BICA Policies & Practice Guidelines

BICA Policies & Practice Guidelines

The “BICA Guidelines for Good Practice in Infertility Counselling” was first published in 2006 and since then has been regularly revised to reflect changes and developments in the scope of professional infertility counselling practice. The publication provides essential guidance for counsellors working with clients in HFEA licensed, assisted conception centres; it is also highly relevant for those counsellors working independently of licensed clinics whose clients may be facing similar fertility issues.

The Practice Guidelines are not only a key infertility counselling reference tool but also contribute to the process of learning and the promotion of good professional counselling practice.

The Guidelines include:

  • A detailed description of the key aspects of infertility counselling practice:
    • an introduction to counselling for infertility and assisted conception
    • gamete and embryo donation/treatment, egg and sperm sharing and surrogacy
    • counselling people who are travelling overseas for treatment
    • fertility preservation
    • welfare of the child assessment
    • quality management
  • BICA’s main policies (incorporated as Annexes)
  • Practice guidance policy papers

An up-to-date version of the BICA Guidelines for Good Practice in Infertility Counselling can be downloaded in the members’ area of the website. It can also be purchased as a hard copy via publications.

Audit, Evaluation & Quality Guidance

Quality management has become established practice within the health professions field, including counselling. Auditing, reviewing, evaluating and improving the quality of care to clients is an integral component of ethical practice.

BACP emphasise the importance of audit:

‘Audit and evaluation are considered crucial for developing counselling services and may be used both as ways of increasing counsellor efficacy and as methods of meeting the quality demands of purchasers’ (users and regulators). Guidance for Best Practice: Employment of Counsellors and Psychotherapists in the NHS.

Quality standards are now the norm for licensed treatment services; their application to counselling services is as essential as to any other form of provision and evidence of this is necessary to meet both HFEA regulatory and BICA Accreditation requirements.

The BICA Exec has consistently promoted the importance of maintaining data on counselling provision and publishes specific guidance on the detail that is expected in an annual audit of practice including client evaluation. BICA has also developed guidelines and templates for members to use in other aspects of quality management, including establishing key quality indicators and creating a competency framework, both of which should be relevant and appropriate for the individual counsellor’s practice setting; these can all be downloaded from the members’ area of the website.