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How assisted conception can affect your relationships

Posted on 17.4.15

Having assisted conception at a fertility clinic can affect lots of aspects of your life, especially your relationships. And by relationships weren’t not just talking about your partner, but the wider spectrum, including your close friends and family. Fertility counsellor, Tracey Sainsbury, describes this impact as ‘hedgehogs on the beach with baggage’ – we asked her to explain her analogy.

You are putting yourself through a hopefully life changing situation over which you have no control. That lack of control often means that anyone trying to support you just can’t say or do the right thing.

The prickly feeling

When we feel as if there’s something more we should or could be doing to support someone close to us we often become ‘prickle aware’, hence the hedgehogs. Prickles can be felt in several ways - underfoot as you walk on eggshells, as anxiety in your chest as you want to say something but know it will cause a reaction, or behind the eyes as you feel tearful.

Soft foundations

The lack of guaranteed success of any form of assisted conception means that you can feel wobbly, hence the beach, there’s no firm foundation or stability. But it is a beach, not a cliff, so if you fall it’s not too far. There are also plenty of safety nets ready to catch you in the form of infertility support groups, as well as the clinic support group and our two patient coordinators at the London Women’s Clinic. These safety nets can reduce any feelings of isolation whatever you decide to do while trying for a baby.

Controlling our emotions

Conceiving at a clinic with assistance can mean that any other life changing experiences where you’ve not had complete control can be triggered from your ‘baggage’. We all have baggage; we carry around with us the emotional memories of our previous experiences, and these good and not so good memories can resurface before, during and after treatment.

Thoughts and feelings from when you’ve felt you’ve needed more information are commonly triggered after embryo transfer or insemination. This is because the clinic cannot give you a guaranteed list of what to do to guarantee a positive pregnancy test two weeks later. If only there was such certainty, every clinic from London to abroad would ensure you sign a disclaimer to follow their instructions to the letter.

Counselling support

We want all of your relationships to thrive, not just survive, as you progress along your pathway to parenthood. That’s why we include counselling as part of the initial consultation, rather than as a separate treatment plan.

Interested in counselling?

You can book counselling via the patient coordinators, nursing team or with Tracey directly 

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