsellor is one source of support alongside others such as family, friends and support groups or forums.
So what can specialist counselling offer and who is it for? Well, it is available to anyone receiving treatment at CARE Fertility and at any stage of that treatment. It gives couples and individuals a safe and supportive space away from the clinical environment and with a counsellor not directly involved in clinical care but aware of the nature of this.
Whilst many people cope well with fertility treatment, for most it is a stressful experience. Unexpected emotions can arise suddenly and counselling can provide the opportunity to voice and explore these. Acknowledging, understanding and working with emotion to process and release it can be healthier and more helpful that struggling to avoid or being totally overwhelmed by it.
Patients often express a fear of compromising their treatment by being highly anxious or emotional. There is no evidence for this being the case. However learning techniques for dealing with and managing anxiety can help you both to be more comfortable and to feel more in control of your situation. Such techniques can be particularly useful for dealing with the two week wait to find out whether of not a cycle of treatment has been successful.
Treatment may give rise to complex and difficult decisions needing to be made about how to proceed. This can particularly be the case if you are looking at alternative ways of creating a family such as using donated sperm, eggs or embryos. As you work through these the counsellor will listen with empathy and respect and use careful questioning to help you clarify those beliefs and values which are important to you and your decision.
Treatment can have an impact on relationships, particularly for couples where individuals have differing feelings or beliefs about treatment or different ways of coping with their experience. It can be helpful to attend counselling together in order explore these differences and how to support one another.
The whole experience of infertility and treatment may for some exacerbate or trigger pre-existing issues of low mood, anxiety or relationship issues. These can be explored in counselling, and if appropriate a referral can be made for longer term, more specialist support or treatment.