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Second Opinions: Do Fertility Doctors Mind when You Seek One?

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a blog by Ellen Glazer, July 28, 2011

To read more of Ellen Glazer's Conversations with an Infertility Counselor blogs, CLICK HERE.

“Should we get a second opinion?” This is a question I hear all the time from clients. It is usually followed by, “ I don’t want to upset my doctor. I don’t want he/she to be angry with me for talking with someone else.”

I have no medical training, and so what I am about to say is in no way medical advice….

When people raise the question of a second opinion with me, I always encourage them to seek it. For one thing, there is a reason you are thinking about a second opinion. Either you are anxious about something your fertility doctor advised or did not advise, said or did not say. Or you are about to undertake a fertility treatment that feels like a big move to you or is very costly—you feel good about the decision, but you want someone else’s vote of confidence. Or perhaps you are feeling fine about your fertility treatment, but an infertility buddy just told you about a very helpful second opinion she had. All of these are reasons to have a second opinion. And, of course, there are more.

But what of the question of “insulting” your doctor. When people ask me about this, I always tell them about my experience with this when I worked in a fertility clinic. People would ask me all the time if they could request their records without Dr. So-and-So knowing. When I told Dr. So-and-So that some of his patients were worried about upsetting him, he did become upset. However, he was upset not because they wanted a second opinion, but because they were afraid to tell him this. This is what he said:

    “I always want my patients to get second opnions. I want this for them because I want them to feel confident in my treatment, and if there is something better I could be doing, I surely want to know this. I want them to get second opinions because I learn from their consults and because I respect my colleagues.”

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