Emotional ramifications of fertility treatments

depressionAt CRGH, we know that having a baby, for some couples, is an overwhelming need. A natural urge that only becomes stronger when a couple wants to have a child but experiences difficulty conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term. The longer this battle carries on the more pressure couples feel.

Thanks to modern medicine, there are a number of fertility treatments that help couples complete their family and we offer a full range of those treatments. Our services include, but are not limited to, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilisation, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, and preimplantation genetic diagnosis and screening. We also offer egg and sperm donation as well as egg, sperm, and embryo freezing. So, for couples dealing with fertility challenges, we can definitely help.

angerBut, just because science has made it possible for infertile couples to become parents, it doesn’t mean there isn’t an emotional rollercoaster associated with the decision to do so. In fact, the biggest decision any couple will ever make in regard to fertility treatments is whether or not they really want to become parents. Fertility treatments, regardless of method, require an enormous emotional commitment and will have a permanent impact on the couple.

There are many emotional demands of undergoing fertility treatments, and every couple’s experience is different, but here are some ramifications that may come up:

  • The stress – shame, guilt, depression, anger – of a long-standing battle with infertility
  • Constantly dealing with different medical professionals
  • Embarrassing and sometimes uncomfortable medical procedures
  • Extensive travel to undergo treatments
  • Coping with the emotional rollercoaster that fertility drugs may trigger (in the mother)
  • Heightened financial strain
  • Heightened marital stress and difficulty interacting with family and friends
  • A deteriorating sex life
  • Invasive questions from family and friends
  • Recurrent miscarriage or failed embryo implantation
  • The uncertainty of whether or not the treatment will result in a healthy baby

Of course, all stress related to fertility treatments cannot be entirely avoided, but it certainly can be mitigated. That’s why we have a team of counsellors that are associated with CRGH and offer a free consultation to all of our patients at the beginning of their treatment.

Our counsellors are well-versed in the recurring emotional themes that fertility treatment patients deal with and specialise in these areas and delicate conversations. If patients decide to continue counselling beyond the initial consultation, they typically arrange that on their own with the counsellor, who usually practise out of their home.

For our more serious fertility treatment, such as egg or sperm donation, we do offer compulsory counselling, which is required by law.

Because the emotional toll of fertility treatments is so great, we urge couples to really think about the decision that they are making.