What is Fertility Counselling ?
Infertility is a life crisis where the patient is affected by a lot of psychological and emotional factors. This can be from the medical causes and their effects on this state of childlessness that is involuntary.
The persons involved in this, including both partners who are looking to conceive, must get proper support to help them cope with this situation. This is where they need fertility Counselling, to understand the consequences of infertility and the right treatment. The patient’s changing psychosocial needs to be focussed along with conduction the infertility treatment options.
In most cases, Fertility counselling helps in providing basic information about the medical and legal aspects of the treatment since the couple needs to be fully aware of all the consequences that may occur from the decision they make.
Role of fertility Counselling
Infertility is not often discussed amongst people, even between the couple. This communication gap makes a person undergoing infertility to often feel isolated, a sense of denial and sadness sets in.
Studies have shown that a couple dealing with infertility goes through a lot of stress, resulting in an unhappy relationship. The female patients feel less feminine while the male patients’ men feel less masculine. Infertility is not something to be taken lightly as it often causes depression, anxiety and lose self-worth.
Counselling helps the individual to lose their grief and regain their life using the necessary treatments. It also helps the couple to reconnect with each other.
Since it is not common for individuals to voice out their concern regarding infertility, counselling helps with this. The patient-doctor confidentiality plays an important role and the patient would feel more secure in confiding in their doctors. This can even lead to a healthy way of conceiving using whichever treatment the patient opts for. Counseling is very effective amoung couples who are suffering from infertility problems.
Types of Fertility Counselling
There are three types of Fertility Counselling that are usually provided to the patients. These types usually overlap and are not given as a separate entity as such. They are:
- Implications Counselling:
This type of fertility counselling is usually provided to a single patient or a couple who needs to make decisions for the following cases:
- Creating embryos in vitro
- Storing their gametes or embryos
- Donating their gametes or embryos for treatment of others or for use in non-medical fertility services for research
- Getting treated with donated gametes or embryos
- Adopting or foster care of a child
- Fertility Preservation
This type of counseling helps in decision making by focussing on the legalities involve. This includes focussing on the specific definition of the information that needs to be given, like the ‘informed consent’. It also highlights the effects of the decisions taken for each treatment option and how it affects everyone who is involved in this process.
- Support Counselling:
The patient or the couple involved is provided emotional support by a counselor both before and after the treatment, especially the ones who are experiencing distress or stress.
It would be a patient-centric care and treatment that focusses on the coping mechanisms that the patient already has. A new coping mechanism will also be developed to help manage the stressful situations.
The psychological interventions that are provided will also help the patients in their decision-making process and their treatment. This will help the patient make adjustments to their lives aligning with the choices that they have made.
- Therapeutic Counselling
This is usually the next step after support counseling where the following are taken into consideration:
- Reflecting on the individual’s or the couple’s issue
- Accepting of the present situation
- Impact and the meaning of infertility and the treatment
- Discussing alternative lifestyles
- Helping in developing coping strategies to reduce the distress and maximise solving the problem
- Address specific issues like sexual, marital and other interpersonal problems