The impact of assisted conception on relationships

The impact of assisted conception on relationships

Posted on 19.11.14

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By Tracey Sainsbury

All relationships, not just those with partners or close friends and family, can be affected by having assisted conception treatment. 'Hedgehogs on a beach with baggage' is the term I use to describe the impact of assisted conception on relationships.  

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

That 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 hedgehog analogy. Prickles can be felt 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 sandy beach underfoot; there's no firm foundation or stability.But at least it is not a cliff, so if you do fall it's not too far. And there are plenty of safety nets ready to catch in the form of support organisations, as well as the clinic's support group and the patient co-ordinators here at the London Women's Clinic. These safety nets can reduce any feelings of isolation whatever you decide and whatever happens next.

Controlling our emotions

Conceiving at a clinic with assistance can mean that 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, 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 enable a positive pregnancy test two weeks later. If only there was such certainty, every clinic 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.

If you're struggling to cope with fertility issues, the London Women's Clinic provides various counselling sessions that are available at any time and the first session is completely free as part of your initial consultation. You can book your counselling via the Patient Co-ordinators, Nursing Team or directly with me tracey.sainsbury@londonwomensclinic.com

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