At IRMS we understand the heartache of infertility. We recognize that treatment can be stressful even under the best of circumstances, and that there are many issues one has to consider both before and during the treatment process.
Fertility Counseling Services And Support Groups At IRMS
No matter who you are, coming into the world of fertility treatment is similar to entering a scary fun house when you were a kid, no matter where you are or how much you know, there is always a fright just around the corner. If you are reading this, you likely know far more than you ever wanted to know about reproduction and you sometimes wonder, “why me”? Left unaddressed, the stress created by infertility can lead to symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.
Infertility is a crisis that can impact nearly every aspect of life, including your relationships, career and self-esteem. Unless you have had a medical condition earlier in your life, very few people ever plan on needing medical treatment to conceive a child and build their families. Thus, facing a tangle of emotions that can leave them feeling hopeless and isolated.
In the U.S. alone 12% of women struggle with fertility issues. That’s about 7.4 million women. If you are part of a couple, 1 in 8 will encounter difficulty in building their families. The estimated percentage of men who have reported seeing a fertility specialist at least once is 7.5% with 40% of fertility issues relating to the female and 40% reported to be male factor. Of those couples struggling with infertility, 25% are reported to be both male and female factor. And 20% of infertility cases all together, have no known causes. For those who seek treatment, most didn’t expect to need medical intervention to build their family. As such, a diagnosis of infertility and treatment for infertility can lead to dismay and disappointment or worse.
Singles or LGBTQIA couples, typically unaware of the medical process required to build their families, can be daunted by the process and overwhelmed by the uncertainty.
In an effort to treat the total patient, we offer a holistic approach, caring for the body and the mind. With this approach in mind IRMS has on-site mental health services to assist our patients in all aspects of treatment. Our motto is, “Let’s Talk About It”. Research has shown that talking about this crisis with a mental health professional in the right setting can facilitate the development of necessary coping skills, confidence in your decision making and the development of strategies to negotiate treatment and life stress.
We provide our patients with a wide range of support, including individual and couples counseling, support group meetings focusing on different aspects of infertility and educational events to facilitate the patient’s understanding of their experience as well as reproductive mental health appropriate referrals. Our services can help you cope with the many concerns in fertility treatment:
- Dilemmas about the myriad of decisions that need to be made
- Ethical and practical concerns about treatment options
- Managing one’s expectations throughout treatment
- Negotiating the feelings that accompany infertility and fertility treatment
- Communication issues with those in your life: partner, family, friends, co-workers, etc.
- What to do when treatment doesn’t work
- Community resources
Research indicates that support can help one feel better with virtually any overwhelming health problem. In particular, women who attend support groups feel less psychological distress than those who do not attend. Condition-based support groups, like those for infertility, do more than offer support, compassion and friendship. Participation in such groups also validates emotions; provides advice and insight into a diagnosis; and offers tips on dealing with relationships, work, family and friends.
The research also shows that despite its hardships, the stressors of infertility can be managed. To that end, IRMS has developed several programs that are designed for those overwhelmed with the stress to create a family or for those who want to do all they can do to prepare for the stressors of treatment.
Samples of some programs are:
General Infertility Support Group – Professionally led group for those who are facing the same difficulties has proven to help reduce stress and anxiety, increase confidence and improve one’s mood and ability to make decisions and manage the fertility treatment.
Egg Donor Recipient Forum – Designed for those building their family via Egg Donation.
Pregnancy After Infertility Support Group – Achieving a pregnancy after treatment can be daunting. Often anxiety is felt when the expectation was to feel only joy.
Miscarriage Support Group – Miscarriages can be devastating especially after struggling to get pregnant. This group focuses on creating a supportive environment by a seasoned professional who helps one move towards healing this most profound life trauma. Focus is on helping to find ways to honor this loss and move forward in a healthy and balanced manner.
Family Member Support Group – Sometimes your family just doesn’t get it and it’s so hard to explain it all to them. This group is for those who love you and need assistance in knowing the best ways to support you.
Single Women – Building your family as a single is not what you expected. Get the support of other singles by choice.
Same Sex Couples – Even though you are not diagnosed as an infertile couple the process of accessing care can be daunting and overwhelming. Garner the support of others building their family in a similar way.
For more information about IRMS’ Psychological Support Services, feel free to contact:
Claudia Pascale, Ph.D. – Director of Psychological and Support Services, IRMS at Saint Barnabas
94 Old Short Hills Road, Suite 403, East Wing, Livingston, NJ 07039
T 973.322.5356 F 973.322.8890 CPascale@sbivf.com
Remember, there are 31 Ways to Build a Family. The manner may be different but the result is the same.