When I tell people I’m a fertility coach they usually look at me funny. I think it’s because 1) a lot of people don’t understand infertility in general, let alone why you would need/want a coach and 2) even if you’re in the thick of your infertility journey, most practitioners are not referring you or recommending a fertility coach because in all honestly it is a rather new practice.
I’m a donor conception coach, which is a subspecialty of a fertility coach but to really understand what I do and how I can help you, you need to understand what a fertility coach is in general.
What is a Fertility Coach
A fertility coach walks alongside someone going through infertility and provides tools and resources to overcome barriers, learn new skills, and offers emotional support and encouragement. A fertility coach can help you learn how to be an advocate for yourself, educate you on the different treatment options, and connect you to others who are going through similar experiences you are. They have typically has gone through infertility themselves and can speak from a place of experience and genuine empathy for what you are experiencing.
Your physicians provide medical advice and a fertility coach is a great supplement to that care – helping with whatever else you need on your infertility journey such as diet tips, exercise, mindset, stress management, relationship help and more.
What is a Donor Conception Coach
Most fertility coaches have specialties or areas of focus where they provide expertise. A donor conception coach specializes in supporting you on your donor journey – becoming a parent via donor egg, donor sperm or donor embryo. This could be you, yourself, carrying the child or it could be a gestational carrier. As long as one or both partners are not using their own gametes to create the child, that is my sweet spot.
Why Work with a Donor Conception Coach
Donor conception can be complex, and it comes with a lot of emotions. I help you work through the emotional aspects of donor conception specifically such as wrestling with the loss of yours or your partners (or both) genetic connection to the child, your fears around having a donor conceived child and what they might think of you as their parent, how to talk to your child about their conception story, how to share your story with your friends and family. All of these are important topics and things all recipient parents need to work through to not only feel confident in their decision to use a donor but also to make sure you are not transferring your fears, doubts and insecurities onto your child inadvertently.
Your Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) guides you through the medical side of this process. Your therapist is there to support your mental health, but they don’t have the experience in working with donor conception which can make it difficult to fully understand your unique needs. A coach comes in to help round out your care team and fill the support gaps to ensure you have the best, holistic care and support you need.
What Does It Look Like to Work with a Coach?
The way coaches work are as unique as the individual coach themselves. Some people do one on one coaching sessions (typically over the phone or Zoom). Some have group coaching programs or memberships you can join. Others have online courses that you purchase and go through at your own pace.
In my coaching practice, I do a hybrid approach. I have an online course that is a one-time purchase that comes with group coaching and access to the other members of the course to get peer to peer support along with my coaching. I offer one to one coaching as well (link to one on one coaching web page).
Is a Fertility Coach Right for Me?
Fertility coaching is not always right for everyone and it is important for you to decide if it is something you want to pursue (now or in the future).
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are considering hiring a fertility coach or joining a fertility coaching program. These questions apply to all types of fertility coaching, not just donor conception coaching.
- Are you emotionally drained but don’t know where to turn to get help?
- Are you feeling overwhelmed with all the conflicting information about how to best support your fertility?
- Do you feel like your relationship with your spouse is changing but you can’t figure out how to make it better?
- Does a pregnancy announcement ruin your whole day?
- Are you tired of being on the emotional rollercoaster each month of sadness, nervousness, anxiety, excitement, hopefulness, and then devastation?
- Are you feeling lonely, lost, or withdrawn from your community because no one understands what you are feeling and experiencing?
- Do you want to make changes in your life so you can keep living while you are building your family but have no idea where to start?
If you answered yes to the majority of these questions, finding a fertility coach might be just what you need right now.
If you've decided a fertility coach or donor conception coach is a good next step for you, read this post called How To Find A Fertility Coach That Is Right For Me.