Many pregnant women have heard the term doula. A doula is a support person there to take the edge off labor and delivery. She helps the pregnant woman navigate the final stages of pregnancy through to the first stages of new motherhood, but who’s there to support the woman facing infertility, IVF cycles and disappointment around every bend in her fertility journey? Infertility doulas are quickly gaining popularity as the go-to support system for women fighting the uphill battle of prolonged infertility.
What Exactly Does an Infertility Doula Do?
There is very little information on the services provided by an infertility doula. The concept is one that is relatively new, so no set standards of care have been established. Infertility doula practices or persons typically attend fertility doctor visits, work with patients to find alternative care options to improve fertility, reduce depression and balance emotions during the battle of infertility.
Education is another huge part of the infertility doula care plan. The doulas provide patients with a working understanding of fertility testing, treatments, options and diagnosis, but there are no official training programs or medical classes required, so accuracy of medical information received from an infertility doula may be questionable.
How to Find an Infertility Doula
If you are interested in finding a support system to help you through your infertility journey the best place to start is your fertility doctor. Infertility doulas are not as widespread as pregnancy doulas, but gaining popularity could mean your fertility doctor has a few names in his Rolodex. If you cannot find an infertility doula through your doctor, you may find support from local life coaches or pregnancy doulas that’ve worked with infertile patients in the past or suffered infertility personally.
A diagnosis of infertility can be overwhelming, but there is support out there for women who need someone to count on or simply someone to be there during doctor’s visits and fertility treatments. As is the case with all medical care it is always best to interview many and select the best infertility doula for your personal needs.