Infertility and IVF treatment have been described by many women and men as an ‘emotional rollercoaster’. Infertility and the treatment thereof can be very stressful emotionally, physically and financially. At Medfem Fertility Clinic, we know that the physical demands and emotional ups and downs of the infertility experience can impact life at home, at work and with family.

This is a path that one likely did not anticipate or envisage and, while there is much reason for hope, the treatment process can also be emotionally trying. The overall well-being of our patients is a crucial aspect of fertility treatment, and we encourage our patients to take advantage of the many resources we have developed to address the emotional needs they may have as a part of their journey. Even with all the best intentions, you and/or your partner might need support from an outside source to help you overcome the challenges and hurdles that may arise during the course of your fertility treatment.

 

It is normal to feel overwhelmed during infertility treatments, but there are many things you can do that can help you cope. We encourage partners to be supportive of each other and to participate in the treatment process together. You may also find it helpful to develop a network of supportive friends and family who are sympathetic to your situation.

At Medfem Fertility Clinic we offer a number of support resources. We truly believe that we are not just treating infertility, we are treating human beings. We strive to address both the medical issues that individuals and couples facing the challenge of infertility have to deal with, and we also strive to address the well-being of the whole individual.

In addition to talking to your specialists and nurses, we also encourage you to use the support provided by our resident psychologist Mandy Rodrigues who has long specialised in helping couples cope with fertility issues. Mandy will work with you to help you learn strategies for dealing with stress, managing your IVF cycle, and nurturing your relationship with your partner. Studies have shown that stress reduction can be highly beneficial to mental well being and may also enable conception in those undergoing fertility treatments.

During the course of your fertility treatments you may be faced by many hurdles and challenges. Decision making can be tough when you are feeling emotional. But what you decide can have an impact on you, your partner, and your future child. Expert counselling can help you to make informed and rational decisions from a good place. Undergoing fertility treatment is known to have a social, emotional, short and long term psychological impact on patients, especially for those with repeated failed cycles or those faced with the possibility of having to use egg or sperm donors, or surrogate mothers. Medical studies have shown that the reduction of stress can account for higher pregnancy rates. Not only does stress inhibit the ability to conceive, but the constant disappointment of not being able to conceive compounds an individual or a couple’s stress levels. While we are not suggesting that counselling is a magic cure, we are very sure of the positive benefits of working with a trained professional to help you through this harrowing journey.

Mandy Rodrigues (clinical psychologist)

Mandy Rodrigues is a clinical psychologist in private practice. She has been involved in the field of infertility for eighteen years, working with individuals, groups and couples. Her research has involved looking at the relationship between stress and infertility, culminating in an on-line stress management course and the co-authoring of a book entitled “Time Urgency Perfectionism Stress and Your health.” The findings in this research have been presented and recognised internationally. Further information is available at www.timeurgency.com/

She works with individuals (and their spouses) in trying to deal with their fertility journey including making decisions like egg donation, and surrogacy; and this might include the spouse. She offers support for couples going through IVF, and assesses donors embarking on donor programs.

She has been involved in the forensic assessment of surrogates and Intended Parents for the High Court for ten years, and works within a multi-disciplinary team for these assessments. She also consults to the neonatal unit at Sandton Clinic and specialises in the management of grief and post partum depression.

She has appeared in numerous magazines and on numerous television programs with regard to infertility, the emotional consequences thereof and the management of the journey. It is a journey she is passionate about having gone though a number of miscarriages and IVF procedures to have her own children.

To book an appointment with Many Rodrigues, Psychologist, Medfem Fertility Clinic, call +27 (11) 463 2244.

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