I provide psychological screens and psycho-educational counseling required by infertility clinics prior to their patients beginning treatment. This includes candidates for in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), egg donors, egg donor and sperm donor recipients, intended parents for third party reproduction involving gestational carriers (GC), and extensive evaluation of gestational carriers (GC).
I also see people undergoing infertility treatment for ongoing counseling/psychotherapy. There is tremendous stress on individuals and couples undergoing infertility treatment. The hopes, the unsuccessful attempts, the losses and the mood swings that accompany hormones used in treatment take their toll and can often be lessened with counseling through the process.
A most exciting development in reproductive medicine has occurred within the last two years. Medical technology has advanced the viability to freeze women’s eggs giving women a reasonable opportunity to greatly expand their reproductive years. This equals a women’s “right to choose” issue as it is an enhanced fertility issue. I often refer women who are in their early thirties, want children, but do not see that happening within a few years, for an evaluation to consider freezing their eggs. This gives them the possibility of being impregnated at a later age with their own younger eggs. It is generally accepted that younger eggs are a key in successful pregnancies. The early twenties are a prime time for viable eggs but so many women are not ready emotionally or by choice to be a mother. Technology is now paving the way to do something about that.
This has quite an impact on men and women in the early stage of dating when the woman is in her early to mid-30s. In the past the pressure of the biological clock ticking has created such stress in traditional relationships, those between a man and a woman that they might erupt and dissolve or result in people having a child or marrying before their relationship is ready for that level of commitment. The fall out later can range from divorce to a constant nagging that leaves someone feeling like they didn’t make a free choice to marry and the implications that has on the still intact relationship.
In vitro fertilization has been a viable medical procedure to increase fertility options for a good while. Same sex couples, married couples and single women have benefited from IVF in having a child/children period at an optimum time in their lives.
I provide consultations to people who want to discuss their feelings about these options before they see a physician specializing in reproductive medicine.