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 At IRMS
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 mental health services to assist our patients in all aspects of treatment. Research has shown that talking about this crisis with a mental health professional can facilitate the development of necessary coping skills and add confidence in your decision-making strategies.
So get empowered and reach out to one of our amazing team of mental health counselors.
Kristen Mulheren Levitt, MS, LCSW
My name is Kristen, and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in reproductive issues (infertility, pregnancy loss, selective reduction, birth trauma), third party reproduction, perinatal and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders as well as women’s issues. I provide emotional wellness services to individuals and couples in a safe, compassionate and inclusive environment. I tailor services to meet each client and their specific needs and incorporate an eclectic and integrative approach, image and memory replacement therapy as well cognitive, interpersonal, supportive and mindfulness-based approaches. My goal is to assist clients as they develop self-care, brave the many challenges they face and learn to lead fulfilling lives.
Judy Kottick, LCSW
Judith Kottick, LCSW, is a recognized expert in the field of reproductive counseling. She developed and directed the psychological services departments at the Institute of Reproductive Medicine and Sciences at St. Barnabas Medical Center, at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey and at IVF New Jersey. She is frequently invited to give workshops on general infertility, gamete donation, same sex family building and surrogacy in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut tri-state region and throughout the country.
Ms. Kottick is currently a consultant to reproductive medicine programs in the tri-state area and maintains a private practice in Jersey City. She draws upon her postgraduate training as a psychotherapist, in behavioral medicine at the Mind/Body Institute and in Complicated Grief at Columbia University, to provide a personalized approach to helping people cope with the challenges of fertility treatment, pregnancy loss, adoption and parenting. Ms. Kottick has served as a mentor for Resolve and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. She is on the Mental Health Advisory Board of Parents via Egg Donation and has written numerous articles for professional organizations, in addition to contributing a chapter to the book, “Frozen Dreams.”
Claudia Pascale, PhD
Claudia Pascale, PhD, had been the Director of Psychological and Support Services at IRMS for over 20 years and has recently moved to focusing on her private practice. As a psychologist and specialist in the field of mental health as it relates to reproduction and family building she helps patients and their families’ deal with the struggles of infertility. She sees individuals and couples for counseling; organizes and offers support groups for multiple themes.
Dr. Pascale has been in the mental health field since 1979, servicing a wide range of populations. She received her Ph.D. in Counseling from Fordham University and Behavioral Medicine training from Harvard Medical School’s Mind/Body Institute.
Dr. Pascale is trained in cognitive behavioral psychotherapy, as well as, utilizing eclectic methods and modalities in the treating the psychological aspects and related issues of maternal mental health. She is a past member of Resolve’s Mental Health Advisory Group; past chair of the Mental Health Professional Group of ASRM and the current MHPG representative on SART (Society of Reproductive Technology).
Esther Tresser-Polanco, LMHC, LPC
Esther Tresser-Polanco, LMHC, LPC has been a therapist for more than twenty years. Licensed in both New York and New Jersey, she is a trained specialist in infertility and third-party reproduction, working both with individuals and couples. Esther draws upon her extensive experience and training to help patients navigate the emotional and physical challenges of infertility and feel more informed and prepared to make decisions, while gaining understanding, being supported, and developing tools to cope with the often overwhelming family building process.
Esther is trained in Accelerated Resolution Therapy, as well as a host of other evidence-based modalities. She has been a presenter at various trainings and conferences. An active member of the Mental Health Professional Group (MHPG) of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), she is currently a member of both the ASRM-MHPG Continuing Education Committee and the Telemental Health Task Force, and past chair of the ASRM-MHPG Connections Committee. Esther is also on the Advisory Board for the Jefferson Infertility Counseling Conference.
Remember, there are 31 Ways to Build a Family. The manner may be different but the result is the same.