A recent national survey conducted by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, of whom SGF is a visionary partner, reveals the overwhelming majority of respondents (n=425) cite emotional challenges during fertility treatment is among the biggest hurdle to seeking help from a fertility specialist.
SGF is one of only a few national fertility centers who adhere to a patient-centered integrated care model that provides services beyond the physical, offering support resources to address the mental health care needs of its patients.
“Caring for a patient’s emotional well-being is as important as treating their infertility, and we understand each patient’s experience and needs are different,” says Sharon Covington, LCSW-C, SGF’s Director of Psychological Services. “This survey confirms what we know from numerous other research studies: the emotional burden from infertility and it’s treatment is a significant factor as to why patients drop out of treatment, even when they have full insurance coverage.”
How do we support our patients emotionally during fertility treatment?
In helping to support the “whole” patient, we provide many support resources integrated into our fertility program to help reduce the stress and emotional toll associated with infertility from a medical, emotional, and financial perspective.
- Support groups: SGF’s support groups are free and offered throughout their regions, moderated by trained mental health professionals. Each therapist has extensive training and knowledge about all aspects of infertility counseling with individual, couples, and group therapies. The support groups offer highly effective ways to learn different techniques for managing the stress of treatment in a supportive and open environment.
- Educational events: These free events are physician-hosted in-person seminars and virtual webinars. These events are intended to inform and educate current and prospective patients about what to expect when seeking care from a fertility specialist, types of testing to diagnosis infertility, infertility treatment options, affording fertility care, and much more. Each event concludes with an anonymous question and answer session so that attendees have the opportunity to get their personal questions answered by the practice’s physician experts.
- Patient Stories: We place a high value on collecting and sharing stories through our website and social channels in order to inspire hope and belief. These stories provide an honest and heartwarming look into the trials and triumphs patients face during their infertility journeys.
- Social Channels: The SGF Facebook page and Instagram page of over 28,000 followers offers a community of support and encouragement for many patients. Used as a platform for information seekers, current patients, former patients, and their loved ones, it offers an opportunity for the community to discuss and learn more about infertility, share experiences, and seek advice.
- “Our Facebook community offers a safe place for patients to seek advice and share experiences with others who have walked the same path, helping to overcome the isolation felt by many patients,” adds Covington.
- Emotional Support Articles and Blogs: These pieces help patients through some of the hardest parts of infertility including miscarriage, the impact fertility has on a person’s romantic relationships as well as friendships, and managing emotions during the infertility process. We encourage our patients to establish a support network by tapping into the practice’s resources.
What patients are saying about SGF’s support resources
“I remember the isolation I felt month after month, seeing pregnancy announcements and baby bumps all around me. Everywhere I looked I was bombarded with reminders of what I couldn’t achieve, the status of motherhood. And then I met a legion of people who cared, who understood, and my experience and mindset was transformed. I felt I had the wind at my back, and I could continue in pursuit of my dream. And I’m so glad I did, as I now am proud to have earned the name, Mom,” shared a former SGF patient.
“Hearing a patient’s experience with infertility in their own words and how they overcame this obstacle made me feel less alone and gave me hope to keep persevering,” says a former SGF patient.
“Seeking (and accepting) support is like weaving a safety net for yourself; the more connections or stands of support you have the stronger your net becomes, and the greater the likelihood of being able to move forward with treatment despite obstacles that may stand in the way,” says Covington.
To learn more about SGF’s support resources or to schedule an appointment with a physician, please contact the New Patient Center at 1-877-971-7755 or complete this brief online form.