19 Apr Psychological support
Our Pelargos team would not be complete without our psychologist, who is a valued member of our team.
Women who have to deal with infertility may, as a consequence, suffer from anxiety, fear, sadness, frustration and anger. Infertility can be a daunting diagnosis, especially for a couple dreaming of having children. For many women, motherhood and pregnancy are developmental milestones, which are highly emphasized by some cultures and societies. For some, family pressure is often very hard to deal with.
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 see infertility as detrimental to their feminity.
Men are also affected by the diagnosis of infertility, developing mood swings, stress and depression. The impact of infertility on the relationship with their partner is too painful for some men. Others see infertility as an insult to their masculinity.
Socially, dealing with infertility can be a massive challenge. Even small things like, children stores, toy shops, TV programmes showing babies etc. can be triggering for infertility patients. It can affect the couple’s relationship and confidence, leading to isolation.
Stigmatization of infertility can often bring about behaviour caused by the desire to conceal the couple’s feelings. Couples may deny they want kids, avoid talking about kids with friends and family, or avoid socialisation all together.
Feelings like guilt, blame and shame usually appear. Fear of rejection by the fertile spouse and sexual problems that arise from the need to schedule intercourse, can complicate the couple’s relationship.
IVF is an intrusive procedure for most women. Even if it is the male partner who has the condition, it is the female partner who will have to undergo daily procedures, injections, stress, hormonal imbalance and a minimal surgical procedure called egg collection. All this added to the already existing stress can be a massive challenge psychologically to take on for many couples.
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.
Couples who go through the egg donation procedure or surrogacy, struggle to handle the stress and process volumes of new information. 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 there were numerous cases all over the world and in the UK, where post-natal depression was the number one case of maternal deaths.
Situations like this can be prevented if managed carefully from the start. Our psychologist, Ms Kelly Kontou, speaks Greek and English. She successfully deals with pregnancy and IVF related stress. She offers lots of help to IVF patients from Greece and abroad.
In cases of egg donation and surrogacy, Ms Kontou proves invaluable as she collaborates with a child psychologist and offers unique consultations for parents.
Parents often struggle to decide how they will talk to their child about the surrogacy or egg donation treatments. Questions often arise, including “Do I need to tell my child the truth?” “ Should we talk about it at all?” “What is the right age to discuss it with him/her?”
Our psychologist follows up with 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 monitored.
If you feel that you require psychological support during your stay in Athens, please book an appointment with Ms Kontou. She will support you and offer crucial help. The same applies to pregnant women who feel depressed or chronic pain patients like the ones suffering from endometriosis.