Get Clucky!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Hey, did everybody see this?

My mom--only newly clued in to my fertility woes--sent me this link after seeing the author interviewed on the Today show.

Child Magazine has done the first non-cdc evaluation of infertility clinics. You can get the full text here.

This doesn't directly help me, since none of the clinics they pick as the "best" are in my area. But I found it interesting to read through the reviews, because it gave me a since of what to look for, what to ask. And also, really, a bigger sense of how weird and secretive the whole industy is.

Something I was reading the otherday encouraged me (well, the reader) to remember that infertility clinics are business--and that the doctors are probably the ones who are making money off the business. So it's important to remember that their judgement might be a little biased--and that, while they have a lot of incentive to reccommend proceedures to you, they have no real incentive to think about your quality of life, or about why it might be better for you to slow down, take care of yourself and your relationship, etc.


  • Hmmm, well, I'm going to play devil's advocate a little bit here. My mom is an RE nurse, and she's been with State University IVF Clinic for nearly 20 years now, since the opening of the program. The embryologist comes to all of our family holiday dinners, and I used to babysit the director's kids when I was a teenager. I've had a perspective on the business end of IVF a long time before I ever thought that it might possibly apply to, you know, me. Now, it's true that SUIVF is a program of the State University's medical center/teaching hospital, rather than a private for-profit clinic, and maybe that changes things. However, the biggest motive I see for the doctors at my mom's clinic isn't profit so much as success.

    The pregnancy rates in particular are a Really Big Deal, as are the CDC inspections. SUIVF's rates took a downturn six months or so back, and it was really just hellish for my mom -- doctors rode the nurses hard, the embryologist worried herself sick, and it was generally just stressful for everyone until the rates went back up again. Likewise, prepping for their latest CDC inspection was a major ordeal for weeks and weeks in advance. Sure, some of that's because it's published, and it affects their potential clientele. More than that, though, I've gotten the sense (and had doctors say as much to me) that every pregnancy, and every live birth, is looked at as a victory, and that that's what keeps everyone motivated. Likewise, they tend to take it personally when things aren't going well, especially when they're convinced that they know just what to do to fix it.

    One of the doctors said to me the other day, when I was chit-chatting with my mom in the hall at the clinic, "don't worry, we can make you pregnant, no matter what". I definitely got the sense that to him, I *was* my infertility, a problem to be solved, and that he'd want to jump in and start tinkering. I don't say that negatively -- he's motivated to fix things, an impulse I understand, and it makes him good at what he does. However, I know that if it comes to that, it's going to be up to me to assess the intangibles you mention that don't directly contribute to the goal of Getting Emma Pregnant ASAP.

    By Blogger Emma B., at 3:21 PM  

  • I just read your ferning mucus post. What a hoot! I can just hear the lady now....

    Very interesting post on the fertility clinics. It makes you wonder when a clinic has twice the number of the national average of success if they are all reporting the same way. I work for a college in fundraising and I know for a fact that every college counts their numbers differently. So when US News and World Report rates each college, it's not always coming from the same base.

    That's one problem I've been running into lately regarding the health industry - STANDARDS. They need to set firm standards for tests and procedures. My current clinic is so antiquated with the numbers that it had me worried about the hubs SA when it was actually ok and now, I'm worried about my thyroid because the 'normal' they had listed, is not, in fact, normal anymore!


    By Blogger Dooneybug, at 6:09 PM  

  • Read through the article - really interesting! It's cool to see how much research is going on in this arena.

    I have to agree with Emma, I really haven't gotten the sense from my clinic that they're in it for the money. I do feel sometimes like their natural thing is to just follow their standard protocol which isn't necessarily the way to go with the HA (e.g. another RE I went to for a second opinion said that if I were to take gonadotropins I should definitely take FSH *and* LH - the clinic originally was going to put me just on gonal-F (FSH) until I questioned it...), but they did tell me last week not to have an ultrasound and just get blood drawn while we were waiting to see if I had responded.

    By Blogger Nico, at 6:46 PM  

  • All these points are -so- well taken. My thought, I guess, is not so much that any particular person is not committed or sincere, but that in general the system could use some work.

    Of course, my thoughts on fertility clinics are based on what I've read and my experiences in normal offices and how corporitized they've become (I actually had a long conversation about this the other day with the technician who drew my blood--she said in the 40 yrs that she'd been a nurse, the medical industry had become much more of an industry). As you folks know, I haven't yet had first-hand infertility clinic experience!

    So I promise to be open minded. But I guess I think it's also important to think through things before hand, so you retain a strong sense of yourself once you get caught up in larger systems. Does that make sense?

    By Blogger AltMama, at 7:07 AM  

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