When one hears “counseling” they often assume that something is wrong that needs to be fixed. At times this can be true, but counseling can also help to sort out the implications of information as well as any resulting decisions that are required.
Counseling for the LGBT community, although at times can be similar as with the infertility patient, it begins from a very different perspective. The role of the counselor is to help one navigate whatever issues are relevant to their situation and provide psycho-education and support as needed.
Coming to an infertility clinic as a patient who does not have a diagnosis is a very different experience. Although both come to “build a family”, the LGBT community typically is not expecting to overcome a medical diagnosis. Therefore, counseling is designed to facilitate the many decisions that are required:
- helping think through the reproductive options
- considering the implications of their decisions
- providing answers or resources to questions about the treatment process
- providing guidance and/or informational resources for the present decisions and future parenting questions
Counseling allows one to understand these decisions in the context of one’s life and how they apply individually to the person and/or the couple. A few examples of questions an individual or a couple are faced with are:
- which treatment plan and how do I/we feel about it?
- choosing donor sperm – how, when and where – things to consider
- choosing donor egg – how, when and where – things to consider
- whose sperm or egg will the couple use – what does this mean to each individual, now and later – things to consider
- whose uterus will be used – what does this mean to each individual, now and later – things to consider
- choosing a gestational carrier – things to consider before, during and after pregnancy
- if the third party is known – things to consider
These are just a few of the decisions presented when deciding to use a fertility center.
In addition to plan-specific counseling, IRMS also offers individual and couples counseling, support groups for specific topics, educational forums, stress management and donor gamete and gestational carrier psychological assessment.