What is Infertility?
According to current research, approximately 12% of women in the United States have difficulty conceiving or sustaining a pregnancy to term and up to 6% of married women have infertility issues.
Sometimes, it is not very clear cut why infertility persists and in such cases, perhaps more than otherwise, there is an even greater need for support and counseling.
What is Infertility Counseling?
Infertility is more than a medical diagnosis. It affects almost every aspect of your life and you may find your relationships and work suffering as you struggle to deal with the worry, anxiety, and even depression especially when you have had infertility treatments that weren’t successful.
It is extremely helpful to have the support of friends and family as well as your medical team but even these may not prevent you from occasionally feeling overwhelmed with the numerous tests, examinations, treatments, and appointments you have to keep and you may struggle to find a balance.
You may find it difficult to confide in someone with whom you can share your feelings without feelings of guilt or fear of judgment.
Infertility counseling can provide the much-needed support for you in this challenging time by providing a safe space for you to navigate the physical, emotional, and relational challenges of your fertility journey in a wholesome, healthy, and productive way.
Who Would Benefit from Infertility Counseling?
You may require the services of an infertility therapist for many reasons. It may be needed before receiving fertility treatment such as egg, sperm, or embryo donation.
The IVF process can be quite draining mentally and physically and many endocrinologists usually recommend seeing a mental health professional for counseling. The donors themselves and gestational carriers (surrogates) are also required to receive mental health counseling.
An infertility counselor has special training in working with infertility challenges even amongst LGBTQ couples and can be of immense help in sorting through your alternatives. At HWP, you can schedule a session with any of our infertility therapists as an individual or a couple to help you explore the many ways you can cope with infertility.
Focus Areas in Infertility Counselling
Infertility can lead to emotional distress and trauma, feelings of stress, low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. According to a 1993 study, the prevalence of anxiety and depression amongst women with infertility was similar to that in women with cancer, heart disease, and hypertension and therapy has been shown to greatly alleviate this.
Also, being faced with many options for treatment and decisions to take may give rise to conflict between couples. Disagreements may arise over the best course of treatment, how much to spend on an option, or even the reluctance of one partner to seek professional help.
It could be that you are handling the situation well enough and would simply love to have more support and someone to help you cope better. Building a family – no matter what it looks like – is hard work and you don’t have to go through this kind of emotional stress alone.
As infertility counselors and therapists are usually aware of these challenges, they can help you (and your partner) address these feelings. Consider infertility counseling if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Persistent feelings of guilt, sadness, or self-loathing
- Constant preoccupation with your infertility
- Mood swings
- Problems keeping up with planned intercourse
- Stress and anxiety
- Memory and concentration problems
- Markedly increased or reduced appetite and/or weight changes
- Change in sleep pattern
- Grief and social isolation
- Increasing intake of alcohol and drugs
- Strained relationships and marital problems
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
How Do I Find Infertility Counseling Near Me?
The stress of infertility piled upon dealing with medical treatments and other aspects of infertility can seem truly overwhelming – but there are avenues to help available.
From support groups to couples counseling with a marriage and family therapist – find a therapist that works well with you. You can begin by requesting referrals from your doctor to mental health professionals in your locality. You may want to check that they are licensed infertility therapists and not just coaches.
HWP provides infertility therapy for individuals and couples in Alpharetta, GA. Our services are provided by specially trained and fully licensed professionals and offered in-office as well as virtually via a secure telehealth platform to women and birthing people who are experiencing infertility throughout the state of Georgia.