Going through fertility treatment, it can feel as though your life is on hold and it is hard to move forward or plan your future. Sometimes you feel as though you cannot confide in anyone who will understand what you are going through. Counselling is an opportunity to explore any emotional difficulty, fears and anxieties, or distress that you might experience during your fertility journey. It can help you to cope, make choices, and change aspects of your situation. It doesn’t involve giving advice or direction to take a particular course of action; at times it may involve providing information. Fertility counselling allows you to express your emotions freely in a supportive environment.
Coping with Fertility Treatment
The HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority) considers fertility counselling to be a key element in the provision of fertility services for all patients. They recognise the complex psychological and social issues that can arise from infertility and fertility treatment.
Considering Donor Conception, Surrogacy or Adoption
Counselling provides an emotionally safe place in which to reflect on and understand the proposed procedure, the variety of issues that may affect you, and the lasting implications for you and those close to you, both now and in the future. It takes into account the welfare and needs of the future child. It’s an opportunity to anticipate and plan for this conception and family formation.
Fertility treatment is a significant emotional journey, which may have an impact on your relationships with others. Emotions can be conflicting and intense. Support counselling is an opportunity to explore your feelings, coping strategies, options and relationship issues with partners, family, friends or colleagues. It can help you to adjust, and to look at both the short- and long-term consequences of infertility and treatment. You might find that you need support at different stages of treatment. You can access support counselling at any time before, during, or after treatment.
Deciding to end fertility treatment can be a difficult decision which may involve a lot of grief and thinking about the future. Counselling can support you through this process allowing you as much time as you need to find your way forward.
What is Fertility Counselling?
Fertility counselling is a specialised area of counselling. A fertility counsellor will have gone through specific training and have knowledge of current fertility treatments available. Psychological support is so important if you are going through fertility treatment or have stopped having treatment. For many people, having children has not been an option and this can be a difficult process to come to terms with. A fertility counsellor can support you through this time. A fertility counsellor can also provide information and resources relating to treatment or options such as donor conception, if it is useful.
How does Fertility Counselling work?
A fertility counsellor hopes to create and offer an environment that is non-judgemental, honest, open and safe for you to discuss whatever your issues are. It is very important that you feel secure, that it is a confidential environment and that you are able to bring whatever you want to the session and that you feel that you are being respected and accepted.
Who is Fertility Counselling suitable for?
Fertility counselling aims to support anyone dealing with any of the issues surrounding fertility. This includes people who are starting a family and people who are not going to have children for whatever reason. It may be that you wish to discuss the ending of treatment or options for the future.
What issues or problems are suited to Fertility Counselling?
- A wide range of issues, for example:
- Fertility Treatment
- Donor Conception
- Egg Preservation
- Relationship issues
- Ending Treatment
- Moving Forward
- Childless by circumstance
- Choosing whether to become a parent
However, you don’t always need a specific issue. It could just be that you don’t feel life is quite how you want it to be and that there may be reasons that are worth looking at as a way to find solutions.
How many sessions will I have?
Fertility can be a long road for some people and often people return for counselling during different stages of treatment or at times when they are making decisions of how to move forward. Other people find that initially their issues can be resolved in just a few sessions. It is entirely up to you how many sessions you have. We might agree an initial number, when you first come and then we can review this after these are completed or at any point in between. Sometimes knowing that you have a specific number of sessions can help provide the space for you to explore a particular issue, without pressure. Sometimes people might find that there are further issues to look at or sometimes they may feel that, for the time being, they have got what they wanted from fertility counselling.