What is Counselling?
There can be times when we experience difficulties that are hard to sort out on our own. Sometimes our usual sources of support, such as family or friends, are too close to us or can even be part of the problem. It may then be helpful to see a trained and experienced counsellor in a private and confidential setting where it is possible to talk freely. The counsellor will provide an opportunity to explore feelings, make sense of what is happening, gain greater self-awareness, look at the options available and decide on the best course of action. Acceptance and respect for each individual is a vital part of counselling. It means that the person can be confident that they will not be judged and a relationship based on trust is able to develop. The aim of counselling is to encourage people to find their own solutions – it is not about giving advice or instruction.
Counselling when there are Fertility Problems
We know that when people have problems conceiving and have to seek medical help they can experience “a roller coaster of emotions”. For many it is the most distressing and disruptive experience in their lives and their feelings can range from despair, hope, anger, anxiety and isolation to grief. The situation can also put a great strain on relationships, not only with a partner, wife or husband but with relatives and friends who may not fully understand what it is like to have fertility issues. It is hard to deal with other people announcing a pregnancy, having a baby or just seeing people enjoying family life. It is usually difficult to deal with the outcome of treatment if the tests are negative or people receiving any kind of bad news and understandable that anxiety about the future then increases.
Sometimes people face very painful decisions about whether to try again or whether to think about other ways to create a family. These may offer hope but also involve feelings of sadness and loss about the child that had been planned. These other ways include the possibility of egg, sperm or embryo donation, adoption or surrogacy, each of which has implications that need to be understood. People nearly always need time and support to work out how they feel and whether unsellor can enable a person to find other specialist support services and also provide relevant information that may be helpful.
The Infertility Counsellor
All assisted conception clinics in the UK are required to offer counselling for patients at any stage of their treatment. If you are undergoing treatment, or are about to, and you would like counselling, you should first approach your clinic. There may be a charge, particularly in private clinics, and there may be a waiting list. If you are not having treatment in a UK clinic, or for any other reason you are looking for another counsellor, then one of BICA's Accredited members could help. Please note our counsellors are in private practice and charge the market rates (ask the counsellor what their fee is). There may not be a counsellor near to you but many offer telephone counselling.
Our Accredited members have specialist competence in infertility counselling. They will have an appropriate counselling qualification and be have demonstrated their infertility specialism and experience. We are a recognised counselling body with a complaints/disciplinary procedure and our members abide by a code of conduct.