This blog addresses various emotional aspects of experiencing infertility. It is written by a clinical psychologist who specializes in infertility counseling. Thank you for reading, and best of luck with your journey!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Top tips for surviving infertility treatment, day seven--be skeptical

One difficult aspect of struggling with infertility is that it can seem like everyone is trying to sell you something.  Whether it is infertility treatment itself, complementary treatments like acupuncture, nutritional supplements, or even mental health services like the ones I provide--someone stands to make a profit from your situation.  Of course, the infertility industry is filled with many well-qualified, well-intentioned practitioners.  Unfortunately, it also contains its share of individuals whose profit motivations may be larger than the benefits they can actually provide, and who aren't above preying on the deep desire their customers have to create a family in order to line their wallets.

This creates a challenge for those experiencing infertility, because they must make treatment and purchasing decisions in an ever-changing, complex and often confusing environment.   Further, they must do so when they are upset, overwhelmed, and exhausted.

For these reasons, I advise my clients to be very careful about the treatment providers they select.  Although the SART clinic success rates aren't perfect at discriminating quality treatment, at this point they are one of the only measures of clinic performance that we have.  Thus, I strongly recommend that clients take them into account when making decisions about treatment providers.  To my mind, going with a clinic with lower success rates and less experience is a decision that has to have a pretty strong justification--stronger than merely liking the doctors in question on a personal level.

Further, I always encourage clients to research their own diagnoses and conditions, and to familiarize themselves with the most recent treatment options.  That way, they have a base of knowledge with which to decide if they feel a treatment recommendation would be a good fit for them.  Clients often worry that they will be perceived by their doctors as "that patient" who questions everything, but in my experience it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.  As long as they are polite and respectful when discussing their concerns, doctors seem to welcome their questions and appreciate their knowledge.

When it comes to choosing other treatment providers, I think again it pays to be a bit skeptical.  Many therapists or acupuncturists advertise themselves as being experts in the area of infertility, but the truth is that some are more expert than others.  Look for clinicians who focus on infertility for a significant percentage of their practice, and get recommendations and referrals from other infertility patients.

Of course, if someone is promising you something that no one else has, and it all seems to good to be true--than I'm afraid it probably is.  Throughout the years, I've come across webpages and emails telling me that if I just paid some money to get the right advice, my infertility problems would be solved quickly and easily.  I think it is especially important to be skeptical of offers like these.  Also, if someone is offering services at a rate much lower than other practitioners in the area, I would also be very cautious about choosing that route.

I hope you have had a wonderful weekend.  I will be back tomorrow with another tip for surviving infertility treatment.


  1. This is a lesson that I have learned the hard way, and I'm still learning. 5 years into this journey I'm realizing that there is a ton of room for "professional judgement" and that two doctors can look at the same study and form vastly different opinions from it.

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