Infertility is an extremely complex state. It has a longstanding association with loss of hopes & dreams. Along with involuntary childlessness after multiple attempts, there is an interplay between psychological, social and emotional factors.
Often, patients go for treatments like IVF, IUI etc., but forget a very important aspect, their mental health.
There can be multiple reasons and symptoms to see an infertility counselor, and each patient can have reasons and symptoms different from the other. Persistent feeling of guilt or worthlessness, depression, stress & anxiety, anger, mood swings, sexual problems, marital problems, change in weight & appetite, sleeplessness, social isolation & pressure are all signs that you should consider and start counselling.
Now that we know the reasons and symptoms to go for counselling, let’s look at the types of infertility counselling. Even though the medical and mental health professionals know better about what counselling to recommend, it is always important to be well-informed.
The types of infertility counselling are Information Gathering and Analysis Counselling, Implications and Decision-Making Counselling, Support Counselling, Sexual & Couples Counselling and Crisis Counselling.
Information Gathering and Analysis Counselling is recommended so that the patients have all the information they need to proceed with infertility treatments.
Implication and Decision Making Counselling is to help the patients decide which procedure they should go forward with and the implications of the chosen procedure.
Support Counselling is also called person-centered therapy, where the counselors listen to the patients, help them talk over their problems and give emotional support.
Crisis Counselling is when the counselors focus on a particularly stressful symptom, treat their immediate needs and teach them coping skills so they can deal with the same or similar situation in the future, if needed. The most common reasons for Crisis Counselling are loss of pregnancy and negative infertility treatment results. In these cases, couples/patient often tend to get depressed, stressed, anxious and dejected. All these often lead to an unwillingness to opt for another cycle/method and try again.
Infertility impacts the relationship in many ways. Many relationships gets disturbed emotionally and sexually, few even go to the extent of divorce.
The aim of Couples and Sex Counseling is to help the couple communicate better, work on the shame and feeling of guilt, sexual problems, understand gender differences and also to deal with societal pressure as a team
Counselling not only helps the patients in various ways, ranging from decision making to handling stressful situations, it can also make the experience of infertility treatments seamless.