Infertility and shame

Fertility Specialist Elaine Gordon, PhD, shares advice for those with reproductive struggles on how to overcome guilt or shame faced from infertility issues
Overcoming Shame and Guilt Caused By Infertility
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Infertility and shame

Well, shame is, I think, one of the biggest obstacles to making good decisions when you are trying to figure out how to have children. And, it's the shame that gets in the way of making a good decision. What happens is that shame and sex get sort of intertwined and really gets in someone's way and stops them from really looking at all the available options and they are many. So, to work on the shame and to get rid of it is, you can do it through professional help. You can do it through groups. You can do it with friends and family. Being more open about your reproductive struggle is one way. Joining people of like-mind that are also struggling and sharing that is another way, seeking individual professional help. But, if you can really tackle the shame, I think you're going to get your answer and have your child much sooner.
PREGNANCY, Fertility, Infertility

Fertility Specialist Elaine Gordon, PhD, shares advice for those with reproductive struggles on how to overcome guilt or shame faced from infertility issues


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Elaine Gordon, PhD

Fertility Specialist

Elaine Gordon is a Clinical Psychologist with a specialty in infertility, child development, reproductive medicine, and third party family building.  Besides her role as a therapist and group facilitator working with patients struggling with infertility related issues, she lectures on various topics surrounding the psychological and ethical issues of contemporary family building. Dr. Gordon is the author of Mommy, Did I grow in your Tummy? Where Many Babies Come From a children’s book dedicated to explaining a child’s unique reproductive beginnings whether it be IVF, egg donation, sperm donation, surrogacy or adoption.

Her professional associations include The American Psychological Association, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine and The American Fertility Association. She has served, as the educational chair for the Psychological Special Interest Group of the ASRM, is a member of the educational committee of ASRM.  She has served on various committees regarding many aspects of reproductive medicine. Dr. Gordon’s clinical work involves individual therapy, group process for couples and individuals, staff training for programs involved in reproductive medicine and third party screening and evaluations for all participants.

Dr. Gordon is well versed in both the medical and psychological aspects of reproductive medicine utilizing third parties. Her involvement in egg donation and surrogacy programs has stimulated an interest in the issues surrounding secrecy and disclosure in third party parenting. Related to the disclosure/nondisclosure issue is the need to assess the advantages and disadvantages of open versus closed donation policies. She lectures on disclosure policies and how you talk to children about non-traditional family building with the focus being the best interest of the child. 

Throughout her career as a psychologist she has become increasingly concerned about the ethical and moral dilemmas inherent in growing field of reproductive medicine. She has co-authored a chapter entitled "Legal and Ethical Aspects of Infertility Counseling" in the textbook Infertility Counseling: A Comprehensive Handbook for Clinicians. Dr. Gordon is currently involved in several research projects investigating the psychological implication of using egg and or sperm donation as a means of building families. She continues to work with other professionals in establishing a ‘standard of care” policy for the infertility patient and third party participants.

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