How counselling can help on your fertility journey
Mar 12 • 2014

What will fertility patients have to deal with (from an emotional point of view) as they progress their treatment journeys?

Fertility problems and the inability to have a child are considered to be among the most difficult issues that individuals and couples may encounter. Stress is often introduced early in the fertility journey: many couples may find their relationship strengthens as they face investigations and treatment together whereas others may find their relationship struggles with the impact of infertility and the demands of the treatment process. Negative results of male or female investigations can undermine the respective partner’s sense of social status and self-worth and unsuccessful treatment outcomes can be emotionally painful and difficult to manage.

Why is it better for fertility patients to discuss their emotions (as opposed to bottling up their feelings)?

While some couples draw closer together during their fertility journey, others experience feelings of social isolation and exclusion if they are unable to have children at the time other friends and relatives are establishing their families.

Sensitive, intimate issues are raised by fertility problems and it is easy for a partner to feel unsupported if a couple are not talking about their feelings together. Rather than allowing family and friends to know they are experiencing problems some couples choose not to tell anyone. While this may be very helpful in maintaining privacy and reducing any feelings of shame, many individuals and couples struggle with the demands of investigations, frequent visits to the clinic, the drug regime and the accompanying reduction in social contact – and the often excessive focus on the problem. Not feeling able to discuss their feelings and share their problems with others may, for some couples, increase the stress involved.

Counselling can offer a safe, confidential space to explore difficult or painful feelings, discuss treatment options or coping mechanisms.

Why is The Lister Fertility Clinic’s counselling service better than any of our competitors?

To promote the counselling service as better than any of our competitors is dangerous! This is something that has not been measured/evaluated, i.e. in comparative studies! We can, however, describe our service as a free, confidential service – available to all patients before, during and long after treatment. We describe the service as the “Open Door” i.e. patients can choose to use the service and self-refer if they wish to and request to see any of the three counsellors, as individuals or couples.

Patient feedback on the counselling service

“The service is really appreciated and talking to the (counsellor) both times has been really helpful for me – so thank you.”

“The fact that this service is offered free of charge is a wonderful benefit. The open door policy makes the counselling very accessible to people who have never had counselling. This is an excellent service offering support when most needed. Thank you.”

“I was very impressed by the counselling received from (counsellor). She was so perceptive – getting right to the heart of the issues that are causing me anxiety. Her insights really rang true for me and helped me to find a much healthier and more authentic way to approach my treatment and future – in the way that is right for me. I already feel better and will definitely use the service again should I feel it necessary. Thank you!”

“My counsellor was … very helpful and really seemed to understand how I was feeling.”

“The free counselling service was one of the factors that help us to decide on using the Lister.”

“In addition to the general counselling discussion, the follow-up emails with links to online articles were very helpful. Thank you very much!”

“My partner and I were comfortable with the decision we had made to go with IVF using donor eggs. But the counselling session brought into consideration the wider and long ethical and legal issues. It was a very useful session.”

“The counselling session was very professional, informative and supportive – the professional/experienced voice on a difficult subject was really helpful and clarified a lot for us. Your staff make the Lister stand out!”