Friday, April 30, 2010

If you are an IVF specialist, why are you talking to us about adoption , doctor ?

When I see new patients, even though I am an IVF specialist ( and the vast majority of my patients come to me for IVF treatment), I always explain to them that IVF is not their only choice; and that they have multiple options available in order to build their family. These include: childfree living and adoption.

Many patients get quite upset when I talk about adoption. They feel that the very fact I am discussing adoption means that I think they will not be able to have their own baby with medical treatment. They feel that this means I have a "loser mentality"; am not confident about our IVF success rates; and am very pessimistic !

Actually, none of this is true ! I am very optimistic, but I am also non-judgmental. I provide a very neutral list, which is not ranked or ordered in terms of preference - it's just a vanilla list. The only reason I talk about childfree living and adoption first is because these are non-medical options - and infertility is not just a medical problem !

I feel all these options are equally good - and each patient needs to decide what is right for themselves. These are not decisions which I can make for them, just because I am an IVF specialist !

One patient's mother argued - Why bring up adoption at all ? We already know it's a choice - and if we wanted to consider this, then we would not have come to you at all in the first place !

I needed to explain to her that when I counsel patients, I need to be as objective as possible - I cannot censor information, or assume that they know everything about And sometimes patients need permission from their IVF doctor to stop medical treatment and explore alternative options - and my patients need to know that they should feel comfortable talking to me about all their options - and that I will be happy to support them, not matter what they decide !

I feel all infertile patients need to keep an open mind, and be willing to explore all possibilities, even though some of them may seem repugnant initially. And if some infertile patients are not willing to discuss adoption with their IVF doctor, maybe I am not the right doctor for them !
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