Coping with a diagnosis of Infertility can have a huge impact on a couple and their relationship. Infertility can also affect relationships within family, friends and identity especially for couples of colour and specific religions. Advances in assisted reproduction techniques mean that some couples can fulfil their dream of having a child but there is a high degree of stress and anxiety that accompanies a very invasive treatment regime. Fifty percent of patients pay for their own treatment and with the average cost of a cycle being £11,000 adding financial pressure onto an already often stressed relationship.
Seventy percent of patients reported that infertility treatment affected their relationship negatively. Couples experienced increased anxiety, depression, a loss of intimacy, decreased self esteem and an increased feeling of isolation. Although it is a requirement that clinics offer a couple counselling before treatment this may only be one or two sessions and these usually cover some aspects and implications of treatment outcome. Counselling with an experienced therapist can support the couple with the unique aspects of the treatment cycle. Men and women tend to process their grief differently and this can complicate emotions and impact communication as well as exacerbate the complex dynamics of treatment.
The impact of treatment on sex and intimacy is complex, the nature of treatment being so clinical and invasive is a passion killer for most couples and subsequently intimacy can be lost. Working with a specially trained sex and relationship therapist can help couples regain intimacy, improve communication and be a reminder that sexual pleasure can help the couple maintain the connection that brought them together before a diagnosis.
One third of couples who do not conceive successfully are more likely to divorce and 1 in 5 women find themselves alone at the end of a failed treatment cycle. A recent study by Fertility Network UK (2016) showed that ninety percent of negative outcome infertility patients experienced depression. Forty two percent of patients experienced suicidal feelings which is significantly higher than the national average. Ninety three percent of men said that their well being was affected by male infertility and fifty percent of men felt that they were not being supported during treatment.
How can I help?
As a therapist, I have a unique perspective on infertility treatment having trained scientifically and worked as a clinical embryologist. I have witnessed first hand the highs and lows of the treatment cycle and unpredictable outcomes for couples. I am here to give you an emotional and practical tool box that will help you sustain yourself and your relationship during and after your treatment cycle.
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Ready to find out more?
Please use the contact form to enquire about working with Louise. Alternatively you can call her and speak to her using the mobile number and she will usually respond to you within 24 hours.