Counselling, support and patient concerns
The fertility journey can be a stressful time and you may need the support of others. It can help to confide in friends and family for support, and talk through whatever you may be feeling.
Sometimes additional professional help from someone who is completely impartial, such as an independent counsellor, may be helpful. We actively encourage couples and individuals to seek counselling if support is needed – for some treatments it is considered essential.
You can opt to have counselling on your own, with a partner, or even with a friend if required. It depends on your needs, and what you’d feel most comfortable with.
Some counselling is there for support at those times when things may not be going so well. Other types of counselling (e.g. implications) are required for specific treatments – see below.
HFEA regulations stipulate that counselling should be offered as part of a licensed fertility treatment, such as IVF or any treatment involving donated sperm, eggs or embryos.
At NUH, we take this a little further. We have made counselling an integral part of the patient journey. We believe it is essential that you understand as much as you can about particular treatments involving donated sperm.
Implications counselling provides an emotionally safe place for you to reflect on and understand the various issues that may affect you, and the lasting implications for you (and those close to you) both now and in the future. It takes into account the welfare and needs of the future child. It’s an opportunity to anticipate and plan for this conception and family formation.
Infertility and its treatment is a significant emotional journey, and may have an impact on your relationships with others. These emotions can be far-reaching. Support counselling is an opportunity to explore your feelings, coping strategies, options, and your relationship with partners, family, friends or colleagues. It can help you to look at both the short and long-term consequences of treatment and make any adjustments to your lifestyle, work-life balance and home life that might be required.
You might find that you need support at different stages of treatment, and you can access support counselling at any time before, during, or after treatment. Counselling is not just for the female partner – men are also actively encouraged, as often they don’t have the same support mechanisms or open emotional communication with friends and family.
There are a number of organisations set up to offer counselling services and advice:
- The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) (www.hfea.gov.uk)
- The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (www.bacp.co.uk) can help you find counselling services in your area.
- The British Infertility Counselling Association (www.bica.net) is an organisation set up specifically for guidance and support for infertility issues.
- ParentLine Plus (www.parentlineplus.org.uk) is a national charity offering support to parents in the UK.
To access counselling and support services, please contact the nursing team.
Extensive support for the male has in the past not been widely available. However, websites like the ‘all about fertility‘ site are beginning to provide extensive support information including facts and figures, review articles and a support forum. Click here for more information.
The leaflets below can be downloaded/printed
Other useful support links
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
British Infertility Counselling Association
The leading national charity providing information and support for those considering adoption and for adoptive families
Brilliant Beginnings is a not-for-profit professional UK surrogacy agency. It has a prominent reputation for championing the interests of non-traditional families and helping change law and policy.
British Fertility Society
Membership is open to a range of disciplines with an interest in infertility, reproductive medicine and biology. Contributes to national policy formation, education and raising of practice standards in the provision of fertility treatment
An independent membership organisation, it is a successor to the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF).
Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy is a not-for-profit surrogacy agency offering information and support to intended parents and surrogates.
Counselling Directory is a comprehensive database of UK counsellors and psychotherapists, with information on their training and experience, fees, contact details.
The Daisy Network Premature Menopause Support Group is a charity for women who have experienced early menopause. Provides information about premature menopause and the issues around it.
Donor Conception Network
National charity, providing information and support for people trying to conceive through donor treatment, and for families created in this way.
National charity, providing information and support to those living with this condition.
The European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology facilitates research, contributes to European policy developments, organises teaching, training and international conference opportunities.
Leading UK national charity providing information, support and advice for anyone who has or has had fertility problems.
Fertility Friends is the leading online infertility community in the UK, with members at every stage of infertility, adoption, parenting and moving on after fertility treatment.
National information service for people interested in adopting a child in England
A global friendship and support network for childless women. Resources available include an online community and regular workshop events.
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Association
UK’s independent regulator overseeing all fertility clinics in the UK and has essential information about fertility treatment and clinics
National charity offering information and support for those who have had a miscarriage
Multiple Births Foundation
Multiple Births Foundation is a charity which supports multiple birth families, educates and advises professionals about their special needs.
The Project Group on Assisted Reproduction has a specific remit to consider issues relating to infertility and assisted human conception from a distinct social work perspective.
The Progress Educational Trust (PET) advances public understanding of science, law and ethics in the fields of human genetics, assisted reproduction, embryology and stem cell research through education and debate.
National stillbirth and neonatal death charity, supports people affected by the death of a baby.
Not-for-profit organisation supporting those considering and going through surrogacy
The twins and multiple births association is a charity providing support services to meet the unique challenges that multiple birth families face.
Education, training and accreditation for psychotherapists. Website offers a Find a Therapist facility.
Verity is the UK charity for women whose lives are affected by polycystic ovary disease.