Do you sometimes wonder if the IVF statistics you are quoted represent you?
Do you ask yourself if you’re getting personalised treatment that appreciates who you are, not just your age & AMH?
I do. I wonder sometimes, if I “fit” the model that has been designed to treat infertility.
As I’ve moved through the machine of “Fertility Treatment” I have become cannier, more confident and better able to fight my corner. I just wrote those words and immediately felt aggrieved – why should I need to fight my corner? Who am I fighting, exactly? The fight could be with anyone or anything – the IVF industry, your partner, your own head, your doctor…
Something I’m learning while navigating my own path is this – I know my body better than anyone.
I expect you do too. It can take years to really get to know your body, to listen closely and hear whatever it is telling you. Not everyone listens this way, but I do and you do. So, perhaps the protocol your doctor is recommending is not, in fact, the best one for you. Perhaps she doesn’t know your history and your cycle as well as you do. Perhaps your gut feeling is bang on the money.
I’m pretty sure some of the advice I’ve been given and drug protocols I’ve been on have not been appropriate for me. I’m not looking for someone to blame for this. Rather, I see our situation (and possibly yours) as an opportunity to improve the relationship we have with the medical team my husband and I are trusting with this precious process. I want to feel safe & respected in asking all the questions we have, of the people with the best medical knowledge, so that we can choose the next best step. We are told over & over again that the choice is ours, so isn’t it time to be part of the conversation?
I’m inviting you to join me and consider how to be your own best fertility advocate. Ask yourself, “How can I be part of the team? How can I communicate my needs so they are really heard?”
I know you’re not a doctor. You’re not an endocrinologist or a gynaecologist. You’re not intimately familiar with the research on Gonal-F versus Menopur. You don’t have hundreds or even thousands of IVF cycles under your belt. It’s really easy to believe that disqualifies you from contributing to the decision making process, that your opinion doesn’t count. I’m here to tell you it does, because you’re not just a number. You’re not just a statistic. The intimate understanding of your own body is something only you can bring to the conversation.
I know it’s scary sometimes, to slow things down and keep asking questions. It can feel like you’re running out of time. I promise, there is always time to ask more questions and get clarity. The medical team you’re working with are humans, just like you and want your treatment to be a success. If you have questions, or you need more information before you can make a decision, stop and ask for a time-out. You need it and the process will only benefit if you’re more confident about the decisions being made.
I’d love to hear about your experience of working with your fertility clinic or hospital. Do you feel heard? Do you always get answers to the questions you have? Have you chosen to move clinic because you have been unhappy with the dynamic? Has that worked for you? Share in the comments below or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.