Not everyone you call family is biologically related to you and understanding this can be the first step on a different way to becoming a parent.
Pathways to Parenthood
For those who choose fertility treatment it can mean the use of eggs, sperm or embryos donated by someone else in the hope that their special gift will allow another to fulfil their dream of a baby.
Alternatively it may involve a surrogate, a caring individual who agrees to carry a child on behalf of another.
A family may also be achieved through adoption or fostering – giving a little person the home they need to grow and achieve their potential.
Advice and support
These options are alternative routes that can help achieve the ultimate goal of someone special in your life to love and be loved by. However, this might not have been what you imagined when you first set out to build a family. That takes adjustment and counselling is available to help with this.
Jackie Stewart is an independent fertility counsellor at Bourn Hall Clinic. She says that patients need to allow themselves time to grieve over the fact that they will not be able to have a child that is biological related to one or both partners: “For some people, this is a massive emotional hurdle, whereas others come to terms with it more quickly.”
“Some people decide that they want to cherish what they have and move on with their lives; they may find counselling helpful to reach this decision and to feel a sense of closure. For others, they may consider fertility treatment with donated eggs/sperm or adoption and we are happy to support them with this.”
Counselling supports decision making
There are two main forms of support: implications counselling and support counselling.
Implications counselling is available before treatment and allows you to explore your thoughts and feelings when making complex decisions and to provide lots of detailed and supportive information as required.
Support counselling can be accessed at any time during and beyond treatment and is particularly helpful for those that are feeling overwhelmed or finding it difficult to manage, for example if a treatment has failed. It provides an opportunity to talk about feelings and to learn some coping strategies.
When taking any of the pathways discussed above there will be many decisions to be made. Independent counselling is available to all patients before, during and after their journey with Bourn Hall and there is also a Fertility Support Group which provides an opportunity to share feelings with others or to ask specific questions to a fertility specialist.