Thursday, September 18, 2008

Patients , Doctors and unrealistic expectations

One of the biggest problems in infertility treatment is that patients have unrealistic expectations of the technology - and unfortunately, doctors do not spend enough time counselling them to correct these.

We see many patients who have done an IUI cycle, and then got very upset when the cycle failed, even though the "follicle ruptured; the sperm were great; and the doctor was very happy" !

Patients need to remember that nature is not very efficient at making babies - and that while assisted reproductive technology is very useful, IVF doctors have their own limitations.

Unfortunately, many doctors are excessively optimistic during the treatment, in order to boost the patient's morale. However, if the test is negative, they often dismiss this as "bad luck" and do not sit down and talk to the patient. If this failure is not discussed , patients get upset - and lose confidence in doctors and infertility treatment. This is a tragedy, because sometimes all patients need to do is be patient, until they get pregnant !

In our clinic, one of the ways we manage patient expectations is by helping them to reframe the problem, so that they understand that IVF treatment can take time ; and is not always a single shot affair.

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