When To See A Fertility Counselor

Of course, everyone deals with stress in their own way. Some women cry, others pray, some take up unhealthy habits, others are stoic. Even so, at some point, you may feel the need to seek out a mental health professional to provide you with an objective sounding board for your thoughts and feelings.

The counselor can assess the degree of nervous tension that you are feeling and how it's affecting your relationship with your partner and with others. The counselor can help you come to terms with realistic expectations. You'll also explore new ways to manage and cope with your stress.

If you are having difficulty deciding whether to talk with a counselor, consider that it almost assuredly won't hurt you and it very well might help you. Many women find it beneficial to seek professional help to manage their emotions and also when they feel that they have reached a decision-making crossroad and need guidance regarding taking the next step in treatment. You may exhibit certain signs that indicate you could benefit from talking with an infertility counselor. Here's a checklist that you may find helpful:

• Persistent feelings of sadness, guilt, or worthlessness

• Persistent feelings of bitterness, anger, or resentment

• Loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed

• Depression that lasts for more than a couple of weeks

• Agitation and high levels of anxiety

• Complete immersion in and preoccupation with infertility

• Friction and strain within your relationship with your partner

• Difficulty concentrating and trouble accomplishing tasks that you could once do

• Increased use of alcohol or drugs

• Change in appetite, weight, or sleep patterns

• Thoughts about suicide or death

Consider counseling when you are feeling stuck and need to sort out your fertility treatment options and alternatives. Here are some possible scenarios that you may be facing:

• How can you best go about gathering the information that you'll need to make the best treatment decisions for you?

• Should you partake in an ART procedure? How will you deal with the emotional, physical, and financial burdens?

• What coping and relaxation skills can you learn to deal with your upcoming diagnostic tests, invasive procedures, and surgeries?

• How can you cope with the losses and disappointments associated with infertility and still continue on with more treatments?

• What about moving on to third-party reproduction? How would you deal with a third-party donation of sperm, egg, or embryo?

• What are the implications of surrogacy and/or adoption in your life?

• How can you and your partner resolve your differences when it comes to dealing with fertility treatments?

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