My mother had given birth to three children before she was 25. Hence, when I got married at the age of 27, there was naturally a lot of pressure on me and my uterus to start popping kids. I brushed off the myth that the older a woman got, she was more like to be infertile. But I realised soon enough that the issue of infertility is more prevalent than I thought when I found out that three of my lady colleagues were unable to conceive. I came across an article recently by Dr. Pallavi Prasad that the female body was born with a fixed number of fertile eggs that keep declining as you grow older. So by the time you’re 40, you’ve almost run out. Panic. And then it hit me that what could merely be a hypothetical situation for me right now could be a trauma for some women out there. What must it feel like to know you could be infertile?
How To Address Infertility?
Many women turn to their close friends or relatives to cope with the stress of infertility. If they choose to go for professional help, the implications and the psychological trauma that comes along with infertility must be considered delicately by healthcare professionals. Several counsellors at fertility clinics assert that partners blame each other in their frustration which strains their relations. The women want more support from their partners than they’re getting. The fact that the treatment is expensive makes things more difficult. Counselling helps them in dealing with their stress and eases their anxiety. Plus, it helps them understand that even with infertility, options like test tube baby treatment centres still exist and that with advances in medical care even your regular female fertility treatment centres could help them conceive naturally in just a few years.
How Does Counselling Help?
Counselling plays a complementary role to the ongoing medical treatment for infertility. It is an amalgamation of medicine and mental health which should be treated as an extension of the medical treatment itself. It is important in integrating the physical and psychological aspects of infertility treatment. Researchers at the University of Iowa conducted a survey of 300 women coping with infertility and found out that most of them needed constant support ranging from emotional reassurances and advice.
When women do not want to have children at an early age, they should visit an IVF centre and freeze their eggs. This should ideally be done before you turn 38, says Dr Pallavi Prasad.
In a seminar held by Times Of India addressing the growing concern around infertility, Avinash Kumar, founder of the NGO – Families of Joy Foundation, and member of Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) encouraged adoption for couples who had tried and failed all means of conceiving. Adoption is the best option for couples in a country where there are more than 60 million deprived children but only 4,000 adoptions a year.
What Not To Do / Say To Someone Coping With Infertility?
Parents, you might think that you are experts in childbirth since you gave birth to your children. However, your children’s condition is obviously not the same as yours was. Be supportive, but let the counselling be handled by the experts. Friends and Family, yes, they are doing it right and yes, they are doing it enough. Stop trying to dole out information.
When something seen as a natural process calls for medical intervention, the process can be stressful for everybody involved. Be empathetic, be kind, be supportive.