Who we are
- BICA is the only professional association for infertility counsellors and counselling in the UK
- BICA seeks to promote the highest standards of counselling for those considering or undergoing fertility investigations and treatment.
- BICA offers a variety of training and education services to its members
- BICA is committed to the total well-being of people with fertility problems before, during and after treatment and of those who choose not to undergo any kind of medical intervention
Administered by an elected Executive Committee and supporting regional groups, it is financed almost entirely through annual membership subscriptions.
BICA is committed to improving the educational opportunities and training of Infertility Counsellors and seeks continually to raise the standard of support offered to people with fertility issues.
The Association is a registered Charity with its own constitution and guidelines for practice. Our members must adhere to the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy or another professional Code of Ethics.
Founded in 1988
BICA was founded in 1988 for infertility counsellors with a membership drawn from a variety of professions including counsellors, psychologists, nurses, social workers etc.It was established to represent the interests, views and needs of members actively involved counselling people with fertility issues and of professionals in related research.
It seeks to address the many practical, social, psychological and ethical issues around the treatment of assisted conception.
In 1990, the passing of the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Act led to the offer of counselling in licensed assisted conception units being required by law. Although counselling on issues related to infertility was not new, this legislation underlined its significance and singularity.
It was the first occasion on which counselling was made a statutory requirement in any field other than in relation to people accessing adoption records. In both law and practice, infertility counselling is now recognised as an important professional service for people facing fertility problems. This recognition was strengthened by the passing of the revised HFE Act in 2008 leading to the 9th edition of the HFE authority's code of Practice which made accreditation expected of licensed centre counsellors.
Infertility counselling offers patients an opportunity to explore their thoughts, feelings, beliefs and their relationships in order to reach a better understanding of the meaning and implications of any choice of action they may make; counselling may also offer support to them as they undergo treatment and may help them to accommodate feelings about the outcome of any treatment.
Crucially it is a key way in which clinics can be assured that the consent which patients are giving to their treatment choice is truly informed.
The 'Guidelines for Good Practice in Infertility Counselling' published by BICA, available on this website, are the first attempt to synthesise in detail key aspects of good practice, only previously available in a number of uncollected sources. It maintains BICA’s position as the leader nationally and internationally in developing guidance for professional practice.