University of Melbourne Magazine

Podcast transcript – How to stay positive during assisted reproductive treatment

Georgia Pryce: Welcome to this bonus episode of the 3010 podcast. I’m Georgia Pryce.

Suellen Peak is a counsellor who supports people trying to get pregnant through assisted reproduction. Here are her top three tips – all based on positive psychology techniques – for surviving the inevitable stresses and strains of treatment.

Suellen Peak: Without doubt, 110 percent is enlisting support. We know that other people matter. with assisted reproduction I think it’s about having a scaffolding of support. And they are the people who’ve earned the right to hear your story. Not everybody’s earned that right, so picking those people really carefully, and ensuring that we can also set some boundaries with those people. Which is things like, is it okay if you don’t ask me or ask exactly where I’m up to in the treatment, because sometimes you’ll ask me at a time when I’m really just trying to keep it all together, and that might feel a bit destabilising. So I think that’s a really important element.

To think about maintaining and building wellbeing throughout a person’s assisted reproductive treatment is really, really important. And not to just expect that wellbeing will look after itself. If I only have an emotional tank that has so much capacity, if I’m giving energy out, eventually I’ve got to let energy come back in, and sometimes I have to be conscious about that. So finding ways to practice gratitude, or to create moments of laughter, and play. And that just gives that upward lift. So I like that idea of filling the wellbeing tank so that it’s got some resources in it, to keep going, and it’ll help people sustain their effort.

The other really significant part is to continue to create a life of meaning. Really tapping into things around your values system – do I value having people around me and good relationships with people, and am I continuing to work on those things at the same time as that I’m going through assisted reproduction. And alongside that, is to continue to strive. So it might be around saying, I’ve always wanted to get that job, and not putting that on hold just because you’re waiting to have your family, is still feeling like your life is moving forward. And I think small changes, or big changes, or big achievements, they really do again give us an upward lift, and they make us feel a sense of joy, and again this sense of accomplishment or moving forward, and that’s really important.

Georgia Pryce: If you’d like to hear more from Suellen on positive psychology and assisted reproduction, listen to the full episode of the 3010 podcast online now. It’s called The Fertility Counsellor.

And for more stories like this, subscribe to 3010 on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or visit

This episode was produced by me, Georgia Pryce. Our theme music is by Rory Clark and our audio engineer is Chris Hatzis. 

Copyright 2018 the University of Melbourne.