A fertility clinic's success rates, location, and treatment options are all critical considerations, but one aspect many overlook is support services. Here's what you should know about how holistic care can improve your fertility journey and even increase your chances of success.
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What to Look for in a Fertility Clinic
When you're searching for the right fertility practice to help grow your family, there are some obvious considerations. These typically include the following factors:
- Location: Does the clinic have offices near where I live and work?
- Success rates: Does the clinic or provider have a proven track record of success?
- Bedside manner: Do I feel comfortable and taken care of by the provider(s)?
- Communication: Is it easy to get answers and talk to the clinic's staff?
While each of these factors (and others) should play into your decision, choosing a clinic that goes above and beyond can make all the difference in your experience.
Some clinics offer counseling and some offer support groups. But very few maintain a comprehensive program with services that address every aspect of patient care: physical, mental, and emotional. Here at Illume Fertility, we pride ourselves on doing just that.
What is integrated fertility care?
We believe that treating the whole patient creates better outcomes.
While your dedicated fertility care team (made up of your reproductive endocrinologist, fertility nurse, patient navigator, and insurance and billing advocate) will help chart your course through fertility treatment, there are so many other factors that contribute to your health and wellness during this time.
That’s where our Integrated Fertility and Wellness (IFW) program comes in. This multidisciplinary team of professionals are dedicated to providing you with complete mind/body support throughout your fertility journey - no matter what it looks like.
It's true: Navigating fertility treatment can feel like a full-time job, and gets even more overwhelming when you have to juggle it alongside work stressors, existing relationships, and a host of other life responsibilities.
How can integrated fertility care help me?
We created this unique program to help increase resilience, manage complicated emotional situations, and more generally, ensure you have the absolute best chances at achieving your fertility or family-building goals.
Our IFW team is here to supplement your treatment plan, help you maintain balance, and de-stress along the way. Read on to hear from a real patient about their experience with this program, and to learn more about each member of our IFW team.
Our Integrated Fertility & Wellness Program
At Illume Fertility, we have a robust range of holistic wellness providers who offer nutrition counseling, acupuncture, mental health counseling, free Fertile Yoga classes, and an array of private, tailored support groups.
Get to know each of our providers:
- Melissa Kelleher, LCSW, Fertility Counselor
- Dr. Amy Matton, MSTOM, L.Ac., Acupuncturist
- Dr. Elaine M. Malin, MTCM, L.Ac., Acupuncturist & Certified Herbalist
- Lisa Rosenthal, RYT-500 Yoga Instructor, Patient Advocate
- Melissa Morone Sommer, M.S., L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., Acupuncturist
- Elizabeth Alexandre, L.Ac., MSTOM, Acupuncturist
- Jill Hickey, RDN, Nutritionist
- Jennifer Walsh, RDN, Nutritionist
With decades of professional and personal experience in the fertility space, our Integrated Fertility & Wellness team offer a unique range of support - designed specifically to help you be successful on your journey.
Acupuncture for Fertility
Did you know that acupuncture is been shown to help enhance fertility? Studies show that acupuncture reduces stress and anxiety and improves blood flow to the reproductive organs, which in turn enhances fertility. Here's how it all works.
According to Dr. Amy Matton, DACM, L.Ac., “Acupuncture is about encouraging balance for body and mind and creating an environment that is optimal for pregnancy to occur.” Her desire to help fertility patients feel more balanced and at peace during treatment is why she helped create Illume's acupuncture program over 18 years ago.
Acupuncturists Dr. Amy Matton, Dr. Elaine Malin, Melissa Sommer, and Elizabeth Alexandre help patients reap the physical and emotional benefits of these practices through both traditional and laser acupuncture.
To learn more or make an appointment, please call Dr. Matton at 203-858-6286.
A personalized nutrition plan helps support both your fertility and general wellness while maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Our nutrition program offers in-person and virtual appointments to make getting support as accessible as possible.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Jill Hickey and Jennifer Walsh help patients from all walks of life make changes to their diet and lifestyle that can have a lasting impact, from trying to conceive to managing PCOS symptoms.
To book a nutrition consult, ask your Illume Patient Navigator.
Mental Health Support During Fertility Treatment
To put it mildly, going through fertility treatment can be stressful. Developing a personalized plan to help you maintain equilibrium and find your center throughout treatment is the ultimate goal for our mental health counselors.
The number one reason patients drop out of fertility treatment is stress. That's why mental health counseling is so critical. It can help you process your feelings and experiences, making the journey more manageable so you can remain in treatment and achieve your dreams.
For Melissa Kelleher, LCSW, finding ways to help patients “manage the roller coaster of emotions as they’re going through fertility treatment” is her personal motivation.
To access mental health support, talk to your Illume Patient Navigator.
Fertile Yoga & Support Groups
When Illume's Patient Advocate Lisa Rosenthal went through her own family-building journey, she recognized the lack of support and community - and didn't want anyone to go through fertility treatment feeling that sense of loneliness.
She brings many years of personal experience as an infertility and PCOS patient, a yogi, and a patient advocate to the table, allowing her to empathize with patients on a deeper level.
Lisa is now the facilitator of many of our support groups, which range from Ladies Night In (for moms-to-be), to LGBTQ+ parenting, to pregnancy after infertility.
She is also the founder and teacher of Fertile Yoga, a gentle yoga and mindfulness practice that has been proven to reduce stress and increase hopefulness for fertility patients.
To register for an upcoming yoga classes or support group, visit our events calendar.
An Illume Patient Shares Her IFW Experience
Want to hear a real success story from our Integrated Fertility & Wellness program? The following was shared by an anonymous IVF patient, in her own words:
"I switched to Illume Fertility after one failed IUI at another practice, and I’m so happy that I did. After meeting with Dr. Murdock, I did one more IUI, and then my husband and I decided to move on to IVF. I had to take a few months off of work because of COVID-19, which was another stressor during this process!
I was actually supposed to start IVF in March 2020, but I ended up starting in May 2020. My first transfer was unsuccessful, but my second transfer led to a baby boy, born in March 2021. I am endlessly thankful to everyone at Illume Fertility for our little miracle.
How Integrated Fertility & Wellness Helped Me
If it weren’t for COVID, the IFW team would have played an even bigger role in my fertility journey. As it was, coming from a practice that didn’t have any offerings like that, it was mind-blowing to see the level of support that was offered at Illume Fertility.
During my fertility journey, I made use of the following resources:
- Acupuncture - I still see Dr. Elaine Malin - she is so sweet, calming, and nurturing. I went quite often through my fertility journey, and I also did acupuncture before and after both transfers with Dr. Amy Matton. Acupuncture truly helped me, especially with my anxiety.
- Ladies Night In and Fertile Yoga - I only went to two support groups and Fertile Yoga pre-COVID, but I never attended them virtually. I definitely would've kept going in person!
- Nutrition counseling - I saw Illume's nutritionist Jill Hickey twice, while my long-time dietitian was on maternity leave. She was so sweet and supportive. I had about 10 lbs to lose before meeting the BMI requirement for IVF, and I truly believe that she gave me the motivation (and some really helpful tips) to get there.
I still speak to someone that I met at a Ladies Night In group, and I’m in all of the private Illume Facebook groups. My husband and I also saw Melissa Kelleher for couples counseling, which helped us get through some of the toughest parts of IVF.
Advice for Fellow Fertility Patients
If I could give one piece of advice to someone starting fertility treatment, I would say, “Trust your journey.” This was hard for me at first because there were so many unknowns.
But I found that when I was finally able to calm down, find outlets for my anxiety, and stop worrying about when it would be “my turn” is when things started to come together for me. When I went into my successful transfer, I was so calm, and I have no doubt that helped in our outcome.
I would also say to trust your doctors and nurses, and to stay away from the internet! Everyone's situation is so different, so don't compare yourself to others. Lastly, be kind to your body and your mind. This is not an easy road, but there will be an end."
Want to learn more?
If you are a current Illume Fertility patient and want to book an appointment with one of our Integrated Fertility & Wellness providers, please reach out to your nurse or patient navigator!
Curious to learn more about how our experienced team of medical and wellness professionals can help you achieve your fertility and family-building goals? Schedule your first consultation today.
Sierra Dehmler is Illume Fertility’s Content Marketing Manager - and also a fertility patient herself. Combining empathy gained on her personal journey with her professional experience in marketing and content creation, she aims to empower and support other fertility patients by demystifying the fertility treatment process.