The relationship you have with your reproductive endocrinologist is critical! Being treated for infertility is an emotionally intense situation. Trusting your RE and keeping the lines of communication open with her and her staff is crucial.
Obstacles are sure to arise from emotional issues and expectations on both the part of the patient and the part of the doctor. Don’t be afraid to question authority or hurt anyone’s feelings by considering going to a different doctor altogether.
I’ve had two reproductive endocrinologists. My first was a referral from my OB-GYN and I liked her very much, but when our second attempt at IVF didn’t work and she didn’t have any concrete answers, I was desperate for a second opinion. I was also nervous about how to let her know we were going a different route. In the end she was professional and bid us good luck with a promise to let her know how our journey ends.
A fresh perspective
Another set of trained eyes on my medical history; a fresh perspective was just what I needed. The new doctor took the time to gather all of my medical records from two previous OB-GYNs and the first RE and discovered that I had never had a recurrent miscarriage work-up, a panel of tests used to rule out serious conditions such as infectious diseases, anti-cardiolipin antibodies, thyroid problems, etc.
I had never been an infertility patient before and was still learning the terminology and right questions to ask. While my issues in conceiving remain “unexplained” to this day, I realized I needed a doctor that was going to be invested in me.
My second and current reproductive endocrinologist was a referral from a friend. My friend (and others I now know of) had success with her and surely I will too… eventually.
More than having a comforting bedside manner, I believe your RE should be invested in your particular case, your health, your body and your desire to conceive a child. You also need to be able to really talk to your RE and never feel as though you’re wasting her time or asking a stupid question. Statistics and success rates are also important and should be made available upon request.
If the thought of getting a second opinion or having a consultation with a new RE has crossed your mind, it can poison a good doctor-patient relationship and you should act upon it by either making an appointment with a different doctor or having a very frank conversation with your current one.
Serena H. Chen, director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey says, “I think it is critical to have no regrets. A second opinion never hurts and a good physician will never resent a patient who seeks one — in fact the physician should support it.”
Chen goes on to explain, “You cannot take care of a patient that does not feel comfortable with you and if you are on the right track and the relationship can work, a second opinion usually will strengthen the original doctor-patient relationship. If it does not — it was not meant to be and both the patient and the RE are better off ending a relationship that for whatever reason was not working.”
Chen says that medical professionals are used to working in a land of second, third and fourth opinions. “It is difficult having so much competition but I think it makes our practice stronger, keeps us on our toes and ultimately serves our patients better.”
Patient choice is a good thing and you should exercise your right to have the very best RE for you.
To find a reproductive specialist, please visit the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.