by: Dr. Lila Hakim, C.Psych.
Individuals and couples who are pursuing assisted fertility treatments experience unique challenges. The numerous considerations associated with assisted reproduction can be overwhelming. Preparing for medical procedures can also create challenges in terms of sifting through complex information, making decisions, and altering life and work schedules to facilitate treatments. Medical procedures may also be a source of distress, and can contribute to high levels of stress and anxiety. Research affirms that individuals undergoing this process experience stress and distress at levels similar to those of other serious medical conditions. These circumstances can undermine the individual’s and couple’s emotional and physical health, which also impacts the fertility treatment process.
For individuals and couples considering assisted reproduction, counselling prior to engaging in fertility treatments provides an important source of information and support to fully prepare for the process. Research has shown that many individuals and couples find fertility counselling prior to treatment to be important and helpful, even if they did not expect it to be beforehand. Whether the choice to pursue medically-assisted reproduction is related to personal or partner infertility, a same-sex relationship, or a choice to become a single parent, fertility counselling can greatly assist in preparing for forthcoming procedures and potential stressors associated with them (e.g., IUI or IVF). In the case of third-party reproduction (e.g., Donor Sperm or Egg, Surrogacy), there are many considerations to think through beforehand, such as the choice of donor or surrogate and disclosure to children in the future.
During the course of fertility treatments, decisions about whether to continue or discontinue can also be distressing. There may be a sense of loss or grief following unsuccessful cycles. We work to assist individuals and couples in managing the course of treatment and related decisions, and openly discuss potential alternatives as individuals or couples set out to explore other ways of becoming parents.
To support you through this process, CFIR psychologists and clinicians provide comprehensive counselling in preparation for fertility treatments in accordance with established counselling guidelines. We prepare reports and communicate with fertility clinics to assure the continuity of your care. We are also familiar with assisted reproduction and alternative options and are in a good position to support individuals and couples to prepare for and manage their fertility treatment. We also help partners cope with the intense emotional reactions and deeper meanings associated with unsuccessful fertility treatment cycles. CFIR psychologists and clinicians also work to improve our clients’ coping efforts and strengthen their resilience.
Read more about our Fertility Counselling Treatment Service.