A recent survey carried out by Infertility Network UK and the British Infertility Counselling Association revealed a lack of awareness of the rights of fertility patients receiving treatment at HFEA licenced clinics. Since 1990 it has been required by law that private fertility clinics offer counselling and yet the survey found that one third of respondents were not offered counselling and 20% were not even aware that it was available.
Even without legal enforcement our day-to-day experience of seeing patients suffer the anguish and uncertainty of infertility makes the need for professional help before, during and after treatment easily recognisable.
Sometimes known as the fertility rollercoaster, the name gives a hint of the highs and lows that are produced by the potential successes and the devastating blows likely to be experienced by the patient and their partner undergoing fertility treatment. So, looking after your emotional responses to these events is a key part of your programme.
Our counselling falls broadly into three categories:
These sessions take place before, during or after your cycle of treatment and give you the opportunity to talk about progress and your anxieties over the whole period. Infertility can become all-consuming and it helps to talk to someone who is able to empathise with you.
When your fertility treatment involves either donating or receiving eggs or sperm you will need to explore the implications with a specialist counsellor who is completely sympathetic and non-judgemental to your course of action. Similarly, if you are considering becoming a surrogate or becoming a parent using surrogacy, it is essential to have resolved the moral and emotional issues in your own mind before commencing the procedures.
Unsuccessful treatment can produce terrible feelings of failure and futility. Counselling sessions can help you come to terms with the treatment outcome and restore a positive frame of mind that enables you to look forward.
From our point of view, we want to be sure that our patients are making informed decisions and so consider counselling a fundamental part of their treatment. It is available to all our patients and is held with one of our professional, independent counsellors and is completely confidential. Three sessions are included in your treatment package and you can decide when to take them – it’s your choice, we cannot predict when you will be in most need this support. Our patients know that being offered counselling is standard procedure and that it is not a comment on how we perceive them to be coping. We are very open minded and will in no way judge you for the decisions you make.
On a more day-to-day basis our patients often develop open and trusting relationships with their fertility nurses who are also available to provide emotional as well as medical support.
Please call us on 01992 78 50 60 if you would like to find out more about the Herts & Essex Fertility Centre counselling services.