Few couples are prepared for the diagnosis of infertility, and for most, this will be one of the greatest challenges they face together. Fertility treatment can affect a couple’s work, family, relationship, social life and self-esteem.
Although everyone is different, there are some common questions that arise for many couples. Have you wondered about any of the following?
It is strongly recommended that anyone undergoing fertility treatment attend at least one counselling session beforehand. At City Fertility Centre, you have the opportunity to use a complimentary counselling session once during every stimulated cycle, and you have nothing to lose. You will find out more about the emotional processes involved in fertility treatment, realistic expectations of outcomes, both physical and emotional, and how to prepare for and manage the roller coaster of emotions.
It is common to fear that being counselled means there is something wrong with you or that it confirms a weakness and inability to handle treatment. However, nothing could be further from the truth! We can help to equip you with the skills needed to manage emotions, cope better with day-to-day stresses, whether these are related to treatment or not, and ultimately prevent long-term problems such as depression or anxiety.
There are some practical things you can do to cope better with the experience of infertility. This involves focusing on thoughts, feelings and behaviours that may be of concern, enabling you, as an individual or a couple, to gain a new perspective and understanding. You may learn to challenge old patterns of thinking, explore a wide range of alternatives and practise different ways of behaving. You may set new goals and explore how to still have fun amid never-ending tests and treatments.
Research indicates more and more that stress and anxiety can impact on fertility, so it is therefore vital to address concerns at an early stage to maintain a balanced outlook and relationship despite treatment. The resulting stress of treatment impacts on different people in different ways and can greatly affect your mood, daily functioning and coping ability. Counselling provides an ongoing source of non-judgmental support at a time when you may feel highly vulnerable.
Overall, our goal is to help you gain a greater sense of control and reclaim life during treatment. It is therefore our role as counsellors to help you identify which strategies suit you best. We become support person, educator, counsellor, therapist, mediator and life coach.
Watch clinical psychologist Dr Jodie Housman as she shares useful tips to help couples cope with the IVF diagnosis and treatment.
Please note: This video may not be copied or used, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of City Fertility Centre © 2015.