If you are a fertility coach in 2021, you are in luck!
Why do I say this when economies are struggling? Everyone is worried about their finances or even their jobs!
Well, allow me to explain.
As a coach, we are all in the business of helping people become a better version of themselves. I believe that is the fundamental trait that runs across all coaches, irrespective of their niche. All clients sign up for coaching with the hope of becoming more productive. They want to overcome the emotional or mental barriers that may be holding them back. There is a sense of vulnerability that everyone experiences.
However, only a few coaches see or are able to help clients at their most vulnerable time. As a fertility coach, you may be one of those lucky few coaches who are able to do so and help them heal. You may be the last beacon of hope for some of your clients!
Are you ready to find out more? Please read on to find out all that you need to practice fertility coaching.
What Does A Fertility Coach Do?
As a fertility coach, how can you help the client? What comes within the purview of coaching?
I am sure you have all these questions if you are just starting out in your coaching career.
If you are a new coach, it is best to understand responsibilities, explore myths around your profession and chart out your boundaries so that you may better support clients.
A common question related to fertility coaching is about medical degrees.
Is A Fertility Coach A Doctor?
One may not be. While there is nothing stopping a doctor from becoming a fertility coach, the two are not always the same.
A fertility coach will heavily rely on medical opinion and chart to help a client. But those reports are only fact sheets to guide a client towards emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual freedom from the trauma of infertility.
A doctor is a medical professional who has to have a medical degree in order to practice. As of now, coaching is unregulated. This means any person can claim to be a coach. However, your coaching skills, knowledge of marketing and brand building and contacts will help you become a successful coach.
Does a Fertility Coach Prescribe Medicines?
A coach is not equipped to prescribe any medication or tests to determine infertility.
An Ob/Gyn should be any client’s first port of call when it comes to understanding their bodies. This is because certain physiological challenges may come in the way of natural conception for women.
A coach, however, can do the following tasks effectively.
A fertility coach helps a client to:
- Explore and analyze any emotional and psychological barriers that are causing stress. Anxiety can offer come in the way of getting pregnant.
- Understand menstruation cycles and optimum time frame for conceiving.
- Break down medical jargon and find out various other reliable ways of becoming a parent. These could include assisted reproductive methods and challenges of each (IUI, IVF, surrogacy) and even adoption.
- Supports the journey of a parent and family by providing information and support.
Some clients who go through assisted reproduction have often said that the process itself is difficult at best. It can also be traumatic for some.
This is where a fertility coach can help.
Armed with knowledge, softened by empathy and trained to provide help are the best ammunition you can have to provide support as a fertility coach.
Common Myths to Tackle as a Fertility Coach
As a fertility coach, you are also best placed to provide informed support to your parents.
This website cites some of the misconceptions around infertility. It is a good idea for you to be informed about these myths so that you may inform your clients.
Stress causes infertility
Almost every couple encounters stress in their lives. While it is certainly common for infertility to cause stress, it is quite unlikely for stress to be a cause of infertility. Times of high stress may certainly impede couples from trying to conceive. Scientifically, however, it is not clear if there is a causal mechanism between stress and infertility. Furthermore, the last thing a woman wants to hear is, “You’re too stressed … just relax and it will happen.”
Foods affect fertility
There are no specific foods that have been directly linked to infertility. In general, a well-balanced diet with not too much of any one thing is the way to go.
Smoking is fine, as long as I quit when I’m pregnant
Not true. Besides the well-known negative impact of smoking on health, smoking results in a faster decline of ovarian reserve for women, increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy and lowers the chance of a successful outcome with fertility treatments.
Female age doesn’t matter as long as you are under 35
Women are born with a limited egg supply that progressively declines with age. This results in a measurable decline in fertility that begins in the mid-20’s and becomes progressively steeper in the mid-30’s. After the mid-40’s the chance of successful live birth with a woman’s own eggs is extremely low.
Male fertility does not decline with age
False. Although men have the luxury of generating new sperm on a regular basis, their sperm quality does decline with age. There is also greater DNA fragmentation seen in sperm with increasing age.
Infertility is mostly a female issue
This was a commonly held belief that is not true. Infertility impacts men and women equally. Among all couples seeking help for infertility, about half of them have male factor issues.
If you have a child, you don’t have to worry about infertility
This medical website lists some more myths. This is one of them and it not true. Even if a couple already has a child or children, they can experience difficulty in getting pregnant later. This is called secondary infertility.
Every fertility journey looks the same
No, it does not. Family planning around infertility comes down to personal choices that vary among couples. Every path looks different, and each individual choice is valid.
Which Clients Need A Fertility Coach?
Do all couples or individuals exploring parenting hire a fertility coach?
If not, who are the ones you should explore as target clients? And how can you let them know what you can offer to them?
It helps to explore your target audience early on in your career. This will help you streamline your business approach even further.
Let us first find out which clients need to see a fertility coach.
According to this website, it depends on how long a client has been trying to get pregnant.
A visit to an OB/GYN is generally the first stop in the fertility treatment journey. The gynaecologist may perform a preliminary fertility evaluation, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
An individual should consider having a fertility evaluation if they:
- Are under 35 years old and have been trying for at least one year
- Are older than 35 years and have been trying for six months
If the evaluation points to an underlying fertility issue—such as pelvic inflammatory disease or uterine fibroids—it may be time to consider seeing a fertility specialist.
The other reasons to consider seeing a fertility specialist are:
- Having a history of more than one miscarriage
- Individual or partner had or has an STD
- Individual or partner are overweight or underweight
- Women over 30 years old, who have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease or problems related to their menstrual cycles. Such clients should see a fertility specialist sooner than the recommended one year.
- If the partner has a low sperm count
These are some of the reasons cited by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
If the client has encountered any of the challenges mentioned above, this is where you come in.
Now that you have identified your target audience as a fertility coach, you have ticked off the first item on your coaching journey.
The next is to identify the exact nature of the challenge the client is facing and how to deal with it.
A fertility coach works closely with the medical team so you need to ensure that all the prescribed tests have been completed by the client.
You will also need to be aware of the mental challenges that your client may possibly be facing. Some of these may be:
- Disappointment. Society has been built around the false premise that the primary role of human beings is to procreate. A lot of individuals are choosing to challenge this notion by opting to remain child-free. But for those who are keen to bear children, an inability to do so may cause frustration.
- Embarrassment. Going by the above premise of living up to societal pressures, clients may feel a sense of shame or humiliation at their inability to bear children.
- Envy. Clients may also feel a sense of isolation as they feel alienated from their peers or friends.
Although some of these challenges may be common for your clients, there is another human characteristic that defines all of your clients.
That is hope.
Responsibilities of a Fertility Coach
As a fertility coach, you can make a huge difference in your client’s life.
Irrespective of whether your clients can finally become biological parents or not, you may have a massive role to play in your client’s life at a very vulnerable stage of their life.
It is therefore crucial that you focus on helping your parents emotionally and objectively. Let us study the problems above and see how you can help them with each.
Focus on the medical reports. At the beginning of your coaching journey, insist on consulting medical professionals. This will help you in driving the conversations around their particular condition too.
You are often the last hope for many of your clients who are struggling with medical conditions and societal pressure. This can be a huge burden for your clients. Deal with their anxiety and worries with kindness. If you feel that the tension between a couple is deep-rooted, do not hesitate to point them in the direction of a marriage coach. This does not take away from your role or business as a fertility coach. In fact it adds to your overall responsibility of ensuring your client’s mental health and wellness.
Focus on the big picture
As a coach, your responsibility is primarily to act as a sounding board. Often medical professionals do not address fears and other emotions of a couple/individual looking for fertility coaching. Allow your client to speak freely and address each concern with facts, kindness and objectivity. However, keep the focus on the larger picture. Often anxiety disables an individual’s ability to focus on what really matters. As a coach, you are the best placed to remind them.
Conversations as a Fertility Coach
So, what are the conversations you can expect to have with your client?
As far as coaching questions are concerned, check out my earlier blogs for pointers. Several of the soul-baring questions I have mentioned will help you as a coach. 12 Life Coaching Questions to Ask Your Clients and 34 Coaching Questions to Ask Your Clients to Begin With are two such blogs.
Here are also some of the questions related to fertility that your client may ask you. I have mentioned some of the questions listed online. There may be several more unique ones.
- How can I get pregnant with IVF?
- Do IVF babies have fertility problems?
- What is the best fertility treatment?
WebMD also has a detailed list of questions that some clients pose:
- Could smoking, alcohol, or stress affect my fertility?
- Could my job or my partner’s job contribute to our problems?
- Are there any nonmedical approaches, such as relaxation or meditation techniques, that could improve my chances of getting pregnant?
- Is it important to get an infertility evaluation now, or should we wait a while longer?
- What specific tests would you recommend to diagnose our infertility, and what do they cost?
- What are our treatment options, and how much do they cost?
- How much of the cost of fertility treatments or testing does health insurance typically cover?
- What’s the success rate, measured by “live births,” for each type of treatment?
- How many procedures like the one you recommend for me has this fertility clinic done, and what’s the success rate?
- Can you put us in touch with former patients who had similar treatments?
Once the client is comfortable enough to talk to you, explore the client’s priorities and challenges. Remember that the client is here to explore her parenting journey. And your compassionate, informed support will go a long way to start this journey off on a good note.
But this will come over years of practice. Treat each new client as a learning curve!
However, if you are a new coach, I have some tips that can help. Some are listed here and here. Check out my blog 40 Coaching Tools To Grow Your Coaching Business if you feel that your career is stuck.
How Will You Get Noticed As A Fertility Coach?
Why should a client hire you instead of going to an infertility centre?
Such centres have started mushrooming across every country. They report very high success rates and sell the dream of pregnancy and parenthood to millions of clients every year.
Why then should a client hire you?
The reason is simple. Such centres promise success but often leave clients financially and emotionally drained. There is no doubt that there is an exponential rise in success stories since IVF and IUI have become common. However, along with the success stories there are also stories of trauma, pain and disillusionment.
That’s not all. Adoption rules are different across countries. The process can run for years in many cases and can be financially draining.
In contrast, if you can show the client what you can offer then you will have a ready client to add to your list.
What do you need to highlight to your clients?
- A differentiated offering! You already have chosen a coaching niche. Now market what you have to offer intelligently!
- Even if you do not want to opt for a course, get some relevant training. You can check out the training through this link. This will take you to my free webinar. Use it as a starting point to explore your journey.
- Finally it is all about marketing your brand. Some helpful links are here and here
It is not hard become a successful coach. But work out the process. Do check out my previous blog Top 10 Coaching Skills You Must Have as a Life Coach. You may also want to refer to my blog 21 Coaching Skills Every Successful Coach Needs and Top Qualities Of A Successful Coach.
Do You Need to Train As A Fertility Coach?
Is certification mandatory to practice as a fertility coach? There are several recognized certification courses that you may opt for. This will give you an introduction to coaching theories. However, it is not mandatory to have a degree.
This is because the coaching industry is still unregulated. However, I have discussed the pros and cons of a degree in my earlier blog. You should check it out!
Resources on Fertility Coach
A simple Google search will show you several books and podcasts online related to fertility. Although strictly not about coaching, many describe the medical aspect of the problem. Others focus on the patient’s emotional journey. You may want to look up some of these as resources and stay updated in your career as a fertility coach.
Do look up the following books and let me know if you found it useful.
Books for a Fertility Coach
A search on Google offered several books on fertility coaching. Some are:
- State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
- Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health (Paperback) by Toni Weschler
- Sing You Home (Hardcover) by Jodi Picoult
- Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility (Hardcover) by Sami S. David
- The Infertility Cure: The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies (Paperback) by Randine Lewis
- It Starts with the Egg: How the Science of Egg Quality Can Help You Get Pregnant Naturally, Prevent Miscarriage, and Improve Your Odds in IVF (Paperback) by Rebecca Fett
- Period Repair Manual (Kindle Edition) by Lara Briden
- The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant (Paperback) by Jean M. Twenge
- Conquering Infertility: Dr. Alice Domar’s Mind/Body Guide to Enhancing Fertility and Coping with Infertility (Paperback) by Alice D. Domar
- The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood (Paperback) by Belle Boggs
- The Garden of Fertility (Paperback) by Katie Singer
- WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source by Alisa Vitti
- Unsung Lullabies: Understanding and Coping with Infertility (Paperback) by Martha Diamond
- Inconceivable: A Medical Mistake, the Baby We Couldn’t Keep, and Our Choice to Deliver the Ultimate Gift by Carolyn Savage
- Good Eggs (Hardcover) by Phoebe Potts
- Your Fertility Signals: Using Them to Achieve or Avoid Pregnancy Naturally (Paperback) by Merryl Winstein (shelved 3 times as fertility)
- Getting Pregnant Naturally: Healthy Choices To Boost Your Chances Of Conceiving Without Fertility Drugs by Winifred Conkling
- In Vitro Fertilization: The A.R.T. of Making Babies (Assisted Reproductive Technology) by Geoffrey Sher
- The Way of the Fertile Soul: Ten Ancient Chinese Secrets to Tap into a Woman’s Creative Potential (Paperback) by Randine Lewis
- Fertility Wisdom: How Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Help Overcome Infertility (Paperback) by Angela C. Wu (shelved 3 times as fertility)
- The Seed: Infertility is a Feminist Issue (Exploded Views) by Alexandra Kimball
- Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy (ebook) by Angela Garbes
- The Friend Zone (ebook) by Abby Jimenez
- The Optimized Woman: Using Your Menstrual Cycle to Achieve Success and Fulfillment (Paperback) by Miranda Gray
- My Notorious Life (ebook) by Kate Manning
- Real Food for Gestational Diabetes: An Effective Alternative to the Conventional Nutrition Approach by Lily Nichols (Goodreads Author)
- Moon Time: Harness the Ever-Changing Energy of Your Menstrual Cycle by Lucy H. Pearce
- Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition: Self-Care for Improved Cycles and Fertility… Naturally! (Paperback) by Marilyn M. Shannon
- Most Wanted (Hardcover) by Lisa Scottoline
- All the Good Parts (Kindle Edition) by Loretta Nyhan
- Fertility Yoga: A Natural Approach to Conception (Paperback) by Kerstin Leppert
- Inconceivable: A Woman’s Triumph Over Despair and Statistics (Paperback) by Julia Indichova
- Is Your Body Baby-Friendly?: Unexplained Infertility, Miscarriage IVF Failure – Explained (Paperback) by Alan E. Beer
- The Fertility Sourcebook (Paperback) by M. Sara Rosenthal
- Mr. and Miss Anonymous (Hardcover) by Fern Michaels
- What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
- Baby Dust by Deanna Roy
- Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach
- Overcoming Male Infertility by Leslie R. Schover
- The Art of Natural Family Planning (Paperback) by John F. Kippley
- Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night, and One Woman’s Quest to Become a Mother (Hardcover) by Peggy Orenstein
- Conscious Conception: Elemental Journey through the Labyrinth of Sexuality (Paperback) by Jeannine Parvati Baker
- The Fast Track to Fertility: A Modern Guide to Overcoming Infertility by Sherif G. Awadalla
- A Few Good Eggs: Two Chicks Dish on Overcoming the Insanity of Infertility (Paperback) by Julie Vargo
- The Empty Picture Frame: An Inconceivable Journey Through Infertility (Paperback) by Jenna, Currier Nadeau
- The Metaphysics and Ethics of Relativism by Carol Rovane (shelved 1 time as fertility)
- Relativism (Problems of Philosophy) Relativism (Problems of Philosophy) by Maria Baghramian
- Hilariously Infertile: One Woman’s Inappropriate Quest to Help Women Laugh Through Infertility. (ebook) by Karen Jeffries
- The A List (Ali Reynolds, #14) by J.A. Jance
- Infreakinfertility: How to Survive When Getting Pregnant Gets Hard (Kindle Edition) by Melanie Dale
Previously, I have mentioned some of the following books listed for aspiring coaches. These are:
- Co-Active Coaching – Laura Whitworth, Henry Kinsey-House, Phil Sandahl, and John Whitmore
- Transformational Life Coaching – Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott and Lynn U. Stewart
- Coaching Questions: A Coach’s Guide to Powerful Asking Skills – Tony Stoltzfus
- Becoming a Professional Life Coach: Lessons from the Institute of Life Coach Training – Patrick Williams and Diane Menendez
- The Life Coaching Handbook: Everything you need to become an effective life coach – Curly Martin
Podcasts for a Fertility Coach
There are several YouTube videos and podcasts relevant for you as a fertility coach.