Our journey through infertility, failed adoptions and now parenthood through the miracle of embryo adoption/donation.

Monday, November 5, 2012

an open letter to all RE's

Dear Dr. RE,

I wanted to take this moment to thank you for the work that you do. Without all of you many of us would never have the opportunity to even try to have a baby. The advancements in reproductive medicine are amazing and people like you make this possible. But, as in any field of expertise, there is the tendency to become far removed for the common man. I want to take a few minutes to share with you what it is like to be on our side of things.

When we come in for that first consultation we are usually a bit scared. We already know that something is wrong but we are hoping that it will be a simple fix. This is denial. We all do it. It protects us from ugly truth that you are about to share with us. So be kind. Be gentle. This is scary! We know that you are busy and important but don't rush through our appointments. Allow plenty of time to answer our questions and assure us that you care, even if you don't. We don't need to be coddled, just respected.

See us as people, not dollar signs. Don't try to push more expensive procedure just because it lines your pockets. And the same is try if we really do need IVF, please don't push us to do several IUIs when you know that we will be wasting our money. Be honest with us and give us the facts. We know you are not God and cannot determine with certainty what will work or not, but give us your best estimation. Remember, we are not made of money. The majority of your patients cannot just write out a check for IVF. Most of us have to work overtime, sell items, do fundraisers, mortgage our homes and even our retirements. We put everything on the line for just this one chance. And while we are talking money, have you considered reevaluating your prices? Maybe offer cash discounts? Or a sliding scale based upon income? Do you accept leftover medications and donate them to patients that need it? What about a referral discount? Also, make us aware of any resources available that could save us some money. We expect to pay for your services and to pay well. We don't have an issue with this so much as how outrageous these services can be at times. It often restricts us from being able to proceed. Please consider this when deciding on what to charge.

Your staff is one of the most important facets of your clinic. A beautiful waiting room, fancy lights and soft music are nice, but not nearly as important as an efficient staff. It should not take days to get a return call from a nurse. Prices should be explained clearly. Be kind when we call or sign in. Fax records or reports as soon as possible. Be clear with instructions. And don't get upset when we need to ask you to clarify something. This is new to us and we don't always understand. If you do not use emails to communicate, consider it. This allows us to ask our questions and your staff to communicate when they have a moment. And one of the most important things is to show compassion when telling us that our pregnancy test came back negative. Those words shatter our hearts into a million pieces. All of that time and money was for nothing. Please remember that when sharing this news.

These are just a few things that we, as patients,  hope to share with you. I am sure that some of my readers will add their thoughts as well. We are hoping to expand our families not have elective plastic surgery. No, we do not "have" to have a baby, this is not a life threatening disease, but it is something that we feel to our very core, that need to procreate. Your compassion and understanding is much appreciated.

Thank you,
Infertiles everywhere


  1. I was so very very lucky to have the most wonderful RE and his staff was even better. But I have heard about many others who did not have the same experience and that makes me very sad. I really do hope the fertile world and Drs in general understand the affect of infertility on a couple and a woman. I was more than happy to pay out of pocket for my treatments as they were not covered by insurance.....but I was among the lucky who could afford it and our RE did his best to keep costs in line. I have been hearing about more and more policies offering enough coverage for a full IVF and meds and I am happy to see that but there is still much improvement needed. Starting with RE's is a great place and you letter hits on so many great points. I hope this makes it around the blogospere.

  2. Wow. This was helpful for me to read. I'm a guy. I've worked in foster care and adoptions for several years, but a few years ago was diagnosed with cancer, which ultimately led to infertility treatments (and finally to embryo adoption, actually; we're in process and planning for our first implantation in January). I'm so glad I found your blog.

    Your letter was great, too. Our first RE was pretty much a mess. Dirty examination room, pretty insensitive, and I noticed when he met me the second time, he looked up at my wife and I, and called her by my name. Sure, I have a unisex name... but he'd already met me once. I also noticed that the file in front of him was for a different client. Really discouraging experience. The second RE was nice, but super-expensive.

    The Embryo adoption agency we used felt much better; less business, more human.

    I'll enjoy following your blog.

  3. Hey gal, AF here yet?? Looking forward to things moving ahead for you : )


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