"In some ways, infertility grief is similar to the sorrow that comes when someone you love
dies.  That which you are missing seemingly becomes magnified when you see those who
have what you've lost or what you want and don't have.  While this increased awareness
seems like  envy, in reality it has to do with loss:  Loss of expectations . . ."

Melanie Dillon, Coffee and Clomid
from the desk of Dr. Pierce-Davis . . .

       Over the past ten years, I began to see in my practice a growing number of women with     
fertility problems.  Along with fertility concerns came  complaints of depression, anxiety,
relationship problems, feelings of isolation and sadness.

Gradually, their stories of frustration, discouragement and grief unfolded:   months of
disappointment, roller coaster emotions, miscarriages, and uncomfortable fertility treatments.

They found themselves avoiding settings where children and babies were present --
shopping malls, holiday gatherings, family reunions, church.    Most distressing  was
embarrassment they felt from unwitting and hurtful comments made by family and friends,
even strangers.  As time went on they became increasingly isolated with their pain and

One day, a client invited me to a Resolve meeting.
 Resolve is a national organization
dedicated to supporting families with fertility issues

After the meeting, I made a commitment to become a resource for families struggling with the
complex and painful issue of infertility.  I studied the physiology, and psychology of in
and  treatments.  I consulted with physicians and counseled their patients. I was invited to  
speak to professional and lay groups on emotional and spiritual issues unique to Infertility.  

I assessed individuals  for programs on the cutting  edge of the field such as egg and sperm
donation, donor recipient, and gestational carrier programs. I worked with families and
adoption agencies, counseling, assisting, and providing necessary assessment and  

I understand that it is important to grieve the losses of infertility:  the loss of one's
expectations, of an unborn child, or a future never given a chance.  I also understand the deep
psychological need to carry a child and to give birth.  It is  not something easily forfeited.

When you talk to me, you will know that I have heard the story before.
Carol Pierce-Davis, Ph.D., Psychologist

4131 Spicewood Springs Road
Suite K-6
Austin, TX 78759
(800) 420-4784
(512) 345-8083

Infertility Counseling
addresses topics
unique to the person
and the issues ~

How to manage the stress
of infertility:
  • stress symptoms,
  • feelings of victimization
  • how infertility changes
  • new communication
  • boundary options with
    friends, family, strangers
  • marriage and intimacy
  • medical treatments, side
    effects and work
  • concentration difficulties
  • mood changes
  • infertility and
    professional goals
  • when and who to tell
    and not to tell
Grief Consoling/Counseling:
  • loss of ability to parent
  • loss of child
  • loss of identity as parent
Information Sharing:
  • internet, web sites
  • books
  • publications, pamphlets
By Linda Hammer Burns, PhD

 Infertility is a complicated medical problem that can trigger many different emotions.
The experience can cause sudden acute psychological pain and grief following, for
example, an unexpected diagnosis or difficult treatment decision. Infertility can also be
an open-ended situation where there are no clear endings and mourning and grief is
prolonged because a glimmer of hope may linger.

 Unfortunately, the infertility experience can trigger unresolved emotional issues from
the past and may also launch a major assault on one's self esteem and personal
identity. Infertility can feel like a death, like a prolonged mourning process as dreams
die and hopes are dashed. It can also be a time filled with feelings of jealousy, rage,
envy, and longing. Individuals and couples may isolate themselves or feel isolated
from family and friends. Many people get worn down physically and emotionally by the
experience and not surprisingly, marital, family, and social relationships can suffer as

 It may be hard to know when emotional responses to the pain and frustration of
infertility are within normal, expected range or are excessive and problematic.

 If you are experiencing any of the following feelings, you may want to see an infertility
counselor or therapist:

  • You have felt sad, depressed, or hopeless for longer than two weeks.
  • You have noticed changes in your appetite, either eating more or less than
  • You are having trouble sleeping or are sleeping more than usual. You awaken
    not feeling rested.
  • You feel anxious, agitated, and worried much of the time.
  • You have panic attacks -- particularly related to infertility situations or issues.
  • You feel lethargic or have lost interest in usually enjoyable activities.
  • You have trouble concentrating, are easily distracted, and/or have difficulty
    making decisions.
  • You have persistent feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
  • You feel easily irritated, angry, and frustrated.
  • You have thoughts of death or dying.
  • You have lost interest in sex and/or fail to have orgasms.
  • Relationships with friends and family are no longer rewarding and enjoyable
    and you prefer being alone.
From Resolve . . .