Objective: The aim of the paper is to examine how those working in, using and regulating assisted conception clinics discussed infertility counselling and its provision within the context of embryo donation and in vitro fertilisation.
Method: 35 participants were recruited for semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. All data were analysed using thematic analysis.
Results: The thematic analysis revealed recurring themes based upon the portrayals of infertility counselling, embryo donation and in vitro fertilisation.
Conclusions: This paper suggests that an implicit hierarchy exists around those using assisted conception techniques and their infertility counselling requirements, which was dependent upon the assisted conception technique used. As a result, some people using assisted conception techniques felt that their needs had been overlooked due to this covert hierarchy.
Practice implications: Those working in, using or regulating assisted conception clinics should not view infertility counselling as restricted to treatments involving donation, or solely for people within the clinical system.