Support and IVF

It goes without saying that everything in and around the business of conception and childbirth can be intensely emotional, particularly if things aren’t going quite as you planned. If after trying to conceive for some time you consult a fertility specialist who tells you after some testing that you are infertile, it is only naturally to be upset and find yourself in need of some emotional support. While infertility in itself can require this kind of support, so can its treatments. IVF (in vitro fertilisation) is a popular and effective method of allowing infertile couples to conceive, but it can be emotionally trying, particularly if early rounds of IVF are unsuccessful.

Emotional difficulties around infertility and IVF

One prime reason for the use of IVF is infertility. Despite procedures such as IVF, which offer hope to couples who are struggling to conceive, many people who are unable to get pregnant suffer from emotional distress.

Infertility, in both men and women, may lead to anxiety and sexual dysfunction. High rates of clinical depression can be seen in women who are infertile and many may find that infertility may put pressure on the relationship with their partner. The IVF procedure may cause even more stress, this may be due to unsuccessful IVF cycles or financial concerns about the cost of IVF.

Some couples find that they are affected by the implications of taking donations, as they consider that one or both of them will not be genetically related to the child. Making the decision to make use of sperm or egg donations is a big one, and should only be made once you and your partner are certain of it.

Emotional support for IVF

IVF clinics offer counselling services for you and your partner to help with your IVF preparation, the procedure period, and negative after effects if the treatment is not successful. Many couples may find solace in online forums where support networks for and by other IVF couples or individuals.  

Counselling is likely to be organised and take place within your clinic, however your counsellor will not be someone involved in the IVF treatment. From these sessions you should expect to talk with your counsellor about your fertility problems, how you feel about the treatment, and what the outcome will mean to you. These appointments can also be a good way of airing any frustrations or worries you have, big or small, about the effects of your situation on your life and relationship.

You may be advised to attend independent couple therapy, especially if you are using donor insemination or a donor egg. In these sessions you will talk about the effect that this will have on you and your potential children, which can help you make sure that this step is the right one for you.

If you do not wish to use the counselling services at your clinic, you may wish to contact the British Infertility Counselling Association instead, or go to your GP who will be able to advise you on how to proceed with your treatment.

Support from your clinic

Just like in any other procedure, you have the right to be involved and aware of developments during IVF. The healthcare team will be expected to keep you up to date and ensure that you fully understand what is going on, you have the right to ask for information from them, in writing, and equality acts require that if you have as disability or English is not your first language, that steps are taken to ensure that you are given accessible information. Do not be deterred from asking questions if you do not understand.

If you are using private care your clinic should also keep you up to date with you pay package and advise you on the best package for you. The cost of IVF treatment can be an unwelcome source of stress so being aware and as prepared as possible for paying fees should minimise the stress that it causes.

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