I always tell my patients that if they have opted to do IVF, its only one of the many options available to them.  Though I am an IVF specialist and am aware that most of the patients that come to me do so because they want to do IVF, one of the first things I tell them in a consultation is that there are a number of options available to them to build their family, regardless of what their specific problem is.

The options

The first 2 are non-medical ones- Child-free living & adoption

The 2 medical options – IVF or 3rd party reproductive options (using donor eggs/surrogacy).

As a matter of fact, for the sake of completeness, I would like to include 3 more non-medical options:

  • Continue attempting to conceive in the bedroom
  • Get remarried
  • Seek divine intervention

The last option is something that a lot of people do even without we actually telling them to do.

Is the doctor crazy?

In most instances, when I begin discussing the non-medical options with my patients, many of them get upset. The different things that pass through their minds, and that some of them also voice are:

  • They feel I am being negative in my approach and wonder that when they have come to me for treatment, why I feel that they should take these other options.
  • Their confusion stems from the fact that I am presenting them with these options even before they start with the IVF treatment.
  • They wonder whether I am telling them about these options because their chances of IVF success are poor
  • They wonder whether I’m a pessimist

On the contrary, I talk to them about all these different options because I’m a die-hard optimist. I want patients to understand that IVF is only one of many options open to them. They shouldn’t feel they are compelled to do IVF just because there is no other option open to them. Despite this, I pick up a sense of desperation from most of the patients who come in to do IVF. In most cases, this is because they have tried almost everything else to try and have a baby. Its natural they are worried and stressed, because they don’t really have a fall-back plan at all, in case IVF fails for them.

Empowering patients to make smarter decisions

If a patient is aware of all the options available to them, it makes them feel more empowered and in control. This also means they are less stressed and they won’t go to pieces even if their IVF treatment fails. It’s much easier for them to bounce back in case their cycles fail. I always tell my patients to keep a very open mind and that they shouldn’t consider any option prematurely. They should approach IVF with strength, not out of weakness. If the latter happens, it will only make them more vulnerable.

Not happy with the attention you are getting from your IVF clinic? Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you!

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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