Parenthood is considered an important milestone in a couple’s life. When “good news” seems to have passed you by, couples have the next “good news” – the chance to be able to conceive with the help of a fertility specialist. Thanks to science and advanced technology, couples can look forward to having their dreams come true.
However, IVF treatment can be a stressful experience for some couples. There is a link between mental health and fertility. It is important for couples to recognize the need for psychological support during this time to make the journey as comfortable as possible.
Types of Psychological Support
Emotional issues during fertility treatment are common. This is in part due to the hormonal treatment administered to women during the treatment process. Generally, there are three types of psychological support couples can receive during this time.
Education support for emotional wellbeing
This can be as simple as getting the answers you need to common questions you may have. We also recommend that couples go through documentary resources on stress coping, audiovisual information of IVF processes and treatments. It is important to receive support after negative pregnancy tests, and abandoned cycles. We believe that the patient-centric care we offer helps to improve emotional wellbeing and also increases a couple’s acceptance and preparation of fertility treatments.
Couples who come for infertility treatment are already saddened by the fact that they have not been able to conceive naturally. Infertility is associated with anger, depression, anxiety, marital problems, sexual dysfunction, and social isolation. There is a sense of loss and social stigma that many childless couples face. We, at Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic, understand the issues. All members of our infertility team are trained to provide emotional support. The main aim of such counseling is to help couples use their resources to cope with situations in and outside the clinic.
Professional counselors can help couples address specific needs at different stages of the IVF journey. Some couples are particularly anxious because of the unfulfilled desire to get pregnant, the repeated cycles of interventions with IVF treatment, long-lasting wait that often creates frustration, disappointment that can put an additional marital, familial, and interpersonal strain on relationships.
Professional counselors are qualified and have a working knowledge of reproductive psychology and infertility. They can help couples handle complex issues, assisting couples to accept the situation and develop coping strategies. Such counselors can also help couples deal with specific issues they are facing in their marital life.
Tips for couples
IVF can impact a couple’s life in different ways – socially, financially, emotionally, and physically and all of these factors can lead to psychological issues. Here are a few tips to help you make it through the IVF journey.
Look after your relationships. Have open, honest communication with your partner before starting the IVF cycle so that you can be strong together throughout the procedure. Discuss what you expect of each other during the treatment like whether you want to go together for all the appointments, what to do if you need to undergo unexpected procedures.
Find support from friends and family. It’s important to have an extended circle of support apart from your spouse. This extended circle should consist of people who understand and know you. Studies have found that a good support group can decrease stress and in turn increase positive pregnancy outcomes. (1)
Identify what causes you stress and consider ways to cope. Think about solutions to these stressors and anticipate ahead. You and your partner may deal with stress in different ways. It is important to recognize those differences and have a good discussion with your partner. Learn to support each other and reduce conflict.
Exercise is a good way to reduce stress. Other ways to de-stress can include listening to music, relaxation tapes, meditation, and humour to lighten your mood. Try yoga or breathing techniques to calm your mind and body. Express your feelings in a journal if you think it helps.
Eat healthy nutritional meals, cut out smoking or excessive drinking.
Don’t make major changes in your life like taking on a big project at work or moving to a new place or changing jobs. Avoid anything that can add to the stress levels.
Don’t hesitate to seek professional counseling
Everyone is different but there are some common signs that show professional psychological support may be required. Here are just a few:
- You are constantly thinking about your fertility treatment and struggling to cope with daily routines
- Strained relationships make you want to isolate yourself from others.
- You are experiencing strong feelings of guilt, anxiety, or depression
- Persistent sadness and tearfulness
At Xenith Advanced Fertility Centre, we can assure couples that they will receive the psychological support needed during any kind of infertility treatment with us. Maintaining mental health during fertility problems translates to having a calm, joyful spirit – this is really half the battle won! Let’s work together to make your experience as comfortable as possible. Visit or schedule an appointment at Xenith.