You’re a health nut. You’ve got your doctor on speed dial. You know all about leaky gut. And maybe you can even speak CrossFit. But even the savviest woman can feel overwhelmed when unexpectedly thrust into the world of trying to get pregnant and fertility treatments. FSH? IUI versus IVF? What does it all mean?
Enter the fertility coach. One part jargon translator, one part spiritual guru, private coaches are there to help guide women through the baby-making process. And that can be huge, given that so many women struggling to conceive are already in a pretty vulnerable state, says Dania Sander, a fertility coach at the YinOva Center, the acupuncture hotspot that specializes in all-things fertility and charges around $150 an hour for a session.
So why spring for a pro?
“Fertility treatment used to be a one-size-fits-all approach,” says Karin Thayer, founder of FertilityPlanit.com, an online resource and support system for hopeful parents. “But really each of our paths is so individual, it’s helpful to have a coach to help you make the right choices.”
While doctors are often too busy to explain the ins and outs of each process, a good fertility coach will take time to break down the medical possibilities and help you coordinate and prioritize the flood of appointments now on your calendar. Some offer nutritional counseling or financial planning to help you figure out how much money is needed to have and raise a child. And many have struggled with infertility themselves, Thayer says, and can provide a welcome dose of empathy.
To find a good fit, look at your situation, prioritize your needs, then search for a coach with expertise in those areas, Thayer says. “Vet that person—find out what their qualifications are and get references,” she says, adding that fertility coaches should have counseling or coaching degrees. And there’s no need to wait six months or a year before reaching out (the general time frames used before a diagnosis of “infertility” is given). Like a good therapist, coaches can step-in whenever you perceive problems and want to work on them, Thayer says.
Because maybe the biggest benefit of having a fertility coach is having a cheerleader who reminds you of your immense internal strength. “People have a lot of shame around infertility,” says Sander, who uses vision boards and writing exercises to help women see themselves, and their partners, as proactive (and who has been solidly booked since YinOva started offering fertility coaching a year ago). “But the choice to go to any length to create a family makes them powerful.” —Amanda Benchley