Fertility Counselling and patient support
At Fertility Specialists of Western Australia, we offer a comprehensive fertility counselling and support service that is available to all our patients and their partners before, during and at the conclusion of treatment.
Infertility is often a silent struggle, with patients reporting feelings of anxiety, isolation, depression and loss of control.
Research shows that infertility and fertility treatment is considered a form of chronic stress that can give rise to a variety of psychological difficulties. Counselling can therefore assist with developing a better understanding and more adequate responses to the experience of infertility and the demands of treatment.
The emotional rollercoaster
Assisted reproductive treatments can be emotionally challenging, and sometimes places strains on your everyday relationships. How you deal with these feelings will depend on your personality and life experiences. You may find that your usual support and coping strategies are not adequate for these new experiences. Fertility counselling may help you understand the journey in a better way and may put you in a better position to respond and to cope with the demands of your fertility treatment.
It is helpful to have someone really listen to you without giving ‘advice’ and be able to talk to someone you can be completely honest with. You may only have one session, or choose to have ongoing sessions, with or without your partner.
Our experienced Psychologists are approved Fertility Counsellors with the Western Australian Reproductive Technology Council (RTC) and are based at each of our locations in Applecross and Claremont. Telephone counselling is also available for patients who are unable to attend because of personal circumstances (e.g., country patients). Appointments for counselling can be made by phoning the clinic or by sending us an email.
"This process can feel very isolating at times and it shouldn’t be. Talking to a counsellor can help process some of these feelings and equip you with skills and strategies to get through the next stage of this journey"
There are various types of support services available:
Implications counselling (pre-treatment and donor)
This type of counselling aims to assist you to understand the implications of the proposed treatment for yourselves and for any child born as a result of treatment. This treatment includes IVF, IVM, ICSI, PGT and fertility preservation (for social or medical reasons). Under WA legislation and RTAC guidelines, in the case of a “known donation”, all parties are required to attend “donor issues” implications counselling sessions both at the beginning and at the end of mandated “cooling-off” periods to ensure adequate understanding of the complex short and long-term aspects of donation and therefore make an informed decision.
This type of counselling aims to give support at times of heightened stress (e.g., “2 week wait”, Negative results, cancelled cycle, pregnancy loss, change in treatment direction). Counselling incorporates assistance with coping strategies, stress management, problem solving and advocacy.
This type of counselling is usually more in depth and involves several sessions with the aim to help people cope with the consequences of infertility treatment and problem solve. Relationship problems, anxiety and depression, dealing with phobias (e.g. needles), lifestyle issues, grief issues and gender issues may require specific therapeutic interventions.
Brief telephone support
Our counsellor regularly telephones patients after they have had an unsuccessful IVF cycle, Frozen Embryo Transfer (usually 7 to 10 days following a result) or other negative outcomes in order to provide additional support, at a time when a patient’s need for support may be greater.
From time-to-time, the counsellor, together with other staff, offer support groups, as an opportunity for patients to meet other patients in a supportive environment. These events will be promoted as the occur.
Your counselling session may focus on issues such as:
Preparing for fertility treatment and making decisions about your treatment options
The impact on your relationships
Coping with unsuccessful treatment cycles and/or pregnancy losses
Coping with emotions around other people’s pregnancies, births, and children
How your family, friends and colleagues behave or react
Specific concerns related to donor treatment cycles, or feelings of anxiety or loss of control.
Fees and Appointments
We encourage all Perth patients having fertility treatment to take advantage of our counselling service.