A little background about Counselling
Counselling is a service that can be accessed by people seeking assistance from a professional to provide guidance and advice relating to any area of concern; usually personal difficulties. Counselling can apply to many areas including marriage and family therapy, clinical social work, crisis counselling, mental health counselling and school counselling.
Counselling professionals undertake a degree qualification in the field of psychology, undertake extensive supervised clinical practice to gain experience prior to obtaining full licensing.
What are the Legislative requirements of counselling in IVF
IVF is known as an assisted reproductive treatment or ART, and the ART industry is regulated differently between the states and territories in Australia. In Queensland, there is no legal requirement for counselling before undertaking IVF. However, Victoria, which is regulated under The Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 (No. 76 of 2008), states in Section 13 Counselling:
Before a woman consents to undergo a treatment procedure, the woman and her partner, if any, must have received counselling (including counselling in relation to the prescribed matters) from a counsellor who provides services on behalf of a registered ART provider.
This means that the counselling undertaken is designed in relation to the specific treatment that the patient is having and ensures that the patient is comfortable that they understand the implications of the treatment they are about to begin.
What is the counsellors role in IVF
The counselling team at Monash IVF are a group of highly trained and caring emotional health providers with significant experience in providing IVF related counselling services.
Counselling in IVF is designed around education and tailoring of information to the patients specific needs. There is allot of information to digest with relation to IVF treatments, timing of procedures and patient expectations, so our counselling services aim to help our patients best navigate their treatment. It’s not about assessing suitability for parenthood, it’s about preparing the patient for what others have experienced during IVF treatment.
As a patient progresses with treatment at Monash IVF, we can provide a non-judgemental and supportive place to talk through the patients experiences, concerns, frustrations and even help with decision-making processes as new options arise.
Our highly skilled professionals guide our patients through each procedure, assist in understanding vulnerable points and help with developing coping strategies, building a support network, relaxation techniques and provide tips to improve communication with their family.
When does an IVF patient usually see a counsellor
In Victoria, counselling is arranged prior to undertaking treatment and usually occurs after meeting with a Patient Coordinator. Although there is no legal requirement in Queensland, Monash IVF recommends this session to all patients in Queensland seeking treatment. Once this initial session has been attended, meeting the requirements of the ART legislation, there is no further legal requirement of counselling for patients seeking IVF treatment. However, at Monash IVF we offer counselling services to our patients throughout their time with us, this means they can access counselling at any point during their treatment at no additional cost.
What other counselling do Monash IVF counsellors offer
Therapeutic counselling: Most people experience a range of emotional responses during their treatment. Many people find that counselling reassures them that what they are experiencing is simply a ‘normal’ reaction to difficult circumstances.
Donor counselling: In addition to counselling for standard IVF treatments, the Monash IVF counselling team provide counselling for donor related treatment for both the donor (sperm, egg and embryo donors) and the donor recipient(s) to discuss legal and psychological issues relating to this type of treatment.
Surrogacy counselling: Monash IVF counsellors also provide surrogacy related counselling for the intended parents, the surrogate and surrogates partner which discusses the social and psychological implications of entering into the surrogacy arrangement. In addition, the parties to the intended surrogacy arrangement are required to undergo psychometric testing and psychological assessment by an independent psychologist of which Monash IVF is able to provide a list of providers.
Crisis counselling: There may be times where patients feel particularly distressed before, during or after a treatment cycle, for example, following a negative pregnancy test, miscarriage or cancelled cycle and Monash IVF counsellors can provide telephone or one-on-one counselling during these times.
What is the most satisfying part of being a counsellor
It’s a tough time when you are struggling to fall pregnant; our patients are just trying to start a family and so by the time they see us they have already experienced a number of emotions.
It’s really an amazing feeling to be a part of the patients journey, with them during the ups and downs and to help them achieve their dreams of motherhood.