Are You Struggling With Infertility?
You never thought you’d be here. You assumed it would be easy, and you didn’t plan for detours in the process.
And yet here you are, struggling to have a baby while everyone around you seems to create a family so easily.
Experiencing infertility, regardless of cause, can take its toll on your mind, your body, your finances, and your relationships. Struggling with something that we understand to happen naturally and to come so easily to others can feel frustrating, upsetting, and unfair. It is unfair.
The Facts About Infertility
If you’re struggling to have a baby, know that you’re not alone. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 heterosexual women of childbearing age struggles to get pregnant within a year of trying. Primary infertility involves struggling to achieve and maintain a single pregnancy, whereas secondary infertility involves facing this challenge after already having had a successful pregnancy.
Infertility is caused by a variety of factors, such as genetics, the structure of reproductive organs, hormonal issues, and age. Other risk factors include stress, smoking, exposure to environmental toxins, eating disorders, and sexually transmitted diseases. Same-sex couples and single people who want to start a family may or may not face these risk factors yet inevitably will turn to fertility treatments as they try to start a family.
Thankfully, science has evolved to help individuals and couples build families even with fertility challenges. In fact, family is an ever-broadening concept. According to a 2015 Pew report, “. . . There is no longer one dominant family form in the United States. Parents today are raising their children against a backdrop of increasingly diverse and, for many, constantly evolving family forms.”
Still, struggling with infertility – or using assisted reproductive technologies – can be a stressful and time-consuming process, straining individuals, relationships, schedules, and bank accounts.
Infertility Counseling At Gatewell
Infertility is challenging, but you don’t have to go through it alone. There’s a lot that can arise emotionally as you navigate infertility. You’ll want a mental health professional in your corner during this time.
Gatewell Therapy Center offers specialized infertility therapy to provide support and education through the physical and psychological challenges of fertility procedures. We work with individuals and couples, including single parents by choice and same-sex parents, helping you explore and evaluate family-building options.
What To Expect
In your first appointment, we’ll get a sense of where you are in your fertility journey. We’ll talk about how long you’ve been trying, your (and your partner’s) medical and psychological history, and what your experiences with trying to have a baby have been like so far. We’ll talk about the stress associated with infertility and may offer more formal assessments for anxiety or depression, for instance, if warranted. We’ll ask about your goals for counseling, and we’ll come up with a treatment plan together.
How We Can Help You Cope With Infertility
Infertility therapy at Gatewell is comprehensive and individually tailored to fit your needs. Depending on your goals, we might focus on one aspect of your care, or we might shift around depending on what’s on your mind and what you’re needing most.
Infertility counseling may include:
- Coping with anxiety, stress, and depression
- Grieving the fertility path you had imagined, as well as any losses along the way
- Managing treatments and life simultaneously
- Exploring fertility options (including using donor sperm, donor eggs, donor embryos, and/or working with gestational carriers)
- Making well-informed treatment decisions
- Enhancing couples’ communication
- Advocating for effective, therapeutic care in a medical setting
Gatewell also conducts psychological evaluations related to third-party reproduction. We are able to screen potential donors and gestational carriers and offer formal consultation with intended parents, providing education and support around the family-building process.
Our director, Dr. Rosenfeld, is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), along with its Mental Health Professional Group, and a current member of RESOLVE. She has participated in educational programs through ASRM and through the Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. Gatewell abides by ASRM guidelines in making decisions and constructing recommendations for those choosing to build families using assisted reproductive technologies.
But You Might Still Have Concerns About Starting Infertility Counseling . . .
I’m just starting with this journey. Do I really need counseling just yet?
We believe that starting therapy at the beginning of an infertility journey can set you on an effective path. There’s a lot to digest and process even early on, and having some educated support and help with navigating choices and your emotions around them can be helpful.
We spend so much time already thinking/upset about this issue. Why should we spend more?
Just because you’re spending time and energy thinking about having a baby doesn’t mean you’re using that time and energy effectively. We can help you understand what you’re facing and make important treatment decisions. We’ll help you develop coping skills to manage the stress associated with infertility. We’ll work toward reducing worry, indecision, and stuckness and toward increasing your sense of agency in the process.
Fertility treatments are already overwhelming. Therapy is just another appointment and expense.
It’s true that going through infertility can challenge your resources in many ways. But meeting with an infertility counselor is time and money well spent.
Your doctors will offer protocols and medications, without much help on the emotional front. We provide support, coping strategies, and assistance with navigating everything else.
We’ve been battling infertility for years. We don’t have much hope at this point that anything will help.
Going through infertility for years is incredibly taxing. Inevitably, there’s grief and loss wrapped up in this. We think it’s helpful to have an infertility counselor by your side to help you process some of this loss so that you don’t get stuck in burnout, overwhelm, or depression. Moreover, if you’re still trying, we can help support you through upcoming decisions, procedures, and emotions.
Infertility Counseling Can Help You Chart A Course Forward
Coping with infertility is challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. Our expert therapists can support you through doctor’s appointments and medical decisions, emotional stress, and any couples’ challenges associated with infertility. We’ll walk alongside you on your path toward creating a family, one intentional and compassionate step at a time.