Pregnancy after fertility treatment can be an incredibly anxious time, yet my recent survey found that the majority of patients receive no emotional support following a positive pregnancy result.
The poll, which surveyed 456 fertility patients, found a staggering 69% of patients received no further emotional support from their fertility clinic once pregnant.
And of the 31% that did, 83% said this was in the first trimester with typical examples including an additional scan at approximately seven weeks or a counselling session that often entailed an additional fee.
Dr Michelle Tolfrey, a clinical psychologist who has significant experience of supporting those finally pregnant after infertility and loss, says Cat's experience is unfortunately a common one.
"When you are on a fertility journey, the focus is likely to be getting that positive test result, and yet, this is far from the end of the journey," explains Dr Tolfrey. "To get to this point, there has often been a huge amount of anxiety, depression and trauma - invasive investigations, unsuccessful interventions and losses can leave people feeling isolated, fearful of the future and different from those around them. There may also be grief to process, that the transition to parenthood has been long, tough and not how they had ever imagined. And these feelings often don’t just disappear when a person becomes pregnant or even when they get to take a baby home."
She continues: "When fertility treatments involve a high level of intervention, people can be left feeling abandoned when the support from their clinic stops and they are transferred to their local maternity team. They may go from multiple appointments a week to nothing at all for weeks on end. Early pregnancy in particular can be a very lonely time with no bump or reassuring baby movements. We need to recognise that the impact of fertility trauma can be long lasting, and people need the right support beyond the positive test result."