Our Counsellors

Genea Counsellor Evelyn ZwahlenEvelyn’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.

Evelyn is located at Genea Sydney CBD.

Genea Counsellor Lynne PerlWith 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.

Lynne is located at Genea Sydney CBD.
Genea Counsellor Orlaith SheillÓrlaith’s experience working in couple/family therapy, post-adoption, and grief/loss over the past 16 years, greatly informs the counselling support she offers at Genea.  After emigrating from Ireland to Australia, Órlaith completed her post-graduate studies in Sydney, gaining a Masters of Couple and Family Therapy (UNSW), and specialising in Bereavement Counselling and Intervention.

Órlaith has a particular interest in non-death losses, and the challenge of integrating losses when life changes, transitions, hurts and disappoints. Órlaith experiences it as a privileged place to provide support through treatment and is continually inspired by the strength and hope of the people she supports. She believes that by creating a safe space of counselling, this can allow people to feel connected in what can be an isolating experience, and she has an empathic and strengths based approach.

Órlaith’s own infertility journey at Genea allows her to have a sense of the patient journey, whilst recognising that everyone’s experience is unique to them.

Órlaith is a Clinical Member (Level 4) of the Australian Counselling Association and the Australian & New Zealand Infertility Counsellors Association.

Órlaith is located at Genea Sydney CBD but appointments can also be made at Genea Liverpool.

Counsellors are available at all clinic locations for Genea patients. Please contact your Genea clinic for details.