There are many reasons why seeking out a fertility counselor may help you to deal with the challenges of infertility. This could be because your reproductive endocrinologist recommends it before embarking on certain treatments. Or it could be to help you find some comfort and helpful guidance along the emotional path that is infertility.
Research shows that the emotional pain a woman can experience when struggling with infertility is similar to that of those dealing with HIV, chronic pan, or even cancer. Coping with infertility is not easy and wanting some help to get through it is absolutely normal.
Reasons to Seek a Fertility Counselor
Infertility can be quite overwhelming. If you are finding that infertility feels like it is taking over your life, you might want to seek a fertility counselor. A counselor can help teach you coping skills and strategies that can help to alleviate feelings, such as anxiety or depression.
Infertility comes with many different changes to your everyday life. It can be hard to learn how to manage your time between work, treatments, your relationship, and your social life. A therapist can help you learn how to manage your new schedule and the stress that comes with it.
It Can Help Strengthen Your Relationship
Many couples find that infertility can be a hard subject to discuss and presents some hardships on their relationship. It is the type of stress that can bring you closer to each other, but also pull you apart. Infertility can cause a strain on both your sex life or feeling connected to your partner.
Most couples handle stress in different ways. Some find that being open and honest about how they are feeling can be a bit hard to do. Men tend to focus on solving the problem instead of to discuss their emotions as women more often do. Seeking a fertility counselor can help you find a connection back to your significant other during this hard time. It can help you to better understand and support one another.
To Help Decide Which Paths to Take
A counselor who is trained to work with couples battling infertility can help you consider all of the options. This will help to ensure that you are making a truly informed decision. They can help you to understand your treatment options and the financial toll it may take.
When it comes to deciding on treatments you may feel as if you are at a crossroad. This can bring a sense of emotional stress on both partners until you decide which path to take. A counselor can help prepare and guide you along your journey.
Donor Sperm/Eggs, Surrogacy, or Adoption
Consulting with a therapist can help to work through any issues that may arise if you are using third party reproduction or adoption to create your family.
If you are considering using a sperm, egg, or embryo donor counseling is usually required before the treatment can begin. This is usually the case for surrogacy and adoption as well. Choices such as these can bring on strong emotions, stress, and challenges that many couples need help walking through.
Before couples chose a third party path, many have already experienced significant losses and need to properly grieve before continuing on. A counselor can help to make sure that you are on the right path, help you learn how to tell your friends/family, discuss the future that comes with adoption, and help you to prepare for future discussions with any resulting children.
To Seek More Support
You may not feel as if you are depressed or anxious, but rather would like someone to talk to. Counseling is also available for those who just want a little more support or help coping with infertility. If you know you need some extra help, a counselor is a great decision and a sign of strength. You do not need to go through infertility alone, extra help is always there if you reach out for it.
Things to Look for in a Counselor
If you are looking for a fertility counselor, we have put together a list of things to help you find the right one :
- Make sure they are licensed. There is a difference between an infertility coach or consultant and a trained therapist. If you are coping with anxiety and depression, or your doctor recommended a counselor then you will want to find someone who is a licensed mental health professional. This is someone who has a graduate degree within an area of mental health and will be licensed to work in your state.
- Some insurances will cover these types of appointments.
- Check the ASRM database. If you are seeking a counselor who is trained to work with patients of infertility the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s Mental Health Professionals database. It allows you to search for a therapist by your city, state, or by name.
- The Resolve: The National Infertility Association can help you find local counselors as well.
- Make sure they are educated in infertility issues. Finding a therapist who is knowledgeable about infertility can help to guide you in a non-biased way throughout your journey. They can help to ensure that you are making informed decisions on the treatments or options you decide on.
- Take the time to ask them questions. Before you hire a counselor you have the right to ask any questions about their services or experience. It is important to feel comfortable with the counselor you choose. If you are not comfortable with the counselor that you chose, you have every right to fire them and find another. Your counselor should provide a safe environment for you to share your feelings and thoughts within.