When you embark on assisted reproductive treatment (ART) you may experience many different emotions, from joy and excitement to grief and disappointment. This can be emotionally and physically challenging, and at Melbourne IVF we offer Australia’s largest fertility counselling service.
Our experienced social workers and psychologists are available before, during and after your fertility treatment, whenever you feel you need further support. Our services include:
- Pre-treatment counselling
- Supportive counselling
- Donor and surrogacy counselling, and
- Support groups
This comprehensive counselling service is available for current patients, those considering assisted reproductive treatment (ART), and past patients who would like further support. Our counselling team is experienced in helping men and women deal with difficult circumstances and emotions. We would encourage you to take positive steps through counselling so you can feel more in control of your treatment, emotions, physical health and relationships.
Our supportive fertility counselling can help you::
- Prepare for fertility treatments, and explore the options and implications when making decisions about starting, changing or stopping treatments,
- Deal with the emotional impact of treatment,
- Work on relationship issues that may arise as a result of treatment or may be affecting your treatment,
- Cope with unsuccessful treatment cycles or pregnancy losses,
- Develop coping strategies for dealing with other people’s pregnancies, births and children,
- Deal with the reactions of families, friends and work colleagues,
- Explore ways to help you feel more in control,
- Manage the anxieties of pregnancy and preparation for parenthood,
- Deal with the specific issues related to donor treatment cycles and surrogacy.
Mandatory pre-treatment counselling
The Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act (2008) requires that all individuals and couples attend at least one counselling session prior to starting fertility treatment.
These counselling sessions are tailored to the type of fertility treatment you are undertaking. The discussions will help you to:
- Ensure that you understand the medical advice that you have been given,
- Understand the psychosocial and ethical implications of treatment, your rights and responsibilities and any legal considerations,
- Consider and explore any issues that may impact on your treatment,
- Clarify any information you are unsure about,
- Explore areas of potential stress, and discuss strategies for managing these.
To help prepare for your initial counselling session, we recommend you consider aspects of your care, including:
- What you would like to happen to gametes (eggs or sperm) that do not fertilise,
- The implications of creating excess embryos from your treatment,
- What you would like to happen to your embryos in the event of death of either partner.
At the end of your pre-treatment counselling session, your counsellor will ask you whether you are now ready to provide informed consent and will sign the Principal IVF Consent Form with you.
If you are considering using donor gametes – eggs, sperm or embryos – you may at first feel overwhelmed by the number of issues you need to consider when thinking about creating your family through genetic material provided by a donor.
We can provide information and support with regards to:
- Implications of having a donor-conceived child
- Disclosure to the child and your family and friends
- Legislation regarding donor-conceived offspring
- Considering the possible needs of the donor-conceived child, and
- Managing relationships and/or future contact with the donor/s.
Our experienced counselling team can help you with decision making and is available for the mandatory counselling sessions you will need to undertake.
Some people need assisted reproductive treatment (ART) or donor treatment because they, or members of their family, have a specific genetic condition. Our counsellors can discuss the options available in these circumstances, and the implications of each form of treatment. If you are having PGD - genetic testing of your embryos - you will also need to see one of our genetic counsellors.