Utilization of Psychological Counselling During IVF: Implications for Nursing Practice

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Olive Fertility Centre presents study at the September 2014 Canadian Fertility and Andrology Annual Meeting on Utilization of Psychological Counselling During IVF: Implications for Nursing Practice. The purpose of the Olive study was to determine if patients were accessing the counselling support available and how nurses could best facilitate that process.

Paula Anderson, Janice Copeland, Kelly Gray, Dr Jason Hitkari

Paula Anderson, Janice Copeland, Kelly Gray, Dr Jason Hitkari

Anything that can be done to support women emotionally and reduce their anxiety and stress during this difficult journey is an important part of our patient care,” says Dr Hitkari, co-medical director at Olive Fertility Centre.

Olive Fertility Centre is proud to announce that they will be presenting a poster, Utilization of Psychological Counselling During IVF: Implications for Nursing Practice, at the September 2014 Canadian Fertility and Andrology Annual Meeting in Quebec City. The poster was co-authored by the Olive team: Dr Jason Hitkari; Kelly Gray RN, MSN; Janice Copeland RN, BSN; and Paula Anderson RN, BSN.

While the jury is still out on whether stress can cause infertility, there are studies showing that infertility and fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), are stressful and can have emotional and psychological impacts. However, studies have also found that psychological counselling can mitigate these impacts.

"Anything that can be done to support women emotionally and reduce their anxiety and stress during this difficult journey is an important part of our patient care," says Dr Hitkari, co-medical director at Olive Fertility Centre. "At Olive Fertility, we are dedicated to delivering whole patient care – which means caring for patients' emotional well-being as well as using the most advanced technology to help them become pregnant. We offer a free counselling session with a specialized fertility counselor with every IVF cycle."

Part of the purpose of the Olive study was to determine if patients were accessing the support available and how nurses could best facilitate that process. The research showed that between August 1, 2013, and July 31, 2014, less than 4% of Olive's IVF patients used the complimentary counselling services.

"I think this shows us that we need to take a closer look at how we are providing counselling services. One of our next steps will be to see how nurses can facilitate access at key points in the IVF treatment cycle," says Gray.

What the study did show was that the Olive Fertility Peer Support group was very well-attended.

"It's about women helping women," says Anderson, who leads the monthly patient support group. "After attending a conference and hearing a renowned psychologist speak about the benefits she sees in patients with peer support, I wanted to create that opportunity here at Olive for our patients."

"We are known for our highly trained staff and our state-of-the-art IVF lab," says Dr Hitkari. "We want to be just as advanced in how we care for the emotional well-being of our patients."

The Olive Fertility Centre is one Canada’s largest fertility clinics, offering an advanced IVF lab, personal care teams, 70+ years of combined experience, and innovative programs that include the Embryoscope, specialized genetic testing, egg freezing, and prenatal NIPT testing.

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