2 February 2023
This week Louisa Ghevaert caught up with Sarah Banks to explore the benefits of fertility coaching to support patients through fertility treatment. If you’re hoping to undergo fertility treatment right now or planning to in the future or know someone that is, it’s worth reading on to learn more about the merits of fertility coaching.
What made you become a fertility coach?
I was one of the one in seven couples who struggled to conceive a baby. I felt the grief every month that I still wasn’t pregnant and the lack of information and support around fertility issues. I was lucky in that after 6 years of trying to conceive and two cycles of IVF, we were blessed with our little boy Jack. Then following our struggles first time round, I naturally conceived our second child, our little girl Millie. As a result, I wanted to help others and so I retrained as a fully qualified fertility and personal development coach and launched Sarah Banks Coaching to support patients, clinics, employers and professionals and improve the fertility treatment experience.
How does fertility coaching support patients undergoing IVF treatment?
Fertility coaching helps patients take back control and become calmer, more informed and more in control of what is happening to their body. The IVF treatment process can seem daunting and overwhelming and it’s a controlled process led by the fertility clinic. As such, fertility coaching helps break down the process into small steps and provide coping tools to get through treatment.
What made you publish your IVF Positivity Planner?
I launched the IVF Positivity Planner in 2019 to provide a support resource for patients undergoing fertility treatment combining coping strategies, coaching questions to support them through treatment, daily journaling and exercises to help feel in control. It’s a resource to help hold patients’ hands through fertility treatment and something that they can take to each clinic visit to make notes in and raise questions.
What benefits and support does fertility coaching offer fertility clinics?
Fertility coaching helps build better awareness and understanding amongst clinics and staff about what fertility patients need and want to continue with treatment. One of the biggest reasons fertility patients stop treatment is due to lack of support and an inability to cope. Fertility coaching helps clinics and staff deliver better personal experience and support for patients looking to overcome fertility challenges including weight loss, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol intake, strains on personal relationships and demands of their personal-work-life-balance. It also helps clinics and staff deliver their advice and guidance empathetically and to think about their body language when interacting with patients to reduce negative impacts and emotional distress.
How can a fertility coach support employees in the workplace?
Fertility coaching helps employees take control of the demands and juggle associated with undergoing fertility treatment and employers understand what this involves, to include: the unpredictable nature of the IVF process, multiple clinic appointments, short notice clinic attendance and varying times for appointments. It also helps employees strike a workable personal-work-life-balance.
What’s the difference between fertility coaching and specialist fertility and family law advice?
Specialist fertility and family law provides specific legal advice and solutions that are tailored to individual situations to effectively navigate the legal issues, implications and outcomes of undergoing fertility treatment. Fertility coaching is different in that it helps patients take ownership of the fertility treatment process and develop coping strategies and forward-focussed actions rather than providing specific solutions.
What top tips can you share as a fertility coach?
My top tips include:
- Taking control of what you can, for example lifestyle issues including: eating well, getting enough rest, drinking enough water, cutting down on alcohol, not smoking and reducing stress where possible.
- Taking care of your emotional wellbeing, to include meditating, journaling, taking time out for a long walk and self-care.
- Taking practical steps to prepare for fertility treatment, including: researching the treatment process and your chosen clinic, booking time off work and being proactive about travel arrangements and hotel bookings for clinic visits.
- Taking control of your finances to help fund fertility treatment and plan for the costs of parenthood.
- Seek support, which can take different forms including: talking to someone, joining a support group, following Instagram and other social media accounts or sharing with family and friends.
- Focus on your personal relationship and take time to relax and switch off from fertility treatment, go on dates and work on effective communication with your partner.
For more information about Sarah Banks’ fertility coaching and her IVF Positivity Planner click here.
If you would like specialist fertility and family law advice to understand and make informed decisions about the legal issues and implications of fertility treatment and family building in your case contact Louisa Ghevaert by email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +44 (0)20 7965 8399.