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Benefits of counselling & how to access it

Woman talking to a counsellor about IVFThere are many benefits to the counselling that will be offered to you during your fertility treatment. It will always include the opportunity to talk through the implications of the treatment that has been suggested and it will also include elements of support and therapy.

You may also want to contact the British Infertility Counselling Association (BICA). BICA aims to promote high quality, accessible counselling services for those with fertility problems.

 

 

Counselling about the implications of treatment

All HFEA-licensed clinics have to offer you an opportunity to talk to a counsellor about the implications of the suggested treatment before you consent to it.

  • What does this mean? Counselling aims to help you understand exactly what the treatment will involve and how it might affect you and those close to you - now and in the future.
  • What is it useful for? Counselling on the implications of treatment is especially important if you are considering using donated sperm, eggs or embryos or surrogacy arrangements - all of which involve complicated issues. You may need time to explore how you feel, to consider the needs and legal rights of donor-conceived children and to talk about whether this is going to be the right decision for you.

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How may counselling help?

Counselling can give you:

  • the opportunity to talk freely and openly without being judged
  • the chance to explore feelings and sensitive issues that are troubling you
  • help in understanding the factors that may be contributing to your difficulties
  • support in finding your own solutions and new ways of coping.

Anything you share with your counsellor will be treated as confidential unless there are exceptional circumstances.

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 Talking to a counsellor

Supportive aspects of counselling

Counselling can provide emotional support before, during or after fertility treatment.

  • What does this mean? Counselling gives you the opportunity to work through your feelings at specific stages in your treatment. You can also ask for written information and, if you need additional support, your clinic may have information about other services in your area. 
  • What is it useful for? Most people find that infertility and assisted conception treatments are stressful. Counselling can be especially useful in helping you to work through the emotions you may experience before, during and after treatment. This may be when you first find out you have fertility problems, when you are waiting for results, if your treatment isn’t successful, or if you are both having to come to terms with the fact that there is no further suitable treatment for you to try.

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Therapeutic aspects of counselling

If dealing with infertility leaves you struggling to cope with everyday life or causes you to revisit past problems, counselling can be very therapeutic.

  • What does this mean? Dealing with infertility can make you feel depressed or anxious at times and can also trigger painful memories. If your clinic is not able to offer you this level of therapy, they can refer you to an independent counsellor.
  • What is it useful for? Therapeutic counselling can help you to deal with past and present issues and the impact that infertility may be having on your life and your relationships with other people.

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Making contact with a counsellor

Your clinic should provide you with the contact details of a counsellor.

Different clinics have different costing policies, so check whether you have to pay extra for counselling.

You may choose to have just one or two sessions or more. Sessions usually last for an hour and you can expect to see the same counsellor each time.

If for any reason you don’t feel happy or comfortable with your counsellor, talk to them about what’s worrying you.

If you feel you still can’t communicate, ask to be referred to another counsellor.

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Page last updated: 09 May 2012

Support is absolutely vital...infertility treatment can be such a solitary experience.

Caroline, 35, and her husband Andrew have unexplained infertility.

...read Caroline's story