When I see patients who have failed an IVF cycle, I ask them basic questions such as, "How many eggs did you grow?" and " What was your embryo quality".
The standard response is, "Our doctor didn't tell us anything."
Interestingly, many patients believe that doctors are allergic to patients who ask questions. In fact, a lot of IVF doctors tell them at their first consultation, "Please don't Google, because you will just get confused and anxious. A lot of the advice on Google is not very good, so don't waste your time and energy googling. Also, please don't ask us questions . You need to learn to trust us. If you don't trust us , then you should go find another doctor."
I think this is bad advice. Infertile patients have lots of questions because they're confused and have lots of doubts. They have heard a lot of old wife's tales, and are not sure how to separate facts from myths. They want to do their best to get the best possible treatment, and they want their doctors to clear their doubts.
We all know that IVF doesn't have a 100% pregnancy rate, and this is why it's important for a doctor to be upfront and clarify their patient's doubts as much as possible.
I know this takes a lot of time, and sometimes doctors do get irritated when patients ask the same questions repeatedly. However, refusing to answer a patient's questions is not a very enlightened approach. In fact, this can come back to haunt the doctor afterwards, especially when the cycle fails and the patient feels cheated and let down.
I always emphasize to patients that the only thing which we can control is the process, and that's why patients need a doctor who's willing to be open and transparent . He should share the details of the IVF process with you - both what he can control and what he can't control - so that you don't have unrealistic expectations. After all, the outcome of every IVF cycle
is always uncertain.
Even if the cycle fails, if the doctor has been upfront with the patient and answered all her questions patiently, the patient will at least have peace of mind that you've given her good quality treatment, and she'll be happy with you. On the other hand, if you refuse to answer questions, the patient will be angry and suspicious , and will distrust you. These angry patients can end up ruining your reputation. That's why doctors need to change their attitudes, and be willing to spend time in communicating openly with their patients.
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