Infertility Support Groups
It can be hard dealing with fertility and infertility issues, but there’s no need to be on your own. There are numerous groups available that can provide support and advice and they can be a great source of help.
Joining a group and discussing your infertility may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you discover that you or your partner have problems with fertility. On the contrary, many people want to hide away and not admit to difficulties, instead preferring to battle on with it in their own time and at their own pace. It can be hard coming to terms with health problems, especially fertility when you’ve always assumed everything will be okay and you can have a baby quickly and easily when you’d planned to. That’s fine and if you want to deal with it in your way and are happy doing so, then so be it.
But for others, gaining extra support and help in times of need can be a huge benefit. Groups serve different benefits for different people. Some can be helpful when you first discover that fertility is an issue, as they provide a chance for you to discuss the situation with other people who’ve been through the same thing and are knowledgeable about the options on offer. Other couples find that joining a group is useful when they’re in the midst of having treatment, as it can be a rollercoaster of a ride with all its ups and downs and is hard to cope with on your own. Or others gain benefits by joining after treatment, perhaps when it’s been unsuccessful and they’ve suddenly got to cope with the realisation that they may never be able to have children. Whatever your needs or situation, there are many groups available to look into.
Finding a GroupNumerous support groups exist throughout the UK, run by charities and large organisations, as well as local independent groups, and you should be able to obtain details of relevant ones from your consultant, fertility clinic or GP. You may even find that you’re given details as a matter of course by your fertility clinic, often before or during the time when you’re receiving treatment. These days there are also even more groups available on the Internet, where you can interact with people virtually, which many people love as an addition or alternative to the usual form of face-to-face groups.
The format on which groups operate will inevitably differ, but as a rough guide, groups typically hold meetings for members where you can go along and talk about your experiences, or hear news and views from an expert. Many groups – especially the larger organisations – offer telephone support services, where you can phone up when you need to and talk on a one-to-one basis with an expert. Most groups will be up-to-date with all the latest news and information on the topic, having books or leaflets available to borrow or buy, as well as any medical journals published on the topic.
Spending time sharing your experiences with couples who’ve been through the same situations and circumstances can be a great source of help. As much as other people try and understand what you’re going through, if you don’t have first-hand experience of the issues it can be difficult to truly empathise. It’s because of this that support groups can be so useful.
Of course, support groups aren’t for everyone and may be of use just for a short time, whilst you find your feet and deal with the situation you’re in. That’s fine and groups are used to people coming and going, so don’t be afraid to leave after a few months if you need to or be embarrassed about not returning after your first meeting if you feel it’s really not for you!
Above all, groups are there to help make a difference in your lives and, if you think you could benefit from a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on, why not give it a go?