Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Light at the end of the tunnel: The gift of hope

 Hello there, we are just another couple like you, battling with infertility for several years now but still hopeful to have our own baby !

Where we were a year back ?

In the fertility medical ecosystem, where incentives do not seem aligned with patient welfare and there’s commercialization of patient care, it has been quite a task to assess the experience and capability of infertility specialists. There is lack of reliable sources for patients to gain more insight in the problem – the internet is crowded with advertising/promotional content on IVF and unverified blog posts about treatment choices.
What could have been a straightforward diagnosis, it took us many doctor visits in India and abroad to finally fully comprehend our fertility situation.

We are going through our first IVF cycle after multiple failed IUI cycles. To be honest, the journey so far has not been easy. Social pressures and stigmas associated with going in for an infertility treatment made us extremely unsure, low about ourselves and question our faith in god.

There was too much reluctance on our part towards taking such heavy medication (injections !!!) and facing the perceived side effects. The anxiety about not having any guarantee of the treatment outcomes has been quite humongous. We were constantly looking for the comfort of trust that we will not be taken for a ride for making money by IVF clinics.

In fact, we felt the stress on all dimensions – social, emotional, financial, physical and even spiritual !

What changed ? 

A business assignment in Mumbai and some searching on the internet, got me to Dr. Malpani’s clinic in Colaba. A quaint peaceful home like setting with melodious Bollywood songs playing in the background that didn’t feel like a clinic! We saw smiling doctor and nurses who looked as if they genuinely care for our well-being and share the dream of our parenthood.

While a lot of clinics offered us the same treatment at competitive prices, we think where IVF treatments really differ across clinics is their approach and sensitivity towards patient’s state of mind. Meeting Dr. Malpani was like meeting a counsellor. His first piece of advice was that “I will not advice you ! I will help you make the right treatment choices”.

I still remember the animated image of an infertile couple in his clinic waiting area – a picture that was worth a thousand words. It was all about the social and emotional aspect of going in for a fertility treatment – It talked about how the partners should support each other, be patient and turn a deaf ear to what others are saying in the fertility treatment process.

A lot of this we already know somewhere deep inside but we are too stressed and emotional about what’s happening to think logically. His constant assurance and reminders help you deal with this pressure.
Like any other couple, we were also too emotionally stressed and not able to think clearly. That’s where Dr. Malpani introduced us to something called as “Information Therapy”. He encouraged us to read a lot about the treatment online, through credible books – which helped us to be more emotionally stable by logically counteracting every fear or concern. Prompt email responses to even our stupidest query - any time of the day, kept so much stress at bay.

In the process, we realized that having the right Information and knowledge help you keep your emotions in check and have more reasonable expectations from the entire treatment process.

Dr. Malpani’s clinic provided information in simple language and not littered with medical terms – the IVF cartoon strip takes away the stress from the process! It’s for everyone to consume and become more informed.

How can it help you ?

Going through the IVF cycle, which we never planned to do due to my unsubstantiated fears, we feel obligated to share our experience with all other couples dreaming of having a baby of their own.
Other couples can also benefit from Information therapy and counselling by Dr. Malpani. It will help you ask the right informed questions to keep stress and your fear at bay, keep your expectations in check and be able to make informed choices in light of uncertainty.

And most importantly, it will help in keeping your calm during the entire process and hoping to see light at the end of the tunnel !

Wishing you all the best for a journey filled with light of hope and knowledge !

Mrs. & Mr. Gupta

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