Infertility Counseling Tips

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How do I go about finding a Fertility Specialist?

Finding a Fertility Counselor

If you are a woman under the age of 35 who has been trying to conceive a child for the last year, you may be a candidate for infertility treatment. If you are a woman over the age of 35 who has been trying to conceive a child for the last six (6) months, you are also a good candidate for infertility treatment. But how do you go about finding an Infertility Counselor?

Infertility Counselors are specialists who have received additional training and education in the treatment of infertility. The best sources for referrals to Fertility Counselors include:

  • your Gynecologist
  • family and friends who have undergone fertility treatment
  • your State's Medical Association
  • your State's Professional Licensing Board or Quality Assurance Board
  • your local Better Business Bureau
Each of the entities can have specific information about Fertility Specialists in your area who are qualified to address your fertility concerns and provide appropriate treatment. Ask questions, do research and make up your own mind about a fertility clinic and specialist who will assess and treat you.

How does one go about choosing an Infertility Center?

Choosing a Infertility Center

Once you have decided to move forward with evaluation and treatment for infertility, your next step is finding an Infertility Center which can meet your unique needs. There are key things you will want to consider when choosing your treatment center, including:

  1. location - if you have to travel a great distance for treatment, this impacts not only the cost of the treatment, but also time lost from work and additional stress of driving or flying, or being away from your spouse or significant other, if one is involved with the process
  2. cost - though different treatment options are going to have different costs, when you compare Infertility Centers, the costs for similar treatment should not be too disparate
  3. availability of on-site Financial Counselors - these professionals assist you in determining the best way to pay for your infertility treatment
  4. reputable and qualified Fertility Specialists - you can check the professional references of the Fertility Specialists at the Infertility Center using the State Professional Licensing Board or Quality Assurance Board, the Better Business Bureau or your State's Medical Association.
  5. psychological assistance available - this service helps you manage the stress associated with infertility and fertility treatment, provides support and provides assistance with couple communication
  6. flexible treatment plans - your life will still go on, despite your fertility treatment, and family reunions, funerals and other life events may require adjustments in your treatment plan
There are many things to include in your evaluation of Infertility Centers, to ensure that you are receiving the care, services and support that you need to achieve a successful outcome.

What kinds of infertility counseling are available?

Types of Infertility Counseling

The decision to seek infertility treatment is not one to be made impulsively. There are many factors to consider when assessing whether or not fertility treatment is right for you, and which type of fertility treatment is best to meet your individual needs.

Each Fertility Clinic has persons who specialize in counseling on fertility issues and treatment. These specialists are well-trained in fertility treatment and understand the unique position of someone who is looking into fertility care.

There are three (3) different kinds of counseling that you may receive when initiating infertility treatment:

1. Medical counseling

2. Financial counseling

3. Psychological counseling

Medical counseling is usually done by the Fertility Specialist and involves direct treatment aspect of your fertility care.

Financial counseling can help you determine the best way to finance your fertility treatment, especially if you are considering in vitro fertilization - a treatment option that is not usually covered by regular health insurance.

Psychological counseling helps you cope with the emotional roller coaster that can be infertility treatment, in part due to the stress of the situation and to the hormones you may be receiving to assist you with conception.

All three primary types of infertility counseling help to guide you and support you during your infertility treatment, and are provided by a Fertility Clinic to assist in creating the best possible outcome - a new baby.

How does Psychological Counseling help during fertility treatment?

Psychological Counseling in Infertility Treatment

In addition to meeting with your Fertility Specialist and Financial Counselor at your Fertility Clinic, you may opt to speak with a Psychological Counselor to help manage the stress associated with infertility and infertility treatment.

Psychological Counselors are healthcare professional specially trained in counseling, and can include, but are not limited to: Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Social Workers, Certified Counselors and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners.

Stress can manifest itself in many different ways, and each of the symptoms has an impact not only on you, but also on those around you. Some common stress-related symptoms include:

  • sleep disturbance
  • fatigue
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • mood swings
  • changed in appetite
  • decreased tolerance to change
  • physical illness such as stomach pain, headache and body aches
The benefits of Psychological Counselling include:

  1. Receiving information on the risks and benefits of infertility treatment
  2. Reviewing long term goals of fertility treatment and their impact on our lives
  3. Development of stress management skills to better cope with the emotional response to fertility problems and treatment
  4. Confidential setting to voice fears, concerns and desires related to the fertility treatment
  5. Couples communication to help provide support to each other during this stressful period

Where can I get information and about infertility?

American Society for Reproductive Medicine

For those coping with infertility, finding helpful information, referrals for fertility specialists, Infertility Counselors and Infertility Centers can be daunting.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has a website with many valuable links to publications on Fertility and Sterility to Practice Guidelines. They can provide Patient Fact Sheets and Booklets, information on the success of Assisted Reproductive Technologies and even help you get in contact with Specialty Societies, such as the Genetic Counseling Special Interest Group and the Mental Health Professional Group.

What is the role of Medical Counseling in fertility treatment?

Medical Counseling in Fertility Treatment

Each Fertility Clinic employs specialists that help you achieve conception and a successful childbirth. One key member of the fertility team is your Fertility Doctor.

Fertility Doctors have the primary role in counseling you regarding infertility. They will guide your medication assessment to attempt to determine the cause of your infertility, then provide you with important information about which type of fertility treatment would best address your infertility needs. Your Fertility Doctor is a medically-trained physician who has sought additional training and education in the treatment of fertility-related medical problems, and is your first best choice in helping you overcome infertility to have a child.

Counseling that Fertility Doctors provide includes:

  • information about infertility and its causes
  • assessment strategies to determine the cause of your infertility
  • potential treatments for your type of infertility
  • risks and complications of treatment
  • self-care information for during the treatment process
  • alternatives to infertility treatment

How can a Financial Counselor help with fertility treatment?

Financial Counseling in Infertility Treatment

Fertility Clinics come staffed with many different types of professionals who each have specific functions as a part of the team, including Fertility Specialists, Nurses, Radiology staff, Lab Techs, Psychological Counselors and Financial Counselors, just to name a few.

After determining that you need infertility treatment, you will meet with a Financial Counselor who will help you figure out the best way to pay for the treatments, for which cost can be considerable. For example, the average cost for one cycle of in vitro fertilization is $12,000; six cycles is $72,000.

Your Financial Counselor can help you look at different financing options, including, but not limited to: personal loans, Shared Risk® treatment, lower rate treatments, credit cards or home equity or refinance loans.

Where can I get more information about infertility?

American Fertility Association

As with any medical condition, in order to make the best choices about treatment, you need to have the most current and accurate information. There are several ways to get this information, including talking to your Gynecologist, calling Fertility Clinics and even the Internet.

The American Fertility Association is a good source of information about infertility. They include a referral guide to Fertility Doctors and Fertility Clinics, as well as a listing of agencies and support groups that can help you get through the infertility maze.

With listings of Support Groups, aids to help you find Fertility Doctors and Clinics in your area, and a useful list of Frequently Asked Questions, the AFA can help you find the information that you need to make good choices about your care.


Why and how can I increase my fertility with yoga?

Yoga is a great workout for both the body and mind. However, now it is even making its way into the bedroom. Studies show that there are certain ways that practicing Yoga can lead to an increase in fertility. Really.

Some yoga practitioners will tell you that Yoga can lead to an increase in fertility due to the influx of energy certain poses will direct to the body. They will tell you to practice certain poses, most centered around the hips and pelvis. While there is no hard science that these poses have any effect on energy, it's true that some people who had problems conceiving get pregnant after following these practices. Why is this happening?

Most people practice yoga as a way to decrease the stress in their life. It is their time to breathe and to relax. This, more than anything, is probably the reason yoga has positive results on fertility. By getting ahold of your stress levels you are helping your body, in an overall way, to increase its fertility.

By practicing yoga, and not any specific pose, in a relaxing and stress free way you are allowing your body to normalize and do the work that it needs to be doing. Following a steady yoga routine can lead to a healthier state of mind, a healthier body, and an improved chance at conceiving a child.


Picking the Right Infertility Class for You

Infertility can devastate a couple. If you and your partner are experiencing this circumstance, you don't have to go through it alone. You can choose to enroll in an infertility class or seminar. Here you can learn about the causes of infertility, how to cope with the pain and sadness that you will inevitably feel, how to improve your relationship despite these circumstances, and other options at your disposal, such as adoption. However, you may wonder how to find the class that best fits your needs. Here are five suggestions.

  • Location – Naturally, the proximity to a class to your home matters. Some people may not have qualms about venturing out of the town or sometimes even out-of-state for these classes. Others want something local. Perform research online to figure out your options and what classes are closest to you.

  • Cost – Some classes and seminars may cost money. This price tag would vary depending on the organization offering the classes, the duration of the classes, and what you will learn. Other classes are run by nonprofits which typically don't charge. If you do decide to take an infertility class that costs money, decide if it's within your budget to do so.

  • Support – While you will learn plenty in these classes, you will also want support in this difficult time. Therefore, you should look for a class that blends the two, providing information and assistance to navigate through these tough times.

  • Readiness – Sometimes after discovering that you're infertile, you aren't ready to consider your other options quite yet. You may feel too hurt or distressed to enroll in a class. You don't have to feel ashamed about that. If you do decide to take a class, do so only when you're ready.

  • Status – As mentioned, different organizations will teach these classes and seminars. In some cases, it may be a nonprofit, while in others, it could be a fertility clinic. If status matters to you, then you will want to choose an institution that best fits your needs during this time.

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Barbara Gibson