One of the most worrisome aspects of an IVF cycle is the uncertainty involved. The patient never knows whether the next cycle is going to work or not - and neither does the doctor ! The problem is compounded by the fact that they know very little about what happens during IVF treatment. This is because most doctors don't bother to explain anything to them . Either they don't have any time , or they use so much jargon that the "explanation" is clear as mud for the poor patient, who is too scared to ask for clarification .
While patients do go on the Internet to do their homework for themselves, they still find it hard to get clear answers to their specific queries, because doctors don't like being questioned. Sometimes going on the Internet leaves them even more confused, because they don't know which sites are reliable. Different sites sometimes provide diametrically opposite information , and they don't know whom to trust. This is why so many patients feel powerless and helpless when starting an IVF cycle, and many just give up and pretty much let the doctor decide what to do.
When some of the hardier ones get fed up of trying to make sense of the doctor's cryptic comments, they once again turn to trying to find answers on the Internet. Their husbands and relatives admonish them for doing this. Their well-meaning advice is based on their perception that they are needlessly adding to their stress levels by spending hours online . They remind them that half knowledge is dangerous ; and they should just leave everything up to the doctor, who is the expert, rather than try to figure out stuff on their own.
I think this is a big mistake. It's been proven that assertive patients who ask smart questions get far better treatment. They are much more in control of what's happening, and can make decisions in partnership with their doctor. Also, good doctors respect these patients far more; and their participation acts as a safety net which prevents errors from happening.
Patients should self-prescribe Information Therapy from reliable websites , so that they have realistic expectations, and do not have to depend completely on their doctor to find out what's happening. Otherwise, they will get blindsided when the cycle fails, especially when the doctor has been over-optimistic.
It's a great idea to think of the IVF cycle as a game you can play, where you try to anticipate what's going to happen next. How many follicles will you have ? What will their size be ? What will your blood test estradiol level likely to be ? This will help to reduce your anxiety , because you know what to expect. And even if things don't turn out the way you want, at least you'll realize that something seems to be amiss , and you can start taking corrective action by bringing this to the attention of your doctor .
At the end of the day, you need to remember that doctors can't read patients' minds. IVF treatment is elective, and your personal preference plays a big role in deciding which option you should select. This is why you need to speak up. If you take an active interest in what's happening, you'll be able to make your own decisions in partnership with your doctor.
This way , you'll have peace of mind that the process you followed was correct, no matter what the final outcome is. Patients are mature enough to understand that while doctors can't control outcomes, we can make sure that our clinic is following global best practices , so that we can maximize your chances of having a baby . Just like you can't afford to leave everything up to God, you can't afford to leave everything up to your doctor either. The good news is that today you have the tools to be more actively involved in your treatment.
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