This week’s blog is a call to action. Infertility Network UK and the British Infertility Counselling Association are currently conducting a questionnaire on the subject of counselling. If you have attended a fertility treatment at a UK clinic, I urge you to complete it by clicking here.
I have always felt that if the publication of my book provided an opportunity to campaign for some of the things I’d like to see improved about the fertility industry, I would. One of these things is what I consider to be a lack of therapeutic support offered to patients going through infertility and IVF.
Earlier this week I had a drink with a lovely lady who had contacted me after reading an article I did in Grazia about my story. Like me, she has been through multiple rounds of unsuccessful IVF and in reaching out and meeting up we both found solidarity in a stranger. I asked her if she’d ever had any therapy and was saddened to hear that when she had requested it at her fertility clinic they said: ‘That’s nothing to do with us, contact your GP.’
Last year, someone else I know had a similarly disappointing experience. Distraught after her first cycle of unsuccessful IVF, she asked if she could see a counsellor but was told there wasn’t an appointment available for the next three months. Given that fertility clinics have a statutory requirement to offer their patients counselling before and after treatment such stories are nothing short of appalling.
But to end on a more positive note, this week I was also delighted when someone commented on my blog that reading my book had convinced them to go and get some therapy for the first time. I’ve not yet had the opportunity to get to know this woman, or her story, but as I say in my book: ‘I firmly believe that everyone needs therapy every now and again (the time to worry is when you find yourself in it for the rest of your life). We all have our shit. And if your shit’s infertility, you’re going to need it more than most.’
So this week there isn’t a question, there’s a request. Please fill out the questionnaire by the deadline of 24 February and contribute to the debate.