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Psychological Support Team

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nder the esteemed leadership of Sharon Covington, MSW, LCSW-C, an internationally known licensed clinical social worker, author, and "Top Therapist" as recognized by the Washingtonian, with more than 40 years of experience counseling individuals and families experiencing a fertility crisis, our mental health professional team is at the forefront of the field. Each therapist has extensive training and knowledge about all aspects of infertility counseling with individual, couple, and group therapies available for Shady Grove Fertility patients and non-patients alike.

Meet the Team

Sharon Covington, MSW, LCSW-C - Director
Rockville, MD | 301-279-9030 | email

Director of Psychological Support Services, Mrs. Covington is a licensed clinical social worker in Maryland and a Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work with over 40 years of experience as a psychotherapist. An internationally recognized leader on the psychological aspects of reproductive health, Mrs. Covington is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Associate Investigator in the Intramural Research Program on Reproductive and Adult Endocrinology at the National Institutes of Health. She recently edited and authored Fertility Counseling: Clinical guide and Case Studies, and is the co-author and editor of the classic text Infertility Counseling: A Comprehensive handbook of Clinicians.

Patricia Sachs, LCSW-C
Rockville, MD | Waldorf, MD | 301-951-0206 | email

Mrs. Sachs has worked with individuals, couples, children, and families in hospital, university, and private practice settings. She has been on the counseling staff at Shady Grove Fertility since 1991, and her special interests include counseling patients undergoing IVF, treatment for secondary infertility, as well as those using donor gametes. She recently co-authored, with Carol Toll, LCSW-C, the chapter 'Counseling recipients of anonymous donor gametes' in Fertility Counseling: Clinical Guide and Case Studies, edited by Sharon Covington, and has also published research on the demographics of anonymous egg donors. Mrs. Sachs sees patients in the Rockville and Waldorf offices.

Carol Toll, LCSW-C
Rockville, MD | Columbia, MD | 301-924-5124 | email

Mrs. Toll has an extensive background working with individuals, families, and groups. She has an expertise in counseling patients undergoing infertility, with a special interest in donor issues. She recently co-authored, with Patricia Sachs, LCSW-C, the chapter 'Counseling Recipients of Anonymous Donor Gametes' in Fertility Counseling: Clinical Guide and Case Studies, edited by Sharon Covington, and has also published research on the demographics of anonymous egg donors. Mrs. Toll sees patients in the Rockville and Columbia offices.

Ellen Eule, LCSW-C
Rockville, MD | Bethesda, MD | Frederick, MD | 301-229-0055 | email

Mrs. Eule has extensive experience as a licensed and board certified Clinical Social Worker in Maryland and Washington D.C. She’s worked with individuals, couples, families, and groups in many settings including HMOs, agencies and private practice. She has a special interest in assessment, issues related to grief and loss, infertility counseling, postpartum depression, and adoption. Mrs. Eule sees patients in the Rockville and Frederick offices, as well as her office in Bethesda.

Michelle Hester, MSW, LCSW-C
Washington, D.C. | 202-494-6683 | email

Mrs. Hester has 30 years of experience working with couples, individuals, and groups in variety of settings. She specializes in adoption services, both before and after placement, with interest in infertility, adoption, and early adjustment issues for new parents. She sees patients in her NW DC office.


Tara Simpson, Psy.D.
Towson, MD | Baltimore, MD | Columbia, MD | 410-303-3402 | email

Dr. Simpson is a licensed psychologist in Maryland. Her special interests include providing counseling to individuals with issues related to reproductive health, including fertility issues, adjustment to utilizing assisted reproductive treatments, pregnancy loss, and postpartum depression. In addition, she works extensively with individuals and couples pursuing treatment using donated gametes and/or gestational carriers and recently co-authored a chapter on “Counseling Surrogate Carrier Participants” in Fertility Counseling: Clinical Guide and Case Studies. She serves on the Executive Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Mental Health Professional Group and is a member of RESOLVE. Dr. Simpson sees patients in her Towson and Columbia offices.

Erica Mindes, Ph.D., LCP
Woodbridge, VA | Annandale, VA | Richmond, VA | 804-237-8918 | email

Dr. Mindes is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Virginia. She provides counseling to individuals and couples struggling with infertility, the stress of treatment, pregnancy loss, and those considering building their families through third-party reproduction, including same sex couples and single parents. Dr. Mindes has conducted research and written on the psychological responses to infertility and infertility treatment, and co-authored the chapter, “Counseling Known Participants in Third-Party Reproduction” in Fertility Counseling:Clinical Guide and Case Studies, edited by Sharon Covington. She serves on the Executive Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Mental Health Professional Group and is a Professional Member of RESOLVE. She sees patients in the Annandale and Woodbridge offices, as well as in her office in Richmond.

Laura S. Covington, MSW, LCSW-C
Washington, D.C. | Fair Oaks, VA | 202-412-8022 | email

Ms. Covington is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in DC, MD, VA, and PA. She has experience providing assessments and counseling with individuals, families, and groups in a variety of settings. She has a special interest in reproductive health and reproductive traumas, with a special interest in military and combat-related injuries which impair fertility. She provides counseling to individuals, couples and groups around developing strategies for stress and coping during fertility treatment, grief and loss related to reproductive health, and dealing with disclosure as well as other facets associated with third party reproduction. Ms. Covington recently authored the chapter “Psychological Aspects of Infertility Post-War Injury” in Intimacy after Injury: Combat Trauma and Sexual Health edited by Elspeth Ritchie and co-authored the chapter, “Counseling Known Participants in Third-Party Reproduction” in Fertility Counseling: Clinical Guide and Case Studies , edited by Sharon Covington. She sees patients primarily near the K Street DC office and in Fair Oaks, VA.

Mia Joelsson, LCSW-C
Harrisburg, PA | Rockville, MD | 240-454-3002 | email

Mrs. Joelsson is a licensed clinical social worker in Pennsylvania and Maryland. She has a special interest in working with individuals and couples facing reproductive challenges of infertility, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, and postpartum adjustment. Mrs. Joelsson is passionate about helping “infertility graduates” who are adapting to the new realities of pregnancy and parenting after struggling with infertility. She sees clients primarily in Harrisburg, PA.

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