Infertility Counselling: Alleviating the Emotional Burden of Infertility and Infertility Treatment

Document Type : Review Article


Social Worker, Social Therapist, Family Therapist DGSF, Moerfelden, Germany


This article provides an overview of international developments in the area of infertility counselling. It informs about the development of international organizations and relevant professional standards and describes the need to make counselling accessible to all patients, especially those who experience great distress or display previous vulnerability. Whereas in previous years counselling focused on psychopathology; research shows that on average, men and women experiencing infertility are as healthy as others. Therefore, the aim of counselling is to reduce the emotional burden of infertility, help couples to consider the implication of family building alternatives and provide therapeutic care where relevant. In some instances, counsellors also have the task to carry out psychological assessments. For the sake of transparency, it is important to clearly differentiate between these two interventions. Last but not least, this article argues that much of our current knowledge is based on research carried out in Western societies, therefore lacking understanding and appreciation for the meaning of infertility in other cultures. Therefore we need more international debate across cultures to further our understanding and to honor different cultural values.