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How High Can You Hope?

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a blog by Gina Paoletti-Falcone, RN, BSN, October 1, 2010

I read a post today that really hit home with the juggling act we all become a part of during fertility treatments. A woman wrote that she has just started taking lupron for her first IVF cycle.

I could almost feel her hopefulness and excitement. Many patients approach new treatment plans with that eager anticipation that this will be it, the thing that makes it happen, the answer to their prayers … pregnancy, a baby.

Doctors and nurses hope that for their patients, too, and yet we know that even in the best case scenarios, patients who should get pregnant sometimes

That’s just the ugly reality. And we feel that it is our moral and ethical obligation to tell patients that up front as we try to set the stage for all the possible outcomes — good and bad.

But I understand her frustration. She has high hopes, and yet her RE, acupuncturist, counselor and other patients have all told her that first IVF cycles often don’t work and can be viewed as a test cycle or a “trial.” She goes on to say “I don’t want a trial, I want a baby.”

So here’s the rub, how high can you hope? How do you balance optimism and reality? Seriously, why would anyone ever subject themselves to an IVF cycle if they didn’t think they had a chance for a baby? So why is everyone focusing on the negative outcome?

I understand that it’s all part of the process called “informed consent,” letting patients know the odds. I have been in situations when I have tried to imagine how I would feel with the positive outcome and then with the negative outcome. It’s an exercise in self-preservation, preparing for the worst. But do we really believe that knowing that bad things can happen cushions our fall and makes it any easier to accept when they do?

So I have all my fingers and all my toes crossed for her. I am sending positive karma her way. And I will be on the lookout for her upcoming posts and hope that in six weeks she is writing about her positive pregnancy test.

Because we all deserve to have high hopes ...

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Comments (1)

A nice, compelling piece, Gina, with a very important message. Informed consent is an integral part of the IVF process. We cannot guarantee 100% results. But, there is always the need to hope that the first time will be the charm and in many cases, it is. We are our patients biggest cheerleaders!

Unfortunately, after the embryo is transferred into the patient's uterus, Mother Nature & fate take over. At that point we have little control over the results. Even with women who do not have fertility issues the rate of miscarriage is about even when you are trying "naturally" it doesn't always work. So, for those women who have great looking embryos and do not get pregnant with the first IVF cycle, we always wonder WHY? It stymies us to no end...but statistics show that more than one IVF cycle usually brings success, so we need to try to keep our patient positive and help them acheive their goal of a family if they choose to try again.

Will be sharing your insight on our FB page!

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