One of the commonest answers I'm forced to give my patients is, "I don't know" - and this is the answer they hate hearing. As humans , we all crave certainty. We want answers , because we don't like indecision, and we want to know what the future holds. This is why fortune tellers are so popular, and which is why there are so many talking heads on TV , telling you what the stock market is going to do tomorrow; or what the results of the elections are going to be . Just like we want certainty in other areas of our life, we want it in medicine as well, which is why we go to a doctor , who's supposed to have all the answers, since he's the medical expert.
Then, when I tell my patients "I don't know", they get extremely upset. Even though they know in their heart of hearts that it's an honest answer, that's not the answer which they want. Their first response is, "How come you don't know? Aren't you the expert? Aren't you supposed to know everything? Don't you have years of experience ? If you don't know, then who does? If you don't tell us, then how will we know how to proceed?" I emphasize to them that I don't like having to tell people "I don't know", but if that's the reality, the first thing I need to do is to confront that reality and be transparent and honest with them, so they understand the limitations of whatever I tell them.
I'm a human being , just like they are. I don't have a magic crystal ball. Even though I have professional expertise, it does not give me insights into what is going to happen to the individual patient sitting in front of me. Yes, I can provide them with statistical success rates and averages, but the problem is that these don't apply to individuals. The patient sitting in front of me doesn't really care what happens to the other 99 patients in my clinic - she only cares about what's going to happen to her. This is the one answer which I cannot give her - which no one in the world can give her.
Typically, what happens next is that immature patients who are not happy with my advice will move on to find another doctor who will tell them what they want to hear. The more mature ones will understand that if nothing else, I'm leveling with them - that I'm being honest, and that I'm going to do my best to help them achieve their goal. Even though I don't know what the future holds, I'm happy to hold their hand and help them to find the answers within themselves, rather than depend upon flawed expertise.
This is why you need to do your homework, so you have realistic expectations from your IVF treatment,, and can get peace of mind that you have done your best by taking the right treatment at the best clinic.
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