It can be emotionally painful to find out that you’re not able to get pregnant naturally. To help learn why some women are not able to get pregnant naturally and how to deal with not getting pregnant naturally, I have interviewed therapist Charmayne Alegria, MA LCPC.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am a counselor in Meridian, Idaho and have been practicing for about 7 years. My decision to go into counseling came about after a diagnosis of leukemia at the age of 20. While undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and a subsequent bone marrow transplant, I was offered no counseling or emotional support outside of my family. I came very close to losing my life and throughout recovery, and even years later, there were a number of survivorship issues that I struggled with.
One of the biggest issues that I had to face as a cancer survivor was that of infertility. We provided foster care for about nine months before the children in our care were returned to their family. We had mixed feelings about adoption and decided to look into invitro fertilization. My sister agreed to be our ovum donor and I experienced a successful pregnancy, giving birth to our first daughter in 2002. I had two very painful miscarriages before the arrival of our second daughter in 2008. I can now say that we are complete. My husband and I have been married nearly 20 years, I have survived cancer, I have a fulfilling career, and two beautiful children who make every day an adventure.”
What are some reasons a woman may not be able to get pregnant naturally?
“According to Resolve: The National Infertility Association (www.resolve.org),
‘One third (30%) of infertility can be attributed to male factors, and about one third (30%) can be attributed to female factors. In about 20% of cases infertility is unexplained, and the remaining 10% of infertility is caused by a combination of problems in both partners.'”
What type of impact can this have on her overall life?
“For many of us, a determination of infertility can make us feel incomplete and as though our bodies have failed us. Watching our friends and relatives progress through pregnancy, attending baby showers, and even appointments at the OB/GYN’s office can be very difficult. People who are aware of what’s going on can say insensitive things or offer unwanted advice and/or clichés and there are others who just avoid the couple completely. Depression and anxiety are common among women who desperately want to have children and for whatever reason cannot.”
How can someone cope with the fact that they are not able to get pregnant naturally?
“Meeting with a Reproductive Endocrinologist in order to identify the issues getting in the way of conception is the first step. The doctor can then provide the couple with options available to them through assisted reproduction or the couple may choose to meet with an adoption counselor and pursue US or foreign adoption, or they may opt to remain childless. Restoring hope by providing options and ongoing support are the key. Counseling can be helpful for individuals and couples who cannot get pregnant naturally. Support groups and organizations, such as Resolve (www.resolve.org) can provide support and information.”
What type of professional help is available for a woman who is unable to get pregnant naturally?
“In Idaho we are very fortunate to have Idaho Center for Reproductive Medicine, and the only two Reproductive Endocrinologists in the state, Dr. Russell Foulk and Dr. Cristin Slater.
Those interested in adoption can contact CASI Foundation about information pertaining to both US and foreign adoptions and Idaho Youth Ranch is another good source of information regarding local adoptions. The State of Idaho is a great source for those willing to consider special needs adoptions.
There are many mental health professionals in the state, including myself, that would be happy to meet with anyone struggling with infertility. I am currently in the process of developing a non-profit organization that will allow me further reach so that those with high deductibles and/or copays and the uninsured have access to counseling services but I currently take most insurance, as well as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).”
What last advice would you like to leave?
“Educate yourself, consider your options, take care of yourself and when needed, seek outside support. Remember that you are not alone.”
Thank you Charmayne for doing the interview on how to deal with not being able to get pregnant naturally. For more information on Charmayne Alegria or her work you can check out her website on www.touchpointscounseling.com.
Resources: Resolve: The National Infertility Association (www.resolve.org)
What To Do if You Are Infertile
Infertility: Causes & Treatment
What To Do if You’re a Woman Who is Infertile