Deciding to start fertility treatment can be an extremely emotional time, which can impact your own mental health as well as relationships with a partner, family members and friends. Often it can feel like nobody understands what you are going through and you can feel alone in your feelings and experiences.
At our Assisted Conception Unit (ACU), we believe your emotional wellbeing is priority.
Counselling is an integral part of all our fertility treatments and we encourage you to see our counselling and coaching teams. There are many ways to access support, before, during and after treatment.
Counselling can provide a space and opportunity to explore feelings, coping strategies, options and relationship issues. Counsellors can help to identify emotions and feelings around fertility that can be hard to put into words, so you feel supported and able to decide the right fertility treatment for you.
Confidential counselling sessions are provided by our specialist team with a wealth of experience and expertise. As a trained professional, your counsellor understands what is involved in your treatment and offers you the time to talk over your options or concerns. It is available for everyone who is accessing services at our Assisted Conception Unit, and sessions can be arranged for individuals or couples.
Counselling is available for emotional support, psychosexual counselling or other issues relating to fertility treatment such as using donor gametes, surrogacy or fertility preservation.
Coaching is provided by one of our qualified coaches and clinical embryologists. They provide support to patients who would like to understand their treatment better. You will need to make decisions at various stages in your treatment; coaching is designed to help you feel better prepared and more confident about your next steps. Sessions are confidential, non-judgemental and entirely tailored to your specific needs or concerns. A maximum of three sessions are available to each individual or couple.
Coaching sessions of 50 minutes are booked to fit in with appropriate stages of your treatment and a maximum of three sessions are available to each individual or couple. Whilst coaching sessions are free, this is a limited service and we cannot guarantee availability. However, you can book a 20 minute introductory session to find out if this is a suitable option for you.
Please note that coaching is not suitable if you are having counselling or waiting for a counselling appointment.
Caroline Darcy is our senior counsellor with over 25 years’ experience of supporting fertility patients. She is an accredited interpersonal psychotherapist and counselling for depression (CFD) therapist. She also has a post graduate qualification in psychological counselling.
Katie Bottle is our fertility counsellor and a psychosexual therapist. She has a degree in counselling and psychotherapy, as well as postgraduate qualifications in psychosexual therapy. Katie also has experience working with vulnerable families, she offers psychosexual therapy to patients who are experiencing sexual difficulties that may impact on their fertility treatment.
Tracey Chester is the lead for the patient emotional pathway and has worked for the NHS since 1985. She has extensive experience, including a Masters in counselling and psychotherapy, as a registered mental health nurse and an accredited member of the British Infertility Counselling Association (BICA). Tracey has a specialist interest in fertility preservation for oncology patients.
Eleanor Wharf is an accredited fertility coach with more than 20 years’ experience working in fertility as a clinical embryologist. After completing a higher-level apprenticeship in professional coaching, Eleanor is the first fertility specialist to offer an in-house fertility coaching service, providing support to patients throughout treatment.
Your dedicated private patient co-ordinator team is on hand to help book counselling and coaching appointments. You can email them on ACUPersonalisedCare@gstt.nhs.uk or phone 020 7188 2300.
Interpreting services, sign language and hearing loop are available upon request.
Our team can also give you information about where to find alternative external support and the contact details of organisations that offer individual, group and online support.