Q2. How do I know if I could benefit from psychological counseling?

Everyone has feelings and emotional ups and downs as they pursue infertility treatment. Feeling overwhelmed at times is a perfectly normal response. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms over a prolonged period of time, you may benefit a great deal from working with a mental health professional:

  • loss of interest in usual activities
  • depression that doesn't lift
  • strained interpersonal relationships (with partner, family, friends and/or colleagues)
  • difficulty thinking of anything other than your infertility
  • high levels of anxiety
  • diminished ability to accomplish tasks
  • difficulty with concentration
  • change in your sleep patterns (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, early morning awakening, sleeping more than usual for you)
  • change in your appetite or weight (increase or decrease)
  • increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • thoughts about death or suicide
  • social isolation
  • persistent feelings of pessimism, guilt, or worthlessness
  • persistent feelings of bitterness or anger

In addition, there are certain points during infertility treatment when discussion with a mental health professional of various options and exploration of your feelings about these options can help facilitate clarification of your thinking and help with your decision making. For example, consultation with a mental health professional may be helpful to you and your partner if you are:

  • at a treatment crossroad
  • deciding between alternative treatment possibilities
  • exploring other family building options
  • considering third party assistance (gamete donation, surrogacy)
  • having difficulty communicating or if you have different ideas about what direction to take 

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