Archive for the ‘National Infertility Awareness Week’ Category
I sit here wondering what I can write about that others will not already be commenting on during this very busy and important National Infertility Awareness Week for those traveling the infertility journey. But after over 20 years of taking care of tens of thousands of patients, I have developed a few philosophical perspectives and “rules of the road” and I want to share with you.
Don’t Wait Until All Your Ducks Are in a Row
First, a woman’s ability to conquer the world does not necessarily transfer to conquering the biologic clock that endlessly ticks forward. My IVF patients already are arriving at my doorstep at an average age of close to 37, which puts them at a significant disadvantage. If I could encourage young women to do anything, it would be to try to start their families earlier. If they wait to have all their “ducks in a row,” they may never see their little ducklings.
Hollywood is rife with women conceiving late in life, but they rarely tell anyone that they used donated eggs, not that it is our business. Please, I implore women around the world to have their children sooner and not depend on our modestly advanced technologies to prevail when nature argues differently.
Seek Knowledge Sooner Rather Than Later
Second, if you are having problems conceiving, see a knowledgeable local reproductive endocrinologist sooner rather than later. Don’t be pressured to start a more intensive evaluation or procedures one day earlier than you are ready but seek knowledge sooner. Obtain an opinion from someone you trust to see where you stand and to get a glimpse into your reproductive future. At the risk if alienating some referring physicians, do not be satisfied with seeing general OB/GYN physicians or Urologists to seek solid information should problems be found. Knowledge is power; obtain it quickly with experts who live and breath your issues each and every day.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Unknown
Third, don’t be afraid of what you might find. Take a deep breath and learn the truth. I see far too many patients that fear for too long, only to find out their fears were incorrect, or that their delay significantly impaired their overall chances for success while inadvertently increasing their costs to succeed. Be brave, find support and gain knowledge quickly. Do not be afraid. This is absolutely directed at both the male and female patients.
I will leave it up to RESOLVE and many other organizations to do what they do best: organizing patients to speak with one united voice during this very important week. During this week of attention, a philosophical perspective may really be of some benefit hopefully heard among the din of all the other conversations.
Infertility is a journey and what journey should start without a few rules of the road?
Craig R. Sweet, M.D.
Founder, Embryo Donation International
Medical & Laboratory Director