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Conversation with an Infertility Counselor

I'm Ellen Glazer and I'm a clinical social worker and writer who has combined my personal and professional experiences to co-author several books on the various issues surrounding fertility struggles.

I graduated from social work school in the early 1970's, encountered infertility in the late 1970's, became a mom in the early 80's (through adoption and birth) and then focussed my practice on infertility, pregnancy loss, adoption, gamete donation, surrogacy and parenting after infertility.

I meet with individuals, couples and groups and do phone consultations and counseling for people who live at a distance. I have also done a good deal of writing and public speaking in the field of infertility. In addition to articles and essays, I have authored or co-authored seven books, most recent being Having Your Baby Through Egg Donation (co-authored with Dr. Evelina Sterling). The second edition of Having Your Baby Through Egg Donation, also co-authored with Dr. Evelina Sterling, is set for release in June 2013 through Jessica Kingsley Publishers in England.

You can find out more about me here.

Posts

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a blog by Ellen S. Glazer, LICSW, Mar. 18, 2010

The “perfect infertility patient” has transformed her life. She dines on wheatgrass and flaxseed and avoids dairy and meat. She does yoga and meditates and avoids exercise that elevates her heartbeat. She sleeps eight hours a night and listens to guided imagery tapes in her car. She reads about infertility on the Web but knows when to shut the computer off. She is doing all that she possibly can and she is working hard not to drive herself crazy in the process. It’s a difficult balance.

I meet “perfect infertility patient” fairly often these days. It's not surprising. We live in a society in which hard work pays off and most of us believe that if we work hard at something, put our minds to it, do all we can, our efforts will pay off. That is, until we face infertility.

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a blog by Ellen S. Glazer, Mar. 11, 2010

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a blog by Ellen S. Glazer, Feb. 24, 2010

One piece of advice that I give to all my infertility clients is to “mark your calendars.” That may sound ridiculous to anyone who has dealt with infertility, since everyone knows how quickly one’s life can become ruled by the calendar. Months become “cycles” and cycles become measured by blood draws and ultrasounds. Some parts of the calendar are filled with appointments and activity; others slog by in waiting.

One thing is sure: infertility patients never forget their calendars. If they’re not planning cycles, they’re trying to figure out ways to avoid or cope with those dark spots on the horizon: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, Passover, a big birthday, a small one—all the times that remind them of what and who they are missing.

So why do I advise paying more attention to calendars?

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a blog by Ellen S. Glazer, Feb. 18, 2010

I’m a social worker (and a mother through both adoption and birth) and over the past four decades, I’ve counseled countless individuals and couples about their struggles with infertility, their pregnancies, parenthood after infertility, their decisions about egg donation, sperm denoation and gestational carriers. When I meet an infertility patient for the first time, I usually tell her (it’s usually a “her”) that I went through infertility myself. Before she looks too carefully at my over–age- 60 wrinkles, I quickly add, “about 300 years ago.”

O.K. It wasn’t really 300 years ago, but close enough. I went through infertility in the late 1970’s, right around the time of the birth of Louise Brown, the first person conceived through IVF. It was a long time ago and so much has changed in reproductive medicine since then.

I tell people that I have personally experienced infertility because there are some aspects of the experience that seem timeless. I want women (and men) who are currently struggling to build their families to know that although 30 years have passed, I can still remember what I was wearing, where I was standing and, surely, what I felt when my best friend told me she was pregnant. I can also remember when, about eight months later, I visited my friend and her daughter for the first time and burst into tears when the new parents briefly left the room.

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