How IVF Counselling Can Help through IVF Treatment
Infertility affects an increasing number of couples globally today. According to the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS), approximately one in seven couples of reproductive age may have difficulty conceiving.
Infertility is diagnosed in couples who fail to conceive and sustain a pregnancy after one year of unprotected sex. According to the WHO, it is estimated that between 48 million couples and 186 million individuals in the world struggle with infertility.
However, technological developments in fertility treatment have provided better opportunities for couples to conceive.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a type of assisted reproductive treatment (ART) used to treat infertility.
IVF fertility treatments involve:
- Extracting eggs from a woman’s body.
- Obtaining a sperm sample.
- Manually joining it with eggs (insemination) in the laboratory to create embryos.
- Transferring embryos back to the woman’s body – in the uterus.
Mental Health Implications of IVF
Parenthood can be one of the major desires and life goals for many couples. The stress of not becoming a parent is linked to anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges.
Also, studies show that infertility has been associated with:
- relationship problems
- sexual dysfunction
- diminished self-esteem
- feelings of failure and defectiveness
- sense of loss
- social isolation
Undergoing fertility treatment can be highly challenging for both partners. Unsuccessful IVF treatment often triggers disappointment, frustration, and sadness. Also, you might feel angry, moody, irritable, and uncomfortable due to fertility procedures and medication side effects. IVF Counselling can help.
Additionally, the IVF cost and uncertainty of the procedure outcomes can contribute to stress and anxiety. And the other way round, emotional distress of the future mother can affect the success of fertility treatment. Namely, research shows that prolonged stress activates a hormone called gonadotropin inhibitory hormone (GnIH) that reduces fertility, even long after the stress has ended.
Identifying potential stress triggers linked to IVF treatment and how to cope with them can help you on your journey. IVF counselling can help you manage stress and alleviate its outcomes.
Also, fertility counselling can help address your emotions, connect on a deeper level, and learn practical coping strategies to get through IVF.
Is Fertility Counselling Right for Us?
Infertility is often linked to frustration, anger, and depression. Emotional distress caused by infertility can take its toll on your mood, mental well-being, relationship with your partner, productivity at work, and other aspects of life.
Studies show that women experience more infertility-related stress, anxiety, and depression than men. Studies show that they tend to consider infertility as life’s greatest disappointment and appear more emotionally affected following the treatment failure.
A skilled fertility counsellor can help you develop strategies to cope with the emotional strain of infertility. Individual psychotherapy and couples counselling can help whether you are just starting your IVF treatment, grieving a miscarriage, or trying to cope with shock and denial after learning that you will not be able to conceive.
For many people, infertility and In Vitro Fertilization are too intimate to be discussed with others. For this reason, many individuals who struggle with infertility withdraw and isolate themselves from family and friends, sometimes even their spouses.
Some partners have difficulty discussing their feelings and comforting each other while going through IVF. As a result, both partners may feel unseen, unheard, and unsupported, creating distance and conflicts in their relationship.
IVF and fertility counselling for individuals and couples can be a safe and confidential environment to discuss delicate topics such as infertility, miscarriage, or sexual dysfunction. It can help improve your communication skills, improve your coping skills, and help maintain a healthy relationship while going through IVF.
How Can We Benefit from IVF Counselling?
Through sessions of individual or couples therapy, you can learn to:
- Accept disturbing emotions related to infertility and IVF
- Address your concerns
- Come to terms with complex feelings linked to infertility
- Work through your feelings
- Improve communication with your partner
- Make decisions together
- Prepare for IVF treatment
- Process grief
- Increase resilience
- Get through the waiting period before the pregnancy test
- Develop other strategies for starting a family (adoption, using a surrogate or donor, etc.)
Infertility is a significant life experience that impacts both partners and their relationship. Therefore, fertility counselling should be an integral part of your IVF treatment because it can help you process overwhelming feelings of hurt, confusion, disappointment, shame, anxiety, anger, and grief. Also, Individual and relationship fertility counselling can equip you with valuable tools to reduce stress, improve your coping skills, and strengthen your relationship.
Online Fertility and IVF Counselling & Psychotherapy
If visiting us in person isn’t for you, but you want support with issues around Fertility and IVF – we can still support you. Clients choose to work online for a variety of reasons including time and location practicalities.
To discuss further getting support and best way of working for you, get in touch today.