When I (Eloise, Founder of Fertility Help Hub) went through my own fertility journey, it wasn’t until I hit rock-bottom that I sought fertility counselling. In hindsight, I wish I’d thought about it earlier, as it would have been useful to support my husband’s infertility diagnosis (azoospermia due to Klinefelter Syndrome) and our IVF treatment with donor conception. Fertility counselling would have been hugely beneficial when we were thrown into the process of selecting a sperm donor too.
Understanding first-hand how helpful holistic support can be when you’re trying to conceive / going through fertility treatment, I’m delighted to hand over to the experts at Harley Street Fertility Clinic for them to explain how, when and in what capacity it can help.
hsfc.org.uk | @hsfc_uk
More About Mollie Graneek – Counsellor at Harley Street Fertility Clinic
Becoming a parent is considered to be one of the most gratifying, fundamental human experiences and something which most of us ‘expect’ to happen at the right stage of our life. For some, that expectation of becoming parents does not come easily and the diagnosis of infertility has a devastating effect on our lives. First let’s briefly delve into what Infertility really is…
Infertility occurs when a couple (or single woman) cannot get pregnant (conceive) despite having regular unprotected sex or, in the case of a single woman, artificial insemination. Around one in seven couples may have difficulty conceiving. This is approximately 3.5 million people in the UK. The majority of couples will conceive naturally within one year of trying to conceive if they have regular unprotected sex. Should pregnancy not occur naturally, they may resort to their general practitioner (GP) or a fertility clinic for assistance with conception.
Related Article – Fertility Help: Overcoming Decision Fatigue: How to Avoid Fertility Options Overwhelming You
The Psychological Impact of Infertility
Parenthood is considered to be one of the most transitional periods in adult life and the denial of parenthood through infertility comes with an abundance of psychological sequelae and stress. The psychological and social stress of infertility and assisted conception is well documented. There is general agreement from clinicians and patients that stress and distress, in some form, are significant sequelae of infertility. Individuals who learn that they are infertile often experience the normal but nevertheless distressing emotions which are seen in people who are grieving a significant loss – in this case, loss of the ability to procreate. Typical feelings include anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, anger, relational difficulties and self-worth. Ironically, stress and anxiety increase sexual dysfunction and therefore may perpetuate ‘infertility’.
It is often helpful to seek support through fertility counselling in order to help to process feelings, to develop strategies for coping with the feelings which are sometimes overwhelming and to provide a safe forum to explore the way forward. People who come for counselling are often concerned that they have little understanding of what is about to happen during fertility treatment and consider themselves to be in some way different from everyone else. They are fearful that their request for assisted conception is in some way unusual and seek ‘approval’ or reassurance that what they are doing is acceptable. They are worried about themselves and their perception of having failed in what they consider to be a fundamental right – the right to reproduce.
Related Video – 5 Things To Know About Embryos | Fertility Experts Live
Working at HSFC for Ten Years
Mollie considers her profession a “very rewarding, and also very painful job at times… it’s difficult to not empathise with people’s stories. Some people’s stories are hugely impactful. The pain resonates with me.” She understands the pain that some patients go through because she actually experienced it herself after suffering four miscarriages. But she was fortunate to have three healthy children afterwards; “I love being able to support people in their journey and see a very positive end result.”
Mollie tells us that she’s known Dr Venkat (Medical Director at HSFC) for 20 years; “We met at a different clinic, and when Dr Venkat opened up her fertility clinic, I was delighted to join her at HSFC as soon as it opened, and have been there ever since.” When asked about HSFC, Mollie simply says that it is a wonderfully calm fertility clinic with such a positive energy, and where everyone respects each other’s unique needs. When asked what her favourite part of the job is, Mollie simply replies: “meeting different people and supporting them through an extremely painful fertility journey. It is a great joy to hear of success stories following the despair of infertility.”
Related Article – Infertility Counselling: 10 Ways an Infertility Counsellor Can Help Through Infertility Trauma
You can hear from one of Harley Street Fertility Clinic’s patients here. If you’d like to have any further questions answered (following this week’s webinar) or to find out more about their services, feel free to message us or contact the fertility clinic directly here.