By the time you begin your fertility treatments, odds are you’ve already strapped on the seatbelt and checked the emergency bars in your roller coaster car. Only those who have been on the same ride understand what an up-and-down, high-and-low experience infertility can be as you transition from the couple who are trying to conceive – to the couple who are working to figure out why you’re not conceiving – to the couple who has a bona-fide infertility diagnosis and is taking advantage of modern medicine to get pregnant.
Infertility Counseling is an Amazing Tool for Couples Navigating Fertility Treatments
If you are undergoing testing and/or treatments for infertility, we highly recommend you and your partner pursue fertility counseling to help you cope with the emotions, stresses, worries and hormonal changes that may occur during the next several months or years. If you have a counselor you are currently working with, and are happy with, it may be enough support for you. Otherwise, begin the search for a certified infertility counselor.
Infertility counselors are a specialized version of a psychologist, psychiatrist, Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) or Certified Masters in Social Work (MSW). These professionals take their existing credentials and enhance them by getting education and training specific to the arena of fertility counseling. This provides the skillsets and medical/scientific knowledge that a traditional therapist will not be privy to via their training.
You can learn more about the qualifications of an infertility counselor, as well as find contact information for infertility counselors in your area, on the ASRM Infertility and Counseling Support Fact Sheet.
Working with a fertility counselor can help you:
- Cope with the general stress of infertility and the emotional components that can arise with an infertility diagnosis.
- Learn relaxation and stress relief techniques that can be used for the rest of your life, but specifically to navigate the anxiety that surrounds loss of control, doctor’s appointments, tests, procedures and test results.
- Incorporate exercises and practices to stop negative thought, emotion and reaction pathways and create new, more positive and sustainable ones.
- To understand your partner better, and for your partner to gain a better understanding of you. This can help bolster your support for one another since emotional reactions (or a seeming lack thereof) and coping mechanisms are rarely the same between two different people.
- Continue to develop your own romantic, intimate and sexual relationship with your partner so it isn’t all about body parts, hormones, physiology and pregnancy test results.
The work you do with your infertility counselor is a win-win. Not only will it help to provide invaluable support throughout your infertility roller coaster ride, it will make you and your partner stronger and healthier as individuals – and as a couple. This is a major bonus once you get off this roller coaster ride and board the next one – Babyhood and Parenting Express!
If you feel your infertility diagnosis, and/or your current fertility treatments are having a negative impact on your mental and emotional health, please reach out to an infertility counselor for a consultation. The help and compassionate support these counselors provide can be instrumental in experiencing the least tumultuous track on the infertility roller coaster.