Still Not Pregnant? Time For a Second Opinion!

Doctor ConsultationKnowing When the Time is Right

If you’ve been a patient at a fertility clinic for some time and have not yet become pregnant, it is likely time for you to get a second opinion. Fertility clinics diverge in their cultures and attitudes, their approaches to treatment, and their ability to help patients achieve their goal of becoming parents. Changing your focus can often mean the difference between whether you will or will not have a baby.

Remember That You Have a Professional Relationship With Your Doctor

That said, if you are feeling reluctant, I can understand why. Many of the fertility doctors I know are kind, compassionate and sincere people who are deeply invested in helping their patients become parents. You may feel a strong sense of gratitude for the care and devotion you have received and not want to seem ungrateful for the efforts that have been made on your behalf. I sympathize completely, but you must not lose sight of the fact that your relationship with your doctor is a professional one. It is important that you not allow a fear of “insulting” your doctor prevent you from owning the process and taking “smart” steps in your quest to form your family. The stakes are high and this must remain at the forefront of your decision-making process at all times.

In a Perfect World, How Should Your Doctor React?

Besides, you might be surprised by how your physician will react. If your doctor is professional and confident that you have been the recipient of excellent care (as she should be), she may support your desire to seek another opinion and even encourage it. She may look forward to hearing what a respected colleague has to say about your case. On the one hand, the second opinion may affirm her approach. Alternatively, it may offer her the chance to see your situation from a different vantage point.

If Your Doctor Does Not Support Your Desire to Get a Second Opinion

If your doctor discourages you from seeking a second opinion, do not be deterred and consider it a red flag. Seeking a second opinion is not a betrayal of your doctor. If she makes you feel as though it is, and does not respect or support your investigative approach to treatment, she is behaving unprofessionally and, simply put, she is not a good fit for you.

How to Tell Your Doctor You Want a Second Opinion Without Burning a Bridge

Once you have made a decision to seek a second opinion, arrange an appointment with your doctor to tell her face to face. If you are told that you will be unable to see her for more than a week or two, do not wait. Instead, communicate with her by explaining your decision in writing. Emphasize how grateful you are for all of her efforts on your behalf, and make a point of expressly stating that you have not lost confidence in her or in her clinic. Articulate that since you have been unable to conceive despite all of her efforts, you have come to realize that you are “a difficult case”, and think it might be wise to have a fresh pair of eyes review your records. Include her in your process by asking her to suggest colleagues at other fertility clinics who she respects and admires so that you can include them in the list of physicians you are considering conferring with.

Requesting Your Medical Records

Request a copy of your file, to which you are entitled, and offer to pay reasonable administrative fees to cover the clerical time and effort that will be involved in putting the copy together. If you have already arranged a specific time for your second opinion consultation, inform your physician of its date and ask to have a copy of your file in hand one week prior. This should give you enough time to scan your file into PDF format, transmit it to the doctor from whom you will be seeking a second opinion, and allow him enough time to study your records in advance of your consultation.

Choose Your “Second Opinion” Wisely

I have had occasion to seek the opinion of multiple physicians on behalf of a single client and I am always fascinated by how differently they assess the same case, and by the different approaches they propose to take. With each consultation, you will learn something new and valuable, provided that you choose to speak with a doctor who is scientifically oriented, respected among his peers, and who practises with integrity and the best interests of his patients in mind at all times.

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