The path to growing your family is not always an easy, straight line. Infertility can cause that path to wind and can create some speed bumps along the way. Fortunately, there are more resources than ever for those who have found themselves stuck or lost in their fertility journey.
In comes fertility coaching.
Fertility coaches offer support for couples who are trying to conceive through assisted reproductive techniques (ART). Coaching helps couples focus on living a healthy lifestyle that is conducive to a healthy conception and pregnancy and helps them navigate stressors in a healthy way.
Let’s learn a little bit more about what fertility coaches do, the advantages of having one, and when it might be time to call one.
What Does a Fertility Coach Do?
While doctors provide clinical care, fertility coaches build on that care with additional physical, mental, and emotional support and guidance. OBGYNs are helpful in determining if there is a medical problem with the uterus, ovaries, or hormones that is making conception difficult.
Fertility coaches help you make the necessary lifestyle changes in order to prepare your body and mind for conception and pregnancy or to undergo assisted reproductive techniques.
Many people do not realize that there is more that influences fertility than what is discussed in doctor’s offices. There are many factors that influence reproductive health and treatment outcomes including weight, diet, intake of vitamins, alcohol or substance use, alternative therapies, and stressors such as work, finance, and relationships.
Fertility coaches help manage and improve these factors that can influence fertility while helping navigate the emotional tolls of this often stressful time.
Fertility coaching is often a mind-body process. Coaches aim to treat the whole person rather than focus on just the infertility diagnosis. They support a client physically, mentally, and emotionally in an effort to enhance fertility or prepare a person for parenthood via alternate routes.
Every fertility journey is unique, and coaches focus on individual cases in order to provide the best guidance and help a couple make the right choices on their journey.
What Can a Fertility Coach Not Do?
Fertility coaches cannot diagnose you with any type of medical condition or prescribe any medication. While they will try their best, coaches cannot guarantee that a client will conceive or have a successful ART treatment.
Benefits of Having a Fertility Coach
The biggest benefit of fertility coaching is having someone by your side who is focused on you and can offer personalized support. Oftentimes, couples feel alone in their fertility journeys, and coaches can help them feel seen, heard, and important.
Medical doctors are helpful and provide important information regarding diagnosis and treatment options, but fertility coaches will help you look a few steps further at changes you can make in your lifestyle to supplement your treatment and enhance your chances of conceiving.
Fertility coaches also help you develop important lifestyle habits that will be beneficial for your health beyond your fertility journey.
Why a Fertility Coach Can Be Helpful
Your fertility journey is an incredibly personal one. Doctors definitely have their place, but it is easy to begin feeling as if you are more of a patient or problem that needs fixing than an actual human being with a jumble of thoughts and internal struggles.
This is why a fertility coach can be helpful. You will be listened to and treated as a whole person rather than just another medical case. Your fertility coach can provide support in a number of ways.
Lighten the Load of Fertility Struggles
Fertility coaches can help lessen the negative impact that fertility struggles can have on you and your life. With techniques that help you change your mindset, fertility coaches can support you in implementing coping skills that will reduce the negative physical and psychological effects such as chronic stress, anxiety, or low mood.
Enhance Your Body’s Natural Fertility
Nutritional deficiencies, sleep, toxins, diet, chronic/excessive stress, exercise, hormonal imbalances, and other health issues can also play a role in fertility. Even if you do not have any significant health challenges or symptoms, unhealthy lifestyle choices or habits can acutely influence your fertility.
A fertility coach can help you analyze your lifestyle and set goals to optimize your lifestyle and make practical changes that may have a positive impact on your physical body and reproductive health.
Studies have shown that positive lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on the ability to conceive and successful fertility treatments. The right support during the preconception period and through fertility treatment has been shown to:
- Increase pregnancy rates
- Increase egg-retrieval rates
- Impact egg quality
- Reduce miscarriage risk
- Improve sperm mobility
- Reduce PCOS symptoms
- Reduce endometriosis
Treat Your Whole Self, Not Just Your Diagnosis
Some fertility diagnoses may not ever be overcome with treatments, and fertility coaches are aware of that. However, helping a couple conceive is not their only goal.
While they certainly want this and will try to help, their end goal is helping you become a healthier person (or couple) all around. They focus on treating your mind and body by teaching you techniques and habits that are applicable not only to fertility but to overall health and wellness.
By doing so, they help you find increased health and well-being, emotional balance, and positive ways to move forward in your journey to becoming a parent.
Do Fertility Coaches Use a Holistic Approach?
Fertility coaches come from a variety of backgrounds and have different specialties. Some may have medical backgrounds, and others may have experience in counseling, nutrition, etc. Each has a specific niche they serve that determines how they work with their clients.
Some coaches work on mindset while others focus on holistic approaches such as Chinese medicine or acupuncture. Some focus solely on the emotional aspects while others may take a more mind-body approach and focus on a little bit of everything: physical, mental, and emotional.
Holistic Fertility Certification
While there is not a particular degree requirement for fertility coaching, clients want educated and trained fertility coaches. There are online certification programs and training available for individuals interested in becoming holistic fertility coaches.
Fertility Coach vs. Fertility Therapist
Coaching and counseling can be quite similar, and it can be difficult to know what one does over the other. Fertility coaches and therapists have a lot in common, but there are some things that set them apart.
Both coaches and counselors can come from a variety of specialties and backgrounds. They also have shared goals with clients, and their clients are the focus of the relationship.
Coaching focuses more on self-exploration, self-knowledge, professional development, performance enhancement, and better self-management. Fertility coaching is goal-oriented, focusing more on the client’s thoughts and behaviors and advancing the client’s potential.
Fertility therapists seek to bring clients from a dysfunctional place to a healthy, functioning level. They seek to heal emotional wounds and “cure” the patient emotionally. Fertility therapists seek to remove the client’s mental pain and increase their insight.
Ultimately, fertility coaches are for those who are generally functioning okay but are unsure how to move forward with improving fertility or fertility mindset. Those who want an accountability partner should seek a fertility coach.
Fertility therapists, on the other hand, are better for those who are having a very difficult time with their fertility diagnosis and are struggling to function on a daily basis. Those who suffer from anxiety, depression, or infertility triggers would benefit from a fertility therapist.
When To Hire a Fertility Coach
A fertility coach may be your answer if you:
- Feel like you have taken all of the tests, read all of the books, and searched the whole internet for answers but can’t find what you are looking for.
- Are not sure what step to take next in your fertility journey.
- Feel like there are changes you can make to boost your chances of getting pregnant but aren’t sure what they are or how to motivate yourself to make them.
- Have tried to get pregnant on your own for a while with no luck, and fertility tests are not revealing any potential issues.
- Will be undergoing fertility treatment and want to create the healthiest environment in your body.
How Much Does a Fertility Coach Cost?
You can expect to pay anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on your coach.
Will Insurance Pay for a Fertility Coach?
Most insurance companies do not provide benefits to cover fertility coaching.
How To Find a Fertility Coach
There is no governing body that certifies coaches; therefore, you will have to do your own search online or get recommendations from others who have used them. Many coaches work remotely and can work over the phone, by text, or through email.
Fertility coaches can be very helpful and could be the answer you are looking for to help you in your fertility journey. If you are on the fence about hiring one, it might be helpful to find reviews and feedback online from people who have used a fertility coach to learn what their experience was like.