Starting a family is usually an exciting time for most couples. However, after many unsuccessful attempts at getting pregnant, many couples discover that they have a fertility issue. About one in six couples are infertile. Infertility is diagnosed when a couple have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for six to twelve months. Some couples may have experienced pregnancy loss and begin to feel grief and isolation by the process. It can be confronting and upsetting to be told that you have a fertility issue that may be stopping you from becoming pregnant. Individuals may feel a range of different emotions about their fertility problems, such as shame, disappointment, grief, worry, fear, and confusion about what options to try next. The process can place a lot of emotional strain on a couple and psychological counselling may help.
Many couples go on to explore infertility treatments to assist them to get pregnant. Nearly 3% of all babies born in Australia today are conceived via assisted reproductive technology. However, there are a range of emotions that individuals can feel during this time of engaging in fertility treatment, such as hope, excitement and joy as well as anxiety, stress and disappointment. Infertility can place pressure on the relationship and a couple may experience financial stress as they invest in assisted reproductive technology to help them get pregnant. A woman is likely to experience a time of enormous uncertainty, while she is having medical procedures to assist her to become pregnant, and then while she is waiting to find out if she has become pregnant. A couple may experience a “roller coaster” of emotions during this time.
Many individuals and couples feel supported and strengthened from seeing a psychologist during their fertility treatment. A psychologist can support the individual or couple by providing a confidential environment where hopes, concerns, and fears about the fertility treatment process can be expressed. A psychologist can assist in the decision making process about fertility treatments, and provide strategies for managing the mixture of emotions that are experienced during this stressful time. Some couples experience miscarriage. Infertility counselling can also assist individuals and couples to manage the grief and disappointment they may feel about facing a childless future, and help to create a different sense of meaning and purpose in their lives.
Williamstown Psychology has substantial experience in counselling for those with infertility issues or who may be on the IVF journey.
For more information about our counselling services for infertility and fertility problems please contact us.