Having treatment for fertility problems can cause difficult and often painful emotions for those involved. These feelings can be difficult to control and can cause enormous emotional, physical or financial stress. Being unable to have a child naturally, the fear of never being able to conceive, or a sense of bereavement if you have had a miscarriage, can make you feel that your whole future and sense of purpose is being threatened or on hold, or that you have ‘failed’. Relationships sometimes become strained, often because each partner is dealing with the situation differently. Although this is very normal, it can cause people to feel confused and isolated.
All patients at the Agora are offered specialist independent fertility counselling before, during and after treatment. The fertility counsellor is available to help you talk openly about your feelings and provide guidance and advice as needed. Anything you discuss with the counsellor will be treated as strictly confidential and will not affect your treatment.
For women or couples who are considering having treatment with donor eggs or donor sperm, it is particularly important to have counselling so that you can explore all the implications, both for you and your child. Counselling can provide you with time and a quiet space where you can explore and consider the things that are worrying you.
Fertility Counselling – Frequently Asked Questions
What does counselling involve?
A fertility counsellor is available to help you talk openly about your feelings and provide guidance and advice as needed. Anything you discuss will be treated as strictly confidential and will not affect your treatment. Counsellors are not there to judge you or give advice. What they do provide is a secure environment in which to talk about
How can counselling help?
Having treatment for fertility problems can cause difficult and often painful emotions for those involved. Being unable to have a child naturally, the fear of never being able to conceive, or a sense of bereavement if you have had a miscarriage, can make you feel that your sense of purpose is being threatened, that your future is on hold, or that you have ‘failed’. Relationships sometimes become strained, often because each partner is dealing with the situation differently. Although this is very normal, it can cause people to feel confused and isolated.
The process of counselling enables you, either individually or as a couple, to explore your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in a safe, non-judgmental space. You may decide to make changes to your life, or come to terms with things that cannot be changed. Often it is easier to make decisions about your situation when you talk to someone who isn’t directly involved.
Who can it help?
Counselling may be helpful if you are uncertain at any stage about the options open to you. This may include making decisions about continuing or postponing treatment, using donated eggs or sperm, or long term freezing and storage.
Other issues for counselling include the implications of treatment, the needs and welfare of a future child and those of any siblings, as well as the legal, moral and ethical issues that may concern some people.
In addition, there are likely to be times when important decisions have to be made, including withdrawing from any further treatment. Not everyone who starts treatment will become pregnant and deciding when to stop is not easy, particularly when there appears to be no clear reason for the lack of success.
For some individuals, letting go and moving on can bring a profound sense of relief but for others the experience may be traumatic. Our experienced counsellor can support you through this period of grief and major emotional adjustment, and will be able to explore alternatives with you when you feel ready to do so.
What types of counselling are available?
The importance of counselling is recognised by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which has ruled that by law that counselling must be available at every licensed treatment centre. It states in their code of practice that counselling should be clearly distinguished from the giving of information and should consist of three types:
– Implication Counselling
To enable individuals to understand the implications of any proposed treatment/course of action for themselves, their family and any children born as a result
– Support counselling
To give emotional support at times of particular stress, such as when there is a failure to become pregnant • Therapeutic counselling
To help individuals cope with the consequences of infertility and treatment and resolve any problems these may cause
Will the counsellor be able to give me information about my treatment?
Any medical advice or information is always given by our team of doctors and fertility nurses. However, our counsellor can offer you vital support in making the right choices, while offering you emotional support. Our Counsellor works independently of the Agora and anything you say will be treated in the strictest confidence.
When can I see the counsellor?
You can see the counsellor at any stage before, during, or after treatment.
How long does a counselling session last?
A single session lasts approximately one hour. Some people feel that one session is enough, but others find that more sessions can be helpful. It’s up to you and you can use the counselling service as often as you wish.