One of the most frustrating aspects of trying unsuccessfully to have a baby is the sense that you’re not in control of your own destiny. Most of us take for granted that our health will accurately reflect our fertility. Therefore, why shouldn’t we be able to conceive whenever we decide the timing is right? At least that’s the common perception. The repeated success of friends and family often makes it even more exasperating. I know this. Not only do I treat couples trying to become pregnant on a daily basis but my wife and I went through fertility treatment on our own. During our treatment, we were repeatedly annoyed by the lack of individualization of our treatment protocol by my colleagues whom we’d entrusted our care to. Worse still was the way our input was disregarded even though we’re as fully informed of the science behind the treatment as they were.
My wife and I chose to redirect our approach to treatment; both personally and professionally. After all, I didn’t want my patients to experience the same frustrations that we endured. The results or our action was dramatic; we now have a daughter and we manage a fertility treatment center that empowers patients. We remain fully committed to helping other couples take control of their fertility treatment as well regardless of where they go for treatment. Here’s what we recommend:
- Get informed—Although it is important that expose yourself to as much information as possible, it is best to consider the source as well as how old the material is that you’re reading. In other words, not everything you read is accurate. Some is outdated and much of it may be true but not apply to you. Seek information that is verifiable. Look for reputable sources and references to specific research studies.
- Ask questions—Once you feel comfortable with your knowledge base, write down questions. Don’t be shy about asking your doctor very specific reasons why the do or do not recommend a specific course of action if it is appealing to you. It’s best for your doctor to earn your trust through such encounters rather than expect it based upon their title or reputation.
- Create a fertility plan—This is a unique concept that I don’t think enough people do for themselves. Take the time to consider your options and periodically re-evaluate your goals. Just like writing a business plan or creating an itinerary for a planned vacation plan your course of action. There is nothing that can be more empowering than to actually be in control. If you need some assistance with this, check out pp, 127-129 and pp 285-287 in my book PERFECT HORMONE BALANCE FOR FERTILITY.
- Analyze your diet and lifestyle—Consider the steps that you and your partner can take outside of the doctor’s office to boost your chance of pregnancy. This can involve matters like losing weight, taking a prenatal vitamin or evidence-based supplement or finding ways to lower your stress level. Bottom line is that success begins at home.
- Consider a second opinion—If you’re not comfortable with the plan proposed to you, consider meeting with another board certified reproductive endocrinologist. There is typically more than way to achieve success. You should be able to form a partnership with your doctor that you’re both comfortable with. Therefore you shouldn’t feel committed to seeking treatment that you’re not comfortable with since there are other options.