19 Apr Psychological support
Our Pelargos team would not be complete without our valuable psychologist’s contribution. Infertility itself as a diagnosis can be devastating for the couple desiring the child. For women especially, motherhood and pregnancy are developmental milestones, which are highly emphasized by our culture and society. Family pressure is often very hard to deal with. The experience of not being able to achieve a pregnancy can be a source of anxiety, fear, sadness, frustration and anger. Women, who suffer from infertility, often describe this as the most distressful event in their lives. Other women describe feelings of worthlessness and few of them think that infertility is a stigmatizing condition. Finally, there are infertile women who consider infertility as a detrimental result to their feminity.
Men on the other hand, usually experience infertility with less depression and sadness, but they are severely impacted too, mainly because of the relationship fall out and the sadness of their wives. For some of them infertility can be experienced as an insult on their masculinity.
Contact with a world full of signs of fertility may be difficult for an infertile couple. This may lead couples to isolation and finally development of problems in their interpersonal relationship. Stigmatization of infertility often leads them to self-defense actions like attempts to conceal the situation by denying the desire to have a child or avoidance of socialization with other couples or activities that trigger their infertility related well-hidden pain. Feelings like guilt, blame and shame usually appear. Fear of rejection by the fertile spouse and sexual problems which arise from sex on demand, all together deteriorate couple’s interpersonal relationship who find it sometimes quite difficult to live together because of infertility.
IVF is an intrusive procedure for most of the women. Even if their partners have the problem, they are usually the ones who will need to go through a procedure requiring everyday consistency, injections, stress and a minimal surgical procedure called egg collection. This along with the hormonal imbalances caused by the medication received, can increase their already existing anxiety levels.
It is very important to learn how to manage stress and keep it under control. There is plenty of research that shows that stress can release body hormones which can negatively affect IVF success. At the same time a negative pregnancy result is the most important factor that actually determines the way a woman looks back at IVF as an experience. A positive result makes IVF a nice experience. A negative result turns IVF into a horrible one.
Especially couples that go through egg donation procedure or surrogacy, find it struggling to handle the situation and process the information and the new facts in their lives. The thought that you carry a baby which bares genetic material of someone you do not know or that someone else (a surrogate) carries a baby with your genetic material can be extremely stressful.
Pregnancy itself can be a very stressful situation. Post natal depression is quite common and a few years ago suicides mainly having as cause depression, was number one reason of maternal deaths in the U.K. Situations like this can be prevented if managed carefully from the start. Ms Kelly Kontou is English and Greek speaking. She has dealt successfully with pregnancy and IVF related stress management. She offers lots of help to Greek couples and the ones visiting from abroad, who undergo an IVF treatment that think that a psychological support would be beneficial.
Especially in egg donation and surrogacy cases she can offer detailed consultation together with child psychologists regarding the correct way to deal with the situation and answers to questions like ‘ do I need to tell my child the truth? What is the right age to discuss it with him/her? Our psychologist follows up surrogate mothers throughout their pregnancy, making sure that they deal with the situation without the need of extra help. Also psychologist appointments are obligatory for the surrogate and her consistency is checked by us in order to evaluate her.
If you feel that you require psychological support during your stay in Athens, if you want your disappointment, jealousy and anger feelings from a failed IVF to be dealt with or if you just want a consultation with her before you make up your mind to go ahead with egg donation or surrogacy in order to know what feelings might appear through the procedure and how you should discuss in the future donor eggs or surrogacy, book an appointment with Kelly. She will support you and offer important help. The same applies to pregnant women who feel depressed or chronic pain patients like the ones who suffer from endometriosis.