The importance of your body being in tip top condition for IVF and fertility treatment is widely discussed – but what about your mind and emotional wellbeing? IVF counselling and support during IVF treatment isn’t talked about as much. IVF isn’t just taxing on the body, it can be emotionally draining and mentally exhausting for both you and your partner.

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that IVF patients should be offered IVF counselling by fertility clinics before, during and after IVF treatment (regardless of the outcome) to allow patients the opportunity to discuss problems and feelings in a safe and completely confidential environment.

Dr Gorgy, Fertility Consultant here at The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy, says: “Couples undergoing IVF treatment can feel like they are on an emotional rollercoaster. So much emphasis is placed on the physical health of IVF patients, but mental wellbeing is equally important. IVF patients can be particularly hard on themselves when they are struggling with their emotions at a time when they feel they should be excited and happy.”

The unpredictable nature of IVF treatment can leave you feeling like you need a little extra support. You may experience unexpected feelings like depression, increased anxiety, and you can find yourself feeling both overwhelmed and vulnerable. “All of our IVF patients and their partners are offered counselling, and most who go ahead find it beneficial.” says Dr Gorgy.

Working During IVF Treatment

It’s important to consider the effect of continuing to work, whilst undergoing fertility investigations and IVF treatment, can have. Whilst there are currently no statutory rights for employees to take time off during IVF treatment, employers should treat your medical appointments the same as any doctor appointment as per the conditions of your contract of employment. Despite this, some find juggling work and fertility appointments draining. It might be a good option to negotiate flexible working if possible during this period, or to arrange to use some of your annual leave.

Benefits of IVF Counselling

Having a network of friends and family around you to lean on during IVF treatment is essential. Whether it is a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen or help with physical tasks, a support network can help you to feel supported and cope with difficult emotions. However, sometimes it’s easier to speak with someone you don’t know.

Deciding to go ahead with IVF is a huge life step – a life-changing experience – not just for you as the patient, but also your partner. IVF counselling can be really useful even if you don’t necessarily feel like you ‘need’ it. It lets you talk through feelings and thoughts free of judgement and helps you find the right coping mechanism for you.

“Although each person deals with the physical and emotional stress of IVF treatment differently, we highly recommend all our IVF patients undergo fertility counselling to support them on their journey to parenthood,” explains Dr Gorgy. “IVF support groups – both online and in person – can also be a useful way to meet with others who can relate to what you are going through.”

Why You Might Need Emotional Support During IVF Treatment

People’s reasons for attending IVF counselling vary from person to person. If your IVF cycle was unsuccessful, counselling can allow you a chance to acknowledge your feelings and discuss why the IVF wasn’t successful before undergoing treatment again.

It may surprise you to learn that, even if your IVF cycle is successful, it’s not always smooth sailing and some find it tricky adjusting to the change and their new life as a parent.

Some of the key times and reasons IVF patients feel like they need support include:

  • When making a decision about undergoing IVF.
  • The strain IVF and fertility treatment puts on a relationship.
  • During the two week waiting period after IVF and before your pregnancy test.
  • After an unsuccessful IVF cycle.
  • After a successful IVF cycle.
  • Adjusting to a life changing event.
  • Coping with other people’s’ pregnancies.
  • Coping with questions.
  • Coping with the physical strain of IVF.
  • Pregnancy loss.
  • Coping with infertility.

“There are steps you can take to help protect yourself from the stresses of fertility treatment,” advises Dr Gorgy. “As the saying goes: Knowledge is power. And when it comes to IVF treatment, this is particularly pertinent. Educating yourself about IVF treatment, the procedures involved, and the decisions you may have to make can help you to feel more prepared and can alleviate some of the stress. We advise all of our patients to read the information on our website, and to do their own research in preparation. It’s also important to choose a fertility clinic where both you and your partner you feel comfortable.”

IVF Treatment at The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy

Here at The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy we do everything we can to support you through your fertility journey. If you are considering receiving treatment with us, you can rest assured that you will be offered counselling alongside any IVF treatment. We want you to know that you are not alone and we will be there with you throughout the journey.

If you’d like to meet The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy team and find out more about the clinic, you can register to attend our FREE Open Day. Alternatively, if you have any questions you’d like answered, or would like to book a consultation, please don’t hesitate to call us on 020 7224 1880.