Photo of Gabriela Lupatkin, LICSW, social worker at the Mass General Fertility CenterGabriela Lupatkin, LICSW, is a social worker at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center where she supports the emotional and mental health needs of patients during their fertility treatments. She earned her master’s in social work from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in New York City and was drawn to Mass General for its high caliber of patient-centered, expert care.

In this Q&A, Gabriela explains how Mass general social workers help hopeful parents along their fertility journey, what drew her to this specialty and what she wants every patient navigating infertility to know.

The most joyful part of my job is working with individuals, couples, and families to help them understand and pursue their goals.

What is a clinical social worker?

Social workers aid people in preventing and/or addressing problems in their lives by providing resources, therapeutic support and more depending on individual needs. 

What’s your patient care philosophy?

I believe in patient-centered care and working collaboratively with patients to understand their needs and determine how to provide the best care. Patients are the experts of their own lives, and I believe that it is important to learn from them about how to best support them.

What drew you to clinical social work and the fertility specialty?

Building human connections and providing mental health care within a socially just context drew me to the field of social work. I was drawn to fertility because of its unique circumstances and the various emotions it can carry. Every person brings a unique experience and set of concerns, and I have always been interested in providing diverse and sensitive care.

How do you provide fertility support to patients?

In my work with the Fertility Center, I provide support and resources to people experiencing fertility issues which may look like one-off consultations, multiple meetings to help you navigate a particular issue, or a referral to more ongoing and permanent support.

A patient’s fertility journey can have a lot of ups and downs. How do you navigate those with patients?

I provide space for patients to express the thoughts and feelings they are experiencing, often ones they have not been able to express to their loved ones. I help patients understand these feelings and patterns and develop strategies to more effectively cope during these difficult times.

How can Fertility Center patients access your services?

A Fertility Center patient can contact the schedulers and request an appointment with me at any time. They don’t need to wait until things seem overwhelming to schedule an appointment with me. Reach out, I’m here to help as you navigate your fertility journey. I’m available to meet with every patient during their time with the Fertility Center. Patients can be navigating a lot of complicated emotions throughout their time with us—grief, hope, confusion, anticipation, and more—it can be helpful to have a neutral third-party to help you process all of that.

What can Fertility Center patients expect when they come to see you?

They can expect a welcoming environment where they can explore whatever is on their mind. I like to find out more about a person or couple’s life beyond their fertility journey and learn who they are as people. You do not have to come with an agenda or even an understanding of what you need. We can figure all that out together!

What are you looking forward to in the Fertility Center?

This spring, the Fertility Center is launching a new way to access emotional and mental health resources through support groups! All Fertility Center patients are welcome. Topics may include processing an infertility diagnosis, intimacy during fertility, yoga and mindfulness, how to address comments by friends and family, etc. Support groups will meet virtually at first. In the future, there may be opportunities to meet in person.

If you have an interest in joining this support group when it launches in Spring 2023, please complete this form to share topics you’d like to cover and times of the day when you could join a support group.

Learn more