Saturday, October 23, 2010

Making sense of your infertility treatment options

I just saw an infertile 42 year old woman who said - Doctor, my husband has a low sperm count. Can you please prescribe some medicines so we can improve it and have a baby. "

It always amazes me that even in this day and age so many infertile couples do so little to try to make sense of their treatment options.

Many find it very hard to decipher the medical terms their doctor uses. They do all the tests the doctor asks for - and are often completely lost when he then explains to them what the next action steps are.

Unfortunately, many doctors also "complexify" matters rather than simplifying them. They take a perverse pride in doing so, because it allows them to position themselves as experts in a difficult subject which the poor patient will never be able to understand !

I think they just make matters unnecessarily complex. Infertility is quite a simple topic, when broken down into its component parts.

Basically, you need just 4 things to make a baby - eggs; sperm; uterus and tubes.

If you are not getting pregnant, you need to identify what the bottlenecks are; and prioritise these, so you can focus on the important ones !

Thus, for this 42 year old woman, even if her husband has a low sperm count, her major problem is her advanced age, which is going to impede her ovarian reserve. Even if her husband had a normal sperm count, she would still need IVF, because time is now at a premium for her !

Using this simplified approach, we can quickly get to the heart of the problem - and then identify a solution which allows us to tackle the problem efficiently ! Every problem has a solution - and the question should NOT be "Why am I not getting pregnant ? " Rather, it should be - What can I do in order to get pregnant ?" After all, no one cares about problems - we only care about results - about having a baby . The quality of a doctor’s answers depend upon the quality of the patient’s questions - and if patients learn to ask the right questions , their chances of getting the right treatment will improve dramatically !

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