One in six Australian couples will have a fertility issue at some point in their lives and one in 10 couples will have trouble conceiving their second child. You are not alone.
Don’t panic, your fertility journey doesn’t have to be an express service straight to IVF. Some simple changes can improve your chance of conceiving naturally.
It's important to remember the emotions, worries and thoughts you are currently trying to deal with are valid and common. You are not alone. Read on
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The World Health Organisation predicts that infertility will be the third most serious health condition in the 21st Century
We're dedicated to helping you achieve your dream - having a baby. We offer a range of services - from IVF to genetic diagnosis of pre-implantation embryos - all with the aim of easing your journey to successful pregnancy.
Are you a female struggling to conceive? Read through potential reasons why, or learn more about testing options.
With 40% of fertility issues being male related, find out what may be causing you troubles, or learn more about male fertility testing
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Our intention, driven by 30 years of planning, compassion and research investment, is to put our words into action for you by providing access to high success rates.
Because of the care, technology and expertise we put into your care, we maximise the potential of having a baby.
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Infertility and its treatment can be a crisis in your life and deciding to seek help and start fertility treatment is an exciting but also scary process. It’s a cliché but you’re likely to experience a rollercoaster ride of emotions from anticipation and joy to disappointment and even grief.
To help you look after your emotional wellbeing alongside solving your medical infertility, Genea offers a counselling service through our specially trained infertility counsellors. We encourage you to see this service as an essential part of our care for you.
You can make an appointment to meet face to face, or our counsellors can talk with you on the phone. There’s no charge for counselling during your treatment.
If you are not currently a Genea patient but you’re dealing with infertility and/or reproductive loss, we can still help. You're welcome to contact one of our counsellors and arrange for a private counselling session.
Our counsellors also run the valuable Mind Your Own Body program at various times throughout the year to assist women in managing the stress and isolation of infertility and treatment.
For all counselling inquiries, please call our main reception on 1300 361 795 or complete the below form:
Evelyn’s personal experience with infertility was the inspiration for her decision to work in the field of infertility counselling.
Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, Evelyn completed honours degrees in social work (1978) and in psychology (1983) and worked in child protection services. However, it was her own infertility journey, which began in 1984, that motivated a switch in career direction – a journey which would, over time, encompass many of the challenges facing her current patients such as miscarriage, Clomid, IUI, GIFT, IVF, OHSS and pre-eclampsia.
Her personal experience stirred her so much that, when she and her partner decided to emigrate to Australia, she chose to work exclusively in the field of infertility counselling.
Evelyn feels privileged to be able to accompany her patients on their journey through fertility treatment and beyond, providing support and compassion all along the complex path. She says that her greatest reward is the feeling that she has in some way eased the pain of this road less travelled.
Counselling Services Manager at Genea since 2002, Evelyn’s other great passion is surrogacy. At around the time of Evelyn’s appointment at Genea, the surrogacy program was being relaunched and Evelyn became the primary coordinator for all surrogacy cases. She enjoys assisting couples through this complex and challenging process.
Evelyn was also part of the team that developed and introduced the very popular Mind Your Own Body program at Genea. To this day, she is amazed at the speed at which strangers connect and become invaluable support to one another throughout this valuable program. Her long-term aspiration is to create more similar and fruitful opportunities for her clients.
Evelyn is a member of the Australia New Zealand Infertility Counsellors Association and the Australian Association of Social Workers.
Christine trained as a social worker in London at the Tavistock Clinic and the London School of Economics. She has a background in women’s health, having worked in a variety of settings in the UK, mainly in hospitals, including the gynaecological, antenatal, maternity and paediatric units at Guy’s Hospital. It was here that she first encountered couples experiencing infertility.
Emigrating to Australia in 1981, Christine began working with families at the Children’s Hospital in Camperdown, Sydney. In 2000, she completed her Master of Social Work (Couple and Family therapy) at the University of New South Wales.
Like many busy career-focused women, Christine left having children until a little later in life, and although she had no trouble herself conceiving, she was aware of friends and colleagues who were going through fertility treatment. It was this experience that prompted her to focus her career in that direction – taking up a counselling position at Genea.
In 2008, Christine set up the Second Time Around support group which has met monthly ever since. Now, after almost 12 years with Genea, Christine sees clients three days a week in the city and visits the Liverpool clinic once a fortnight. She has also spent time actively involved in the Australian and New Zealand Infertility Counsellors Association.
When asked what she loves most about working at Genea, Christine revealed that it was having the opportunity to meet couples from a variety of cultural backgrounds and influences and from all walks of life. She continues to be impressed by the resilience and determination of couples facing treatment and enjoys supporting them on their all-important journey.
With more than 10 years’ experience supporting Genea couples, Lynne Perl sees great value in ensuring male partners are engaged and involved in counselling sessions. Over the years, Lynne has observed that it is often the men who take on the primary support role for their partners during the infertility journey, sometimes at the expense of their own emotional needs. That’s why she works hard to encourage involve male partners to come for counselling.
After graduating with a degree in Social Work from Cape Town University in South Africa, Lynne went on to travel and study further in the United Kingdom, at both the Tavistock Clinic and Manchester University.
Upon emigrating to Australia, Lynne undertook further and extensive training in Narrative Therapy at both Macquarie University in Sydney and the Dulwich Centre in Adelaide. In 2005, she completed a Master of Arts (Family and Couple Therapy) at the University of NSW.
Lynne’s experience in post-adoption counselling first sparked her interest in donor conception and infertility treatment. When she had an opportunity to join Genea as a counsellor, she was excited about channelling the knowledge and insights she had gained into a new direction.
She feels incredibly privileged to work with and assist individuals and couples who are trying to conceive and finds the challenge both moving and inspiring. Another of Lynne’s particular interests is facilitating the Mind Your Own Body groups, where she enjoys seeing women connect with one another. In fact, she relishes the fact that many longstanding friendships have been formed through these groups where women can share similar experiences and can talk freely and honestly about their fertility journey.
Lynne knows that IVF is a huge challenge and can be one of the main crisis points in any person’s life, requiring resilience and resourcefulness to manage the ups and downs of treatment. She believes that having a non-medical space to talk about all aspects of a patient’s life, not just about IVF, is an integral part of the treatment process.
Many patients tell us that when they first began treatment at Genea they didn’t believe they needed or wanted to speak with our counsellors. Some of them say they thought they’d be perceived negatively if they sought help, or that had to be very depressed before talking to a counsellor.
In fact, the reality is that you don’t need to be in an emotional crisis before you seek help and sometimes just being able to talk about your anxieties and feelings can help to normalise them. Many couples choose not to tell family and friends about their treatment which means you can feel quite isolated and alone.
You may discover that you were unprepared for the emotional upheaval infertility brings, and that dealing with disappointment and uncertainty leaves you feeling moody and fragile. While infertility is a medical condition, it can affect every part of your life, challenging the way you feel about yourself, your relationships with others and your self-esteem. You may feel anxious, irritable, angry, sad, isolated and guilty. You can feel a sense of loss of control over your life and your future. Your motivation and sense of purpose in life can be severely challenged, work can seem irrelevant, and slowly you may find yourself feeling consumed by the infertility treatment.
Our counsellors can help you sort through these feelings and identify coping strategies - either in individual or couples counselling sessions. They are also able to talk you through the specifics of your infertility treatment choices and the relevant social and emotional considerations.
We know that men and women cope very differently with their infertility.
For many couples, making the decision to start fertility treatment is not an easy one. It is not unusual for women to feel let down and angry with their bodies and/or for the partner who has been diagnosed with the infertility problem to feel ashamed and guilty.
Men seek understanding of their partner’s distress and ways of helping them. One of the more difficult challenges for men in dealing with infertility is the feeling of helplessness, the inability to fix the problem or make their partner feel better. Some women feel that whatever their partner does, it is not enough because he is not going through the physical side of treatment. Sometimes, talking about your expectations of each other can lead to more understanding and tolerance of your partner’s position.
Talking to someone who is skilled in these areas and knowledgeable about infertility treatment is a positive coping strategy.
Your Genea Counsellor will ask you about your background, your history of infertility, the effects of infertility on you and how you have managed the stresses of infertility to date. The kinds of issues, which often come up for couples include:
Infertility is often difficult to manage, and is exacerbated when it is prolonged, when there isn’t family or social support at hand, when there are other major stresses in your life, or when you have had other losses. The counsellor’s role is to provide a framework for you to explore your thoughts and feelings, to enhance your coping strategies, and to anticipate and assist in managing IVF treatment stresses.
Genea’s Mind Your Own Body program, offered by our counsellors, helps women learn strategies to better manage the anxiety, depression and stress that can result from infertility and its treatment. The program is only open to Genea patients who have not yet had a child and have been through at least one IVF cycle and are planning further treatment. During the program you will:
The content of the course is based on the work of Alice Domar, director of the The Domar Center for Mind/Body Health in Boston.
The groups are run for one-and-a-half hours a week over five weeks and they’re held in our calm, peaceful suite at Kent Street, Sydney. Exact dates and time will vary.
Please register your interest using the form below or contact the counsellors for more information on the Mind Your Own Body program 02 9229 6420.
There is no charge for this program.
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