Seeking Help For Infertility: Support Groups
If you or your partner has been diagnosed with infertility, you may be finding it particularly difficult to deal with the emotional and physical stresses that come along with a diagnosis. There are a number of resources that you can make use of to help you deal with your battle with infertility, including friends, family members, and reproductive specialists. However, it can sometimes be difficult to feel fully understood by these people. For this reason, many people dealing with infertility look to infertility support groups for help. Infertility support groups can offer an understanding and informative place for you to discuss your experiences with infertility.
What is a Support Group?
Support groups are usually made up of a number of men and women who share a similar concern, issue, or problem. These men and women come together in a group in order to air their emotions, discuss information and resources, and find out about treatment options. Support groups generally consist of between 10 and 15 people, however, support groups can be smaller or larger. There are support groups that provide assistance to a number of different people, including those dealing with:
- substance abuse
- eating disorders
- personal loss
What are Infertility Support Groups?
Infertility support groups consist of those who are experiencing some sort of personal fertility issue. Members often include individuals, partners, and families who are suffering from infertility. People in infertility support groups are at different stages in their fertility journey, and may include those who:
- have just received a diagnosis of infertility
- are considering treatment for infertility
- are going through treatments, such as IUI or IVF
- are discussing alternatives to fertility treatment, such as adoption
Do You Need an Infertility Support Group?
You may be unsure as to whether or not you would benefit from joining an infertility support group. Some signs that you may find it helpful to attend support group sessions, include:
- You feel alone in your fertility journey.
- You have few people to talk to about your emotions and fertility options.
- You are having difficulty deciding on the path you want to take to fertility.
- You are experiencing problems in your relationships with family and friends.
- You feel as if your infertility is taking over all aspects of your life.
How Can an Infertility Support Group Help?
Infertility support groups can offer you help in a number of different ways.
- Resources: Infertility support groups often provide members with resources and information about dealing with fertility and various fertility treatments.
- Hope: Support groups work to foster positive feelings and inspire hope in those suffering from infertility. This hope will help you to move on in your fertility journey.
- Understanding: Many people dealing with infertility feel as though they are not fully understood by those around them. Fertility support groups are made up of people who are experiencing similar situations and who will be able to understand just what you are going through.
- Friendship: Support groups can help foster lasting friendships that will benefit you in the years to come.
Finding an Infertility Support Group
There are hundreds of different infertility support groups located throughout the United States. Many are run by trained social workers and infertility specialists, while others are run by people who have themselves been diagnosed with infertility. In order to find a good support group, there are a number of paths to investigate:
- Speak to your health care practitioner. Most health care providers are familiar with major support groups in your area.
- Talk to your reproductive endocrinologist, who may be able to refer you to a local support group.
- Contact your local hospital or health care facility. These places often have postings about local fertility support groups.
- Contact a national fertility organization. These groups have local affilitates that operate in most cities.