Infertility Counseling: How Will It Help?
You May Benefit From Infertility Counseling If…
You received an official infertility diagnosis.
There are So Many Ways Infertility Counseling Can Support You
Yes, dear friends, it’s that simple. The official infertility diagnosis often sends one or both halves of the relationship into a tailspin. Even if you suspected it all along, even if deep down you knew something wasn’t quite right – hearing it from a fertility specialist’s mouth can cause the most stalwart of adults to collapse into a helpless heap for a while.
If we had our way, couples would take advantage of infertility counseling right away for an initial consultation or two as a way of processing information that the wider family and friendship community may not identify with, know much about and/or have the capacity relate to.
Infertility counseling provides you with tools to process the many different emotions that come up (or that you feel you have to keep bottled in), so you can more clearly identify the fertility path that’s right for you. We should point out that fertility counselors are licensed therapists or clinicians who have typically experienced infertility and/or fertility treatments themselves. Thus, they truly understand where you have been, where you are and what lies in store as you move forward.
Additionally, fertility-specific counseling is helpful at various points along that fertility treatment path, helping individuals and couples cope with:
- Failed fertility treatments
- Successful treatments – (Hurray! And, now what?)
- Keeping the romance and sexuality of your relationship alive
- The depression, anxiety, anger and resentment that cycles through the infertility journey
- Deeper explorations of what it means to use a donor egg, donor sperm or a donor embryo and what it will mean if you decide to donate your own embryos
- Identifying when you need a break from fertility treatments and/or when to start back up again
- Decisions regarding what to do with remaining embryos once your family is complete
It’s important to have an outlet who understands you – – as well as all the acronyms
Unless one of your really good friends has gone through fertility treatments, you probably won’t have a whole lot of people in your immediate circle who know what you’re talking about. Most people are clueless when it comes to all the medical terminology, test results and infertility acronyms that are going to fly out of your mouth here pretty soon (just spend 30-minutes reading infertility forums or blogs and you’ll get a hint of what we mean here…). That experience can be pretty isolating.
Many couples choose not to share their new information with friends and family, which is a another level of isolation. In either scenario, having an infertility counselor in the wings can be a helpful tool. They are there when you need them to help you sort things out, they are happy to be on hold when you’re sailing through just fine.
Remember why you fell in love with the future co-parent of your child(ren) in the first place
They say to never mix business with pleasure, right? Well, when it comes to fertility treatments – there’s no avoiding it. If you aren’t very, very careful, those sacred bedroom moments can get clinical pretty quick. You probably already experienced a bit of that when you were trying to time conception at home, right? Now, it’s going to get even more clinical at times.
Combine that with the fact that hormones are up and down, treatments can fail, miscarriages can happen and those pregnancy tests can still be negative for quite some time and you’ve got a recipe for romance disaster. Then, there are all the things you know you “shouldn’t” feel – but do anyway – like hating him for having sperm that can’t swim, or hating yourself for having ovaries that don’t release eggs like they should.
Do your love life a favor and get yourselves a good therapist…
And all that comes after…
Depending on what fertility treatments work and which ones don’t; depending on whether your own embryos turn out to be healthy or not; depending on whether or not you have embryos leftover when your family is complete; depending on whether or not you decide to adopt embryos….
Each of these scenarios are fertility onions in and of themselves, and it isn’t always easy to peel those layers away one at a time without wise guidance and support. Your fertility counselor can buoy you as you and your mate sort through all the possibilities, planning for the most emotionally healthy future the two of you and your family.
If you feel you would benefit from fertility-specific counseling, talk to your fertility clinic. Odds are they can provide you with local, respected and experienced referrals. You can also use the RESOLVE Counseling Directory to find a qualified counselor near you.
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RRC has over 200 years of combined experience. As a leading reproductive health, infertility, and in-vitro fertilization (or IVF) center based in Kansas City, we're proud to have the highest level of expertise available to our patients.