PIVET Medical Centre’s Clinical Psychologist, Margaret van Keppel, is an Approved (Fertility) Counsellor (by the Western Australian Reproductive Technology Council). She has worked in the fertility field for more than 15 years. She consults at PIVET Medical Centre as an independent practitioner, and also has a community-based clinical psychology practice.

PIVET Medical Centre and Perth Day Surgery Centre have a comprehensive specialist counselling service available to all patients before, during and at the conclusion of treatment. A history of infertility, and fertility treatment itself, are often experienced as stressful and challenging. Many people find that their usual supports and coping strategies aren’t adequate for these new experiences. Counselling can assist with developing a better understanding and more adequate responses to the experience of infertility and the demands of treatment.

A list of other Approved Counsellors is available from the RTC website (www.rtc.org.au), should you wish to access counselling away from PIVET Medical Centre.

There are 3 different types of fertility counselling available:

  • Pre-treatment implications counselling, for those commencing IVF treatment, or treatment involving donor sperm, eggs or embryos. The process of implications counselling is largely psycho-educational. The counsellor generally has a number of topics that are typically focussed on, however, it is also necessary to focus on any concerns that the patients may have before they commence treatment. In the case of a “known donation”, all parties are required to attend “donor issues” implications counselling sessions both at the beginning and at the end of mandated “cooling-off” periods.
  • Supportive counselling. This usually occurs during, or at the conclusion of, treatment when a patient feels the need for additional emotional support, and/or has a specific treatment-related experience or difficulty which they wish to understand or resolve; examples include pregnancy loss, lack of success with treatment, heightened stress in the “2 week wait”, managing the work situation when in treatment.
  • Therapeutic counselling. This typically involves a number of sessions of psychological assistance and more in-depth support with problems that have been highlighted or exacerbated by treatment, such as “needle phobia”, relationship conflict/tensions, depression and anxiety.

There is no fee charged for Pre-IVF Implications counselling, as this is covered by Medicare. Fees are charged for “donor issues” implications counselling, and also for supportive and therapeutic counselling. Information about fees for counselling is available from the receptionists. Our counsellor is a registered provider with all of the private health insurance funds and those patients who have appropriate ancillary cover with a private fund may be eligible for a rebate.

Our counsellor also regularly telephones patients after they have had an unsuccessful IVF cycle or Frozen Embryo Transfer (usually 7 to 10 days following a result), in order to provide additional support, at a time when a patient’s need for support may be greater. Also from time-to-time, the counsellor, together with other PIVET Medical Centre staff, offer support groups, as an opportunity for patients to meet other patients in a supportive environment. There are no fees for these services.

The counsellor is available on Tuesdays and Fridays. Telephone counselling is also available to patients who are unable to attend PIVET Medical Centre because of personal circumstances (e.g. country patients). Appointments for counselling can be made by phoning PIVET Medical Centre’s receptionists.