for Doctors

Infertility Etiquette: Doctors

  • Send information packets to your patient’s prior to their visit, explaining medical terms, procedures and treatments.
  • Infertility is difficult, be sensitive to the fact that the patient/couple before you is hearing this possibly for the first time.
  • Respond in a timely manner, if your patient is kept waiting for a lengthy time, please apologize.
  • Your patients are people, not just another number, statistic or paycheck.
  • While the patient is under your medical care, be personable and passionate.
  • Treat your patient not as a classic textbook case, but as an individual.
  • You, as a medical professional, be prepared before meeting with your patient. Read over the chart before entering the exam room, reviewing previous visits and any requests.
  • Knock before entering the exam room, introduce self, make eye contact, have proper identification on and smile.
  • Speak slowly; listen intently.
  • Respond and explain diagnosis, procedures, treatments and prognosis in layman’s terms, not medical terminology.
  • Display empathy when giving test results.
  • Please don’t rush out of the room, make sure your patient’s questions are answered. Provide contact info for yourself or for your nurse in case they have further questions for you.  Respond in a timely manner.
  • A personal call from you, as a physician, to your patient shows that you are concerned and care.  Consider making some calls.
  • Remain positive when relaying a diagnosis or prognosis.  Never tell your patient that “it is impossible”.
  • With Assisted Reproductive Technology procedures take into account your patient’s religious and ethical beliefs.  Do not use fear to persuade your patient into a procedure that is against their wishes or standards.
  • For your patients that are on fertility medications to increase their follicle count. If there is only one egg developing and your patient’s life is not in danger, allow the couple to make the decision to cancel the cycle.  It only takes one egg and one sperm to conceive a baby.
  • For your patients going through an Assisted Reproductive Technology procedure, please be considerate.  This may be their one and only chance for due to finances and time constraints.
  • Consider the fact that infertility affects couples emotionally, socially, and financially.  Your expertise and tender care during this time can make their experience more tolerable.
  • How are you supporting your patient psychologically/emotionally? Have on hand a list of local infertility support groups to provide to your patients.
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