Monday, October 05, 2015

Why IVF patients need to learn to ask the right questions !

The one skill that is crucial for IVF patients to learn is to ask the right questions. It’s natural for infertile couples to have a number of questions; even more so if they’ve failed an IVF cycle, and they want their doctor to provide them answers too.  It’s a fact that the kind of answers a doctor gives, will be dependent on his technical competency and whether he has the ability to provide answers without a generous smattering of medical jargon.

However, in many ways, the answers that a doctor gives will also be dependent on the quality of the patient’s questions. When patients pose good quality questions, they will get good quality answers. It’s common for most patients to whip out a lengthy list of generic questions and this can irk even the most well-meaning doctors; after all they do have a very limited amount of time to spend with each one of their patients.

The Patient’s’ Common Complaint

Of course, that’s not to say he won’t go through the barrage of questions patiently, but there may be definite signs of frustration and irritation in his demeanor too. This doesn’t mean he is attempting to hide any information; it’s nothing more than an indication of his disappointment that the patient hasn’t cared to conduct a basic amount of research on the internet for answers to some of these generic questions.

Ironically, when this occurs, patients are ready to complain and say that the doctors are refusing to answer even very basic and simple questions. No doubt, it’s the doctor’s responsibility to educate his patient, but it’s equally true that patients have to make it their responsibility to be well-informed and not expect the doctor to mollycoddle them. Luckily for current day patients, the Internet is a treasure-house of information and it’s not difficult for them to find credible answers to some basic questions related to infertility and IVF.

Be Well-Informed

However, it’s important for patients to keep in mind that questions that are specific to their circumstances are best answered by their doctors and ideally, these are the ones you should be posing when you go in for a consultation with him. The better your understanding about your problem, the better the quality of your questions; and doctors also respect patients who ask sensible questions.

Good questions are those that pertain to your specific circumstance and it’s important that they be crafted in such a way that the doctor has to provide answers that are actionable, and which help you make better decisions!

An Example

For example one of the commonest questions that patients with low sperm count ask is “Why is my sperm count so low?” From the patient’s viewpoint, this may seem like a logical question; they hope that once we know what the exact problem is, we’ll be better positioned to fix it; after all, diagnosis precedes treatment, doesn’t it?

No doubt, this is a very important question, but the answer isn’t as useful as patients think it will be. The question should be more on the lines of- “I know now that I have low sperm count, what should I do in order to get my wife pregnant?” This question is much more likely to produce concrete solutions that can lead to your desired goal – that of having the baby you want.

Want to know what questions to ask your IVF doctor ? Need help in getting pregnant ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at so that I can guide you better!

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