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What is Infertility Counseling?

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  • Written By: Marisa O'Connor
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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Infertility counseling helps couples open up and maintain a dialog about infertility issues. During infertility counseling, couples are presented with all of their treatment options so they can make an informed decision. Many couples underestimate the emotional impact of coping with and making a decision about infertility. An infertility counselor can equip the couple with tools to manage and alleviate the emotional stress that so often comes with infertility.

Options to consider during infertility counseling include in vitro fertilization, sperm or egg donation, adoption and child-free living. Some possible treatments for male infertility include surgery, prescription or intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Problems can develop when partners aren't on the same page regarding treatment plans for infertility.

Infertility counseling can help clarify why the couple is making their decision and confirm that it is a joint decision. An infertility counselor can help the couple decide if, how and when they will discuss the decision with friends and family. If adoption is considered, infertility counseling can help the couple consider how open or closed adoption might affect their future child. If a donor or surrogate is being considered, the infertility counselor can help the couple decide what criteria they are looking for in a donor.

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Infertility sometimes causes feelings of powerlessness. Having a child is a deep biological drive. When the body doesn't cooperate with the drive, feelings of resentment and guilt can arise between partners. Infertility can affect self-esteem and sense of identity in both men and women, which is often destructive to the relationship. Infertility counseling can address these issues.

Many couples feel reluctant to get their hopes up about a treatment, especially if other treatments haven't been successful. Sometimes infertility treatment isn't effective because of a high level of emotional stress. High stress levels can cause the couple's sex life to suffer, adding to the conceiving barrier. An infertility specialist can refer the couple to a psychologist or sex therapist to aid with emotional and sexual troubles, respectively. Some infertility programs have made infertility counseling a prerequisite for beginning fertility treatment, because of the emotionally delicate nature of infertility.

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