Infertility Support Groups and Counseling
Where to Find Help with Infertility
There are few realizations more emotionally difficult than when you understand for the first time that you are struggling with infertility. At this point, it’s likely that you want a child more than anything, and it can feel like your own body — or that of your partner — is betraying you. With your struggles can come a wave of emotions that include anger, confusion, uncertainty and grief, among others.
This does not, however, mean that you are alone. Many hopeful parents struggle with this same issue, and it’s been said that the emotional pain is similar to those confronting cancer or HIV. Seeking help with infertility, then, is very important, and there are many resources available to you — whether you’re looking for infertility support groups, a professional counselor or just an article offering some helpful words of infertility advice.
Infertility assistance can come in the form of treatment plans, emotional support, guidance on your alternative family-building options and much more. In this article, we’re going to be covering two of the main such sources of help for infertility: infertility counseling and infertility support groups.
What is Infertility Counseling?
As one might expect, an infertility counselor will help you to work through the many emotions that accompany an infertility diagnosis. Whether you are just now realizing you are facing infertility or you are ready to explore other family-building options, your infertility therapist, usually a trained assisted reproductive technology (ART) professional, will help you to both accept your situation and to move forward with your lives and family plans in a healthy way.
Before proceeding too far along into the family-building process, it’s always a good idea to seek out counseling for infertility. Depending on where you and your family are at in your journey, an infertility counselor may recommend any of the following forms of infertility counseling:
Support counseling: If you and your partner have recently learned of your infertility status, it’s likely that you’re still dealing with all of the emotions that accompany it. An infertility therapist will help you to confront these emotions and grieve your infertility before you move on to any other family-building processes. Depending on the options you are considering, you’ll need to confront and accept your inability to experience pregnancy, to have a child that is genetically related to you, and more. It’s crucial that you come to a place of acceptance before you pursue parenthood by other means. Support counseling can also continue with the intended parents as they complete the next steps of whatever family-building process they might choose.
Psychotherapy: If you or your partner are experiencing major depressive symptoms or any other form of psychological illness, it’s possible that this may be directly impacting your infertility. Psychotherapy is a form of counseling that may be directed more toward long-term problems than infertility, but should absolutely be considered if anyone in your family is struggling with their mental health.
Patient-centered care: In this type of infertility counseling, your family will be able to learn about the family-building options available to you based on your individual circumstances. Your infertility counselor will help you to research all of your options, consider the advantages and disadvantages of each, and ultimately help you to make the decision that’s best for you.
Note: It’s important that you don’t skip ahead to consider family-building options like surrogacy, adoption, or third-party reproduction processes before you have confronted and accepted your infertility status. Not only will you need to adequately prepare for the next phases you go through in order to bring a child into your life, but you will need to have fully grieved in order to give that child exactly the life you would have had you conceived him or her the “traditional” way.
Where can I Find an Infertility Counselor?
If you’re working with a fertility clinic or any other sort of infertility professional, they may either have in-house infertility therapists on staff or be able to recommend you to someone local in your community. If not, we encourage you to reach out to our sister agency American Surrogacy, which works closely with infertility counselors all across the country — from Florida to Pennsylvania and everywhere in between. If you think you may want to consider adoption, you can always speak with an American Adoptions counselor as well about any infertility grief issues.
What are Infertility Support Groups?
While infertility support groups should not take the place of a professional infertility counselor, the infertility community is larger than you may expect, and you may find comfort by connecting with others who know what you’re going through. By seeking out an infertility support group — whether you find one in your area or by perusing the many infertility support groups online — you’ll be introduced to an entirely new group of people who have been in your shoes. When exploring support groups for infertility, you can expect to find that:
Infertility groups provide support for those who need it, from people who have been in the same situation.
A support group for infertility can make you feel like you aren’t alone.
An infertility support forum doesn’t necessarily have to focus only on your problems. It can also be a friendly adoption or surrogacy community!
Support for infertility can be found all over. To find support groups in your area, you can speak to your infertility therapist or use a tool like the one Resolve.org offers, which lets you search for infertility groups by location.
Even if you can’t find an infertility group near you, the internet has made it easier than ever to find the community you’re seeking online. However, it’s important to keep a few things in mind before joining infertility online support groups:
Remember that not all information posted online is truthful or accurate. Information posted in online forums should never replace proper medical advice or professional counseling.
Some social media groups will be more positive and supportive than others. If a particular group begins to harm more than it helps, it’s okay to step away and find a new community to join.
Don’t compare yourself and your journey to others. It can be challenging when you see others having success with methods that haven’t worked for you, but remember that every person’s infertility journey is different.
On the other hand, be sensitive when posting exciting announcements about any successful pregnancies, adoptions, embryo transfers, etc. Remember that others are still waiting or grieving.
It’s not unheard of for someone experiencing infertility to experience feelings of guilt or shame, but we hope that the above resources will help you to understand that both of those emotions, while understandable, are not fair to you. Please don’t hesitate to seek out infertility counseling before continuing on your family-building journey. And if you’d like to request more information or receive referrals to infertility counselors, please don’t hesitate to contact American Adoptions at 1-800-ADOPTION.
Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.