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The Parents Via Egg Donation Organization: Should Your Reproductive Endocrinologist Be Required To Have A Good Beside Manner?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Should Your Reproductive Endocrinologist Be Required To Have A Good Beside Manner?

I receive lots of emails daily from women all over the world either singing praises or shaking their heads at their Reproductive Endocrinologists. For every negative email I receive about poor patient care I receive two emails that say nice, encouraging and all around positive things about their RE and clinic.

Which leads me to the title of this post -- Should Your Reproductive Endocrinologist Be Required To Have A Good Beside Manner?

Let’s face it, by the time you find yourself sitting in an RE’s office most women are feeling hopeless, defective, out of sorts and simply overwhelmed. They want what millions of other women in the world have – a baby. When we as patients are sitting across a big desk from our RE’s we realize they have all the power. We are going to be paying them thousands of dollars and literally putting our reproductive lives in their hands in the hope that we have a child. Gone is any bit of control we might have had – from the time we meet our RE, are thrust into an intimate relationship (don’t kid yourselves, you might not think this is intimate, but by the time you are finished your RE there will be no secrets about your health, or your parts – it’s just the way it is.). The testing has begun, the blood is being taken, the drugs are commencing. Our lives revolve around appointments, blood draws, drugs and calendars.

The hoop jumping is utterly amazing.

So what’s the expectation from our Reproductive Endocrinologists? In a perfect world we would forge a relationship with our RE’s – perhaps even a bond. This man or woman is going to hopefully place a child in our arms if everything goes as planned. Our physician we hope is going to listen to our concerns, be sensitive to our needs, and more importantly partner with us through this process supporting us along the way.

In a perfect world maybe. In the real world – that’s not how it always works.

To be fair – I have met a lot of RE’s who are wonderful. They do listen, they do care, the outcome in important to them – and not just for statistical purposes. They really do want you to have a shot at being a parent and at the end of the day they want what’s best for you. Their staff is kind, patient, and informative. They make the experience half way endurable.

But there are those RE’s who plainly lack tact. Their staff needs lessons in politeness 101, and what HIPAA really means. And herein lies the question – should our physicians be required to be nice? Technically they are service providers. Expensive ones -- but service providers none the less. Many of us are cleaning out our life savings, cashing in our 401K’s, borrowing from friends, family, the bank, putting a second or third mortgage on our home. All for the sake of having a child – something we should be able to do naturally – but for one reason or the other we can’t. Our money pays their staff, their mortgages, car payments, vacations to the exotic places, nice bottles of wine, and perhaps even their own children’s college educations.

We turn not only our money over to these folks but our control, and our livelihood, and in return even if the process doesn’t work we’d like to be treated with respect and concern. We don’t want to be looked at as crazy because we bring up something that bothers us or makes us uncomfortable. We don’t want to be made to feel stupid or inept because we ask for clarification regarding information we don’t understand. We certainly don’t want to be known as the crazy patient or the difficult patient because we request that our needs be met. And for those of us that miscarry after going through all of the above we’d like our physician to at least say “I am so sorry let’s make an appointment soon to talk about your cycle, what happened, and where we can go from here.” We don’t want to hear our physicians sigh at us, interrupt us, cut us off mid-sentence, we want for them to listen to what we are saying to them. We don’t want to hear them roll their eyes at us as we try to explain how we are feeling. We’d like to be comforted in some small way.

Above all we want respect. The same respect we give to them.

Is that too much to ask?

What do you all think?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This wasn't an RE but it was the gynecologist that removed one of my ovaries (that had a giant dermoid cyst attached to it). I asked him about children. He said, "you will never have children." Period. That's it. Nothing else. Did not suggest seeing an RE. Did not say anything else. Just closed the door on everything.

I cried.

October 23, 2008 at 12:27 PM  

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