I am guessing that all fertility clinics are different. Some are better than others. So far, I don’t have any real complaints about ours. They seem competent. The thing that gets me are the comments that are made. They come from everyone: the Drs, nurses, and “sperm handlers” (not sure what to call the people who flip and twirl the sperm).
Right after our first IUI was done I asked the Dr. a question about the next time we come for an IUI. His response “Oh, there won’t be a next time. This will work.” Great. Thanks Doc. Nothing like creating unreasonably high expectations for a procedure that has less than a 10% chance of working!!!
The most recent example happened this morning. We were in for our 5th IUI and the “sperm handler” came in and said something along the lines of: “It’s a busy day today. Everyone must be ovulating. You should take a look at your neighbours in the waiting room because you will be seeing each other again in the delivery room 9 months from now”. Yes, because that is how it works. I am no mathematician, but I am pretty sure that 10 couples doing a procedure that ranges around a 10% success rate (depending of course, on whether they are on clomid or some other drug) does not = 10 couples getting pregnant. I think the sperm handler should recheck her math before spouting off such gibberish!
Now, I know they are all well-meaning. They are trying to give us hope. It’s all about staying positive, right? What they don’t understand is that hope can be a dangerous word in the fertility world. There are a lot of great infertility books out there that talk about the role of hope and how it is what keeps us going each month. If we didn’t have hope we wouldn’t be going through all of this. The problem that fertility patients face (IMHO) is trying to manage that hope. Not letting it take a hold too deeply so that if/when the next period comes we are a little less devastated. In my mind, it is a defense mechanism. As wonderful as hope is, it needs a leash, otherwise you will end up chasing it off a cliff.
So, when MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS say things that amount to a guarantee that “this time will work” it creates totally unrealistic expectations. Even if intellectually you know what your odds truly are, it is hard not to internalize those comments. Instead of thinking “this might work” you are left thinking “this will work”. Hope is running away and you are left frantically chasing after it.
From attending fertility support group meetings I know that everyone views and deals with hope differently. One woman stated that she lets herself get lost in the hope because she knows she will be devastated regardless. So why not enjoy the 2 week wait full of hope? I’d be interested to hear other peoples thoughts on this topic. Does reigning in hope during the 2 week wait help cushion the blow or is the blow going to be just as hard regardless of how much hope you hold on to?