World Mental Health Day, and why it matters to fertility patients

Today is World Mental Health day, and a good time to think about the mental health impact on fertility problems, tests and treatment. All too often, there’s an attitude from those with no experience of infertility that it isn’t a really serious problem, and yet anyone who has been through this themselves will be only too aware of the way it can impact on your health.

A survey for the patient charity Fertility Network UK and Middlesex University found that respondents reported feeling sad, frustrated, fearful and worried, out of control and helpless most of the time. They often felt stressed, tearful, inadequate, angry, isolated, despairing, depressed, guilty or shamed and experienced low confidence and concentration and a loss of sex driven. They also felt unsupported. Even more alarmingly, 42% of respondents said that they had experienced suicidal feelings.

If you are going through treatment and are finding it tough, there is help and support out there. The patient charity Fertility Network UK offers free group meetings around the country where meeting with other people going through similar experiences can be hugely helpful, and have a support line and online forum too. The British Infertility Counselling Association has a host of specialist counsellors ready to help with emotional support, and you can also talk to your GP if you are feeling in need of counselling. Don’t suffer alone.

Can you help with a fertility survey?

800px-Woman-typing-on-laptopIf you haven’t filled it in already, do you have a spare 15 minutes to complete an online survey carried out by Infertility Network UK and Middlesex University?

This important research project is looking at the impact of fertility problems and at support. If you are considering fertility treatment, are having treatment or have done in the past you can take part in the survey. The questions look at the impact it has on you in a number of different areas of your life. The aim is to help to promote better ways of supporting people with fertility problems, so the more people who complete the survey, the greater the benefit is likely to be. It is completely confidential and anonymous – you can find the survey through this link.

The impact of fertility problems

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Could you help Infertility Network UK to find out more about the impact of fertility problems? The charity is conducting a large-scale survey and would like as many of those affected by fertility issues as possible to reply. They want to know how fertility problems affect you directly, as well as the impact they have on your relationship with family and friends, in the workplace and any other sphere of life. They hope the results of this survey will help influence future policy around fertility services, including access to NHS-funded treatment. They also aim to identify what level of support is needed before, during and after fertility treatment, as well as for those who choose not to pursue assisted reproductive techniques.

It is an important survey for the nation’s future fertility – so if you can take a few minutes to complete it and also share it as widely as you can, that would be much appreciated. The more responses received, the greater the impact the results will have. You can complete the survey here 

 

Fertility information for Scotland

If you live within reach of Glasgow, and want to know more about fertility, put the date March 7 in your diary as the Infertility Network Scotland team are organising a fertility information day. Open to everyone whether you’re at the very start of your journey or already having treatment, the day includes a wide range of speakers on all aspects of fertility and treatment. There will be talks on the basics, donor treatment, male factor fertility problems, embryology, nutrition for fertility and the emotional impact of fertility problems.

Tickets are just £5 in advance, and £10 for professionals working in the field. It promises to be a fascinating day – you can book or find out more here