The importance of counselling
With all the tensions that surround the treatment of infertility, couples need and deserve sound psychological support. If you do decide to start on a course of investigation and treatment, ask your doctor to refer you to a counsellor to help you cope with the stress.
Don't feel you have to wait until you find yourselves well on into secondary referral; you need advice right from the start. Some procedures involve deep self-questioning, which strikes right at the heart of your relationship, and a couple will need a great deal of support. The treatment can also be lengthy and invasive, and there are many ethical issues surrounding assisted reproductive technologies, insemination, and the use of donors.
Psychological factors affecting fertility
The way you feel can in itself affect your fertility by causing a hormone disturbance or impotence. So, without proper support, fertility treatment may make matters worse. On the other hand, doctors have plenty of anecdotal evidence that some couples suddenly conceive very soon after making the decision to have their infertility investigated. It's as if taking the decision to do something about the problem releases the psychological tensions that may have been stopping them getting pregnant.
Questions to ask
- If you decided to have fertility treatment, would you tell friends and family, or would you try to keep it a complete secret?
- If you intend to keep it a secret, can you be sure that the truth won't come out, perhaps destructively, at a time of crisis?
- Could you cope with a multiple pregnancy?
- What if one, some, or all of your babies died?
- Having committed so much time and money to having a baby, how easy will you find it to let her go once she grows up?
- How long would you be prepared to carry on with infertility treatment?
- Would you consider using donor eggs or sperm?
- Would you think about adoption?
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