Thursday, February 16, 2012
Hope And Encouragement During IVF: Is It Necessary?
Dear readers old and new,
The main purpose of my blog, Facebook entries, Twitter entries and All Experts advice are to give people hope; to urge them to continue their quest to have a child; to give them explanations and to help them in their quest.
I and my staff are my patient’s cheerleaders. We want the very best for them and hope and pray with them. We feel sadness when they fail and are overjoyed when they are successful. We put our hearts into them. This is a closeness that most large IVF clinics do not have the time or energy to do. This is personalized care, and it affects us because of the stresses it puts on us. Nameless, less personal and faceless care would be a lot easier for us. It would be less stress. It also would be less sadness for us, but that is not the type of care I or my staff like to give.
But today, I was criticized for something completely different. I had two patients give us feedback that we were “too encouraging” so their feeling of failure was worsened. They were angry at us for this. We were criticized for giving too much compassionate care, so that we enhanced their expectations and hence their fall when they received the negative result. I am mystified as to when good care or good service is no longer acceptable. Should we create more of a distance from our patients? Is giving hope to patients really just fueling false hope and subsequent depression? Is the anonymous factory-type care that many large centers provide, better than our approach? Is this really what infertility patients want? Are my efforts actually more destructive than they are constructive? I’d love to hear from readers of this blog about their thoughts.
As infertility specialists, we deal with a very personal issue. So personal and private that most patients won’t even acknowledge us to their friends or family. For example, I was at a B’nai Mitzvah recently for twins that, not only did I help conceive, but I also delivered. It was a celebration of the children, and there were acknowledgements of everyone in their lives, including their teachers, rabbi, friends, travel partners, etc. but, alas, there was no mention of me; the one who not only made it possible for their mother to have them, but who physically brought them safely into their world (I delivered these twins as well).
I have accepted the fact that what I do is highly personal and private. I have accepted the fact that many patients will not acknowledge me in mixed company, or in the store or on the street. Being a “fertility specialist” can have a negative impact on their standing among friends. That is certainly something that all fertility specialists have to accept. I do accept that. Unlike many other medical specialties, the praises we receive are received in private. We don’t mind that because we know that in their hearts, they appreciate the care and gift that we gave them.
It can be a bit disheartening though, at times.
Edward Ramirez, MD, FACOG