Thursday, March 15, 2012

Who To Trust And Hospital Big Business

The doctor at my clinic is not only a fertility specialist, he's a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). An RE is trained to specifically evaluate and treat hormonal dysfunctions as it pertains to infertility. Typically a vital doctor to have on your side when dealing with PCOS.

We all know hospitals and fertility clinics are BIG business. This clinic specifically is a member of Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART). Being a SART member means the clinic reports everything, participates in specific protocols and is regulated by the FDA.  I didn't think much of it at first, but the longer I've had to process things, the more concerned I become. Why does there need to be governmental interference in this process?  What is the advantage to the patient by using a SART clinic?

If things on my end look so good and they can't guarantee that my husband's issues are causing our losses, then what's the deal?  Why the big rush to the most expensive option? At our first appointment before they had conducted any tests of their own, they handed us a 3" binder filled with IVF information. It was quite obvious where their focus was.

I have researched all of the results I had access to.  I also found many of my results were not even posted to my online portal, even though ALL test results are supposed to appear there. That's when I began to find that what they were calling "good", weren't necessarily big-picture good.  The Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test can be done at any point in your cycle and while it can't tell the quality of your eggs, it can measure quantity. Results between 5 and 15 are considered normal.  I am 34 and started my cycle early in age so I expected to have come back with a lower than typical number, but him saying my results at a 3.73 were "good" was misleading. In terms of a normal woman's fertility, those results are low.

When I found a document in the big binder giving what their acceptable range of results were, the light bulb went off.  I was at the very high end of acceptable in their book for nearly all of the results I've actually been able to see. Just because I fit in those IVF-able numbers, it means there is nothing wrong with me?  Of course it doesn't. To them, it only means I'm a candidate for IVF.  They don't actually care what my numbers look like in terms of my health or ability to have a child without intervention.  They don't care that I'm ovulating on my own. They don't care really what my body is doing naturally at all- they have meds for that.  I truly believe I'm only a statistic to them and their main concern is how I will contribute to their reporting. A cynical way to look at things? Perhaps. But, it makes complete sense to me.

I think it's a rare thing to find a doctor you truly like and trust.  You always need to have your eyes open and be sure of what they're telling you. Second opinions and research are vital. Right now, my biggest concern is staying pregnant. All of the injecting of good sperm in my eggs mean nothing if I can't stay pregnant. I would be totally monitored, which is great, but can't I just be monitored by doing this on our own? 

So, I've decided I'm going to take this all back to my OB. He originally referred us because of my husband's issues, but now I want him to take a look. And, if he won't, I'll find someone who will.


  1. Totally agree Andrea! All my RE wanted to do was prescribe me stuff and look into fertility options. My OB was in no way surprised when we were able to do it on our own. She looked at my numbers and was able to give me a more realistic idea of our possibilities when I saw her last summer. She was really helpful and a lot more friendly/approachable than the RE was. At least I don't feel like she's out to nickel and dime us, you know?

    Good luck with everything! I've been thinking about you!

  2. I had the same type of issue last spring! My OB was also the Infertility Specialist, and she wouldn't do anything for us unless we went through the Infertility Clinic; which was $4k!!! So I found a new OB who let us try Clomid without a ton of other required expenses. It was fantastic! I hope that you get everything figured out in your favor!!! <3

    P.S. I nominated you for a few awards on my blog :-) Check it out if you get the chance...