24/05/2004

More people to benefit from fertility counselling service

The Fertility Counselling Service, previously available only to patients attending the Regional Fertility Centre at the Royal Victoria Hospital, is being extended to help even more people deal with the emotional stress that can accompany diagnosis of fertility problems.

The free service, delivered by experienced counsellors, is now being made directly available to couples or individuals. These may include those attending their GP or local hospital about fertility issues, who may not yet have begun treatment, and those who have already undergone treatment.

Patricia Gilbert of the Fertility Counselling Service said: “It’s estimated that one in six couples seek medical advice because of their inability to conceive but until now the psychological aspects of what can be an intensely emotional journey have not been widely catered for.

"This service allows couples to investigate their feelings and thoughts, come to a better understanding of their situation and be better placed to make an informed decision on their future.”

Several couples have already benefitted from the service, some to explore the implications of treatment, others to deal with the ups and downs encountered along the way.

At the moment the extended service operates from offices in Belfast and Cookstown and people will generally be seen within four weeks from first contact.

More information and contact details are available on the website www.fertility-counsellingni.org.

The Fertility Counselling Service is a social work service provided by the Church of Ireland Board for Social Responsibility (NI) and is funded by the Regional Fertility Centre, the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Church of Ireland Parishes, Diocesan funds and individual donations.

(MB)

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