Infertility affects one out of every 10 couples of reproductive age. Many couples have complex emotions related to their infertility. In addition, one or both partners may feel isolated, lonely, and hopeless. Because infertility is a private issue, out network of trained health professionals will assist the couple cope with the stress, sadness, and other feelings that come with infertility.
How does infertility affect the couple?
Because 10% of couples who are reproductive age face infertility, many seek treatment and many choose to continue trying. Infertility is a major stressor for most people, and couples report a sense of loss, diminished self-esteem, and stigma related to inability to become pregnant. Many women and men also have feelings of defectiveness, incompetence, and anxiety.
What is the purpose of psychological counseling?
The goal of psychological counseling is to assist the couple in dealing with the infertility issues. We aim to create joyful, happy families through the assisted reproduction technology (ART) process, and psychological counseling allows the clients to become more knowledgeable and informed when starting their family. We are also here to offer options and emotional crisis assistance when techniques fail.
Who needs psychological counseling?
We assess the emotional and mental health of all persons involved in the infertility treatment process. Any couple with fertility problems needs psychological counseling. We use a series of psychological screening tools to assess each client’s mental health and well-being.
What conditions are treated with psychological counseling?
Common consequences of infertility include stress, anxiety, and depression. The incidence of major depression for infertile couples is around 15-30%, according to studies. The depression related to infertility may also be associated with thyroid dysfunction and other conditions. Women presenting for in vitro fertilization (IVF) are less confident, depressed, and have lower self-esteem than fertile women. Following a failed IVF cycle, these issues are worse. Mood state and stress also impact the outcome of assisted reproduction, with lower pregnancy rates associated with distress.
What interventions are used for psychological counseling?
The therapist can use a variety of techniques, either as a single type of therapy or in combination. These include supportive group therapy, behavioral group psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral group psychotherapy, individual counseling, and couple counseling. Research shows that group behavioral treatment is effective for decreasing anxiety and depression. Counselors often avoid using pharmacologic treatment because medications can impact fertility.
What are the challenges of infertility?
The most challenging aspects of infertility are the emotional ups-and-downs related to treatment, making decisions about treatments, and being uncertain of the outcomes. Infertility can be considered a life crisis for many couples. Inability to conceive after many years may evoke feelings of anger, loss, shame, and guilt. Counseling helps couples manage their emotions and improve self-esteem.
How will I know if I need psychological counseling?
When one or both prospective parents pursue infertility treatment, they experience certain emotions. You may benefit from working with a psychologist if you experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Sadness that persists
Loss of interest in usual activities
High levels of anxiety
Difficulty thinking of anything else besides the infertility
Diminished ability to complete tasks
Changes in weight or appetite
What qualifications should my mental health professional have?
According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the mental health professional should have:
A license to practice
A graduate degree in a mental health profession
Clinical training in the psychological aspects of infertility
Experience in the psychological and medial aspects of reproductive medicine