'Mad About You' Actress Launches Increase Pregnancy Rates In Infertile Women
Leila Kenzle, best known for her role as Fran Devanow, Jamie Buchman's (Helen Hunt) best friend for six years on the Emmy award winning "Mad About You," has co-founded FertilityLA in Sherman Oaks, California, a psychotherapy program for people who are struggling to get pregnant. One in six couples faces infertility and a recent study from Harvard Medical Researchers supports what Kenzle has always believed: "Talking helps."
The report published in the April 2003 issue of the journal Fertility and Sterilityshows that "fertility rates in women more than double when they participate in group therapy sessions."
"Stress and isolation are major issues for women struggling with infertility. This often leads to depression during a period in their lives when they need to have a positive outlook. It is no secret that depression reduces conception rates, so our groups deal with those issues head on," says Kenzle.
An advocate of FertilityLA is actress, Marcia Cross, who appears on the hit series "Everwood." "I have seen first hand the toll that the struggle with infertility takes on women," says Cross. "Many wait until their careers and relationships are on track before trying to get pregnant only to discover that conception has become a problem. FertilityLA helps people to navigate through the emotional turmoil it causes and I know that Leila and Kerry are filling a vital need."
Kenzle has co-founded FertilityLA with Kerry O'Reilly, a former television anchor and entertainment reporter who, in addition to counseling women and men working through infertility issues, works therapeutically with foster children. The two former TV personalities met up at graduate school where they each obtained a Master of Clinical Psychology degree and subsequently started working with infertile individuals and couples.
"We decided to create the FertilityLA program because we realized that for many people infertility is the worst crisis of their lives," Kenzle continues. "I think what makes it so traumatic is that while infertility is fairly common -- one in six couples is infertile -- no one expects it to happen to them."
FertilityLA offers psychotherapy to couples and individuals in several formats: individual sessions, couples sessions and group sessions. Also involved in the program is Roberta Lichter, a clinical psychologist with more than 30 years of experience who serves as director and supervisor, and Robyn Harrod, a licensed clinical social worker, with more than a decade of mental health experience in post fertility alternatives such as foster parenting and adoptions.