“PMA affects self-esteem and morale”

The waiting, the uncertainty, the failures, the stress. The emotional roller coaster. When we talk about medically assisted procreation (MAP), these are the terms that come up. For couples who turn to these techniques, it is often the start of an obstacle course. So how to prepare? Is it possible to anticipate it psychologically? How to welcome and manage your emotions? Alix Franceschi-Léger is a clinical psychologist. She worked at the fertility center of the Diaconesses-Croix-Saint-Simon hospital group, in Paris, and now works in an office. She receives infertile women and couples engaged in an assisted reproduction process. She answered questions from World as part of the “(In)fertile” podcast, in an episode dedicated to heterosexual couples in LDCs. Another interview, with psychologist Rachel Treves, is devoted to single women and couples of women.

Also listen How to psychologically survive a PMA journey?

What do heterosexual couples feel when they have to go through PMA?

When you want a baby, you don’t think that it might not work. We are in innocence, in dreams, in imagination. If it doesn’t work, we go downhill. When embarking on a PMA, couples generally do not really know what they are getting into. On the other hand, they know that this is not at all what they had dreamed of. They had probably imagined having a baby in the couple’s secret and, for the young woman, dreamed of announcing it herself to her partner as a surprise. Except that here, quite the opposite is going to happen.

How to qualify the desire for a child for these couples?

It is a desire that has been abused, put to the test. This situation ends up affecting self-esteem and morale. I hear a lot of women say to me: “I’m not even capable of doing what happens to people without them thinking about it. I have studied a lot and I am not even capable of having a child. » This is deeply moving for these patients, and quite moving for me to hear. I want to tell them: “It’s not you, it’s your body. So of course, your body is you, but it’s an area that you don’t control. »

In 15% of cases, there is no explanation for the infertility. How is this experienced by couples?

It’s one of the rare branches of medicine where patients want something discovered so they know what’s wrong. Psychically, it’s easier when there is a reason. How to manage this uncertainty? At first, we flounder. It causes a sort of identity crisis. Young women tell me that they don’t recognize themselves. They were full of enthusiasm, they had confidence in themselves, and everything fell apart. I then try to help them let go of controlling the situation.

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