Fertility Counselling: Support for Your Journey

20th April 2023 in Advice, Fertility, Complementary Therapies, I Love My Job

This information was correct at the time of publishing. It may not reflect our current practices, prices or regulations.

Anne Curley - Fertility Counsellor

At Manchester Fertility, we understand that fertility treatment can feel like an emotionally challenging journey for our patients. That is why we provide continuous guidance and support throughout your fertility journey. 

Our expert counselling team is here to discuss any concerns or questions and help you through your treatment. Counselling sessions are available to all our Manchester Fertility patients, and we want to reassure you that confidentiality is always maintained between you and your fertility counsellor. 

We sat down with Ann, a senior fertility counsellor, to discuss her experience, what our patients can expect during a counselling appointment and how she can support you through your fertility journey.

Meet Ann, Our Fertility Counsellor

How long have you been a counsellor?

I joined the team at Manchester Fertility in January 2020, but I have been a counsellor for 21 years.

Tell us about yourself?

Approximately 23 years ago, I went through fertility treatment myself, and it was around this time that I trained to be a counsellor. As soon as I qualified, I started to work in a fertility clinic, and I have never looked back. I absolutely love it.

What type of counselling can you provide?

I have specialised in fertility counselling but have also worked in other areas. I worked as a school counsellor for several years and had a private practice providing general counselling. I trained as an Integrative Counsellor at Manchester University. 

What therapy approaches do you use?

A person-centred model is most suited to infertility counselling. This non-directive approach allows the patient the time and space to explore their feelings associated with fertility investigations and treatment. It goes hand-in-hand with the patient-first approach Manchester Fertility uses with all our patients. 

How is fertility counselling different from other counselling?

As fertility counsellors, we must have specialist knowledge about fertility investigations and treatments and a deep understanding of the emotional impact of fertility issues. We are trained to provide implications counselling for people considering fertility treatment with donor gametes, and we may also be asked to undertake Welfare of the Child Assessments.

What advice would you give to patients waiting to commence treatment?

When patients are waiting to start treatment, they often describe mixed emotions. They may feel excited and nervous at the same time. I recommend taking each day at a time, as fertility treatment has many ups and downs. Remember that you are in exceptional hands with the team at Manchester Fertility. The team has a wealth of experience, and they genuinely care and want to do their best to help you.

Typically, how many sessions will a fertility patient/s need?

Patients attending counselling for support usually decide how many counselling sessions they need and we currently include two complimentary counselling sessions as a standard part of our treatment cycles. A patient can have up to three sessions, depending on their circumstances and needs. Occasionally patients request further sessions - we are flexible in accommodating this.

Patients attending implications counselling for treatment with donor gametes will typically have one counselling session, with the opportunity to have an additional session if needed. 

How long is a counselling session? 

A counselling session is 60 minutes.

What happens in your counselling sessions?

It will depend on why I am seeing the patient. If the patient has asked for support, I will provide a confidential setting to talk to each other. The patient may want to talk about their feelings, and we will look at ways I can help. 

If a patient has treatment with donor gametes, we will use our time together to discuss the implications of receiving donated eggs and donor sperm. We also talk to patients about the implications involved in becoming gamete donors.

We suggest you see our experienced counsellor by yourself or with your partner, depending on what makes you feel most comfortable. 

What could I get from a session?

I believe it is essential that a patient feels supported, whatever their reason for requesting counselling. If a patient is considering treatment with donor gametes, we will also be provide information and access to support websites and networks, who can provide resources on donor conception.

Will counselling delay or interfere with a patient’s fertility treatment?

Counselling should not delay or interfere with a patient’s fertility treatment unless there are exceptional circumstances whereby the team may require additional information from external agencies. Delays are rare, as we aim to keep your fertility journey as straightforward as possible. 

Where does counselling take place?

Currently, most counselling takes place remotely via video link or telephone, but can be face to face. This works very well for many patients as it is convenient. Nonetheless, this does not detract from the support that all patients get. I always ensure every patient receives the very best care.

What do you love about your job?

After more than 20 years of fertility counselling practice, I am still passionate about my job. I have met so many amazing people  and it remains a privilege to get to know and support patients through what is often a challenging stage in life. Undergoing fertility investigations and treatment can be stressful and lonely at times.

I particularly love running groups so patients can get to know and support each other. I understand that meeting others in a similar situation would have been a massive help to me when I was going through fertility treatment.

What do you do in your spare time?

I am training to be an Iyengar Yoga Teacher – it takes a minimum of three years to qualify, and I have now been in training for over two years– I love it! I also love gardening and I did Latin and Ballroom dancing for years. I love travelling when I get the chance to do so, and there are still many places that I want to visit.

Our fertility counsellors have many years of experience helping patients throughout their fertility journey. Read more about of team of expert fertility counsellors here.

To learn more about counselling or how to book an appointment with one of our fertility counsellors, please contact our friendly team on 0161 300 2730.

Last updated: 24th April 2023