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When African American Women Should Break Up with Their OB/GYN

Find a fertility doctor

a blog by J. Kendall “Kenny” Smalls, February 15, 2012

It has been perceived that once an African American woman, and I guess most women, find a good OB/GYN, she is loyal to a fault at times. The amount of trust you place in your OB/GYN is sometimes more than the trust you place in your own spouse. You can be so accepting of what the OB/GYN says that it can actually be looked upon as blind trust. This relationship can begin in your teens and proceed throughout your reproductive years. The level of trust that is built up between the two of you is extremely important and will be used to build a comfort level between your body and the physician. This is fine if you are not looking to extend your family. However, if you are trying to build a family, and you are not getting the proper care you need, then it’s time to break up with your OB/GYN.

I’m quite sure you’ve broken up with people before and it’s pretty much the same thing, just not as messy. It goes a little like this, “I’m breaking up with you. It’s not you … it’s me." What you need is a fertility doctor, also known as a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). Perhaps your OB/GYN can actually refer you to a good one. If he/she cannot send you to a fertility doctor, then it is time to leave him/her. An RE specializes in fertility treatments and is perhaps better suited to help you through your journey towards family building.

Some clinicians may feel that it’s wrong that an OB/GYN may try to treat their patients themselves by just administrating intrauterine Inseminations (IUIs) over and over again, which can be time consuming and wasteful. With some OB/GYNs the selling point is, IUIs are relatively inexpensive when compared to In vitro fertilization procedures that can cost you thousands of dollars. However, the success rates of IUI are under 20 percent, and at $350 to $500 per IUI procedure, this can slowly become almost as expensive as an IVF procedure over time. OB/GYNs often tell their patients they need a few IUI procedures, maybe two or three, which is true. However, you don’t need to do seven or eight. I know this cannot be placed solely on the OB/GYN; it is partly your fault too. If you tell your OB/GYN you can’t afford IVF procedures, naturally he/she is not going to refer you to a fertility doctor. So if you wonder why he/she is not letting you progress any further, this could be the reason why.

Realistically, if you are a normal healthy female, in all aspects you should get pregnant within six months to a year after you’ve been off birth control without fertility treatments. On the other hand, if you are doing small treatments (IUI or sometimes herbal treatments for fertility), and pregnancy is not achieved after one year, then breakup with your OB/GYN and see an RE. In any event, don’t waste time, especially if you are a little older (35+ years old). The amount of time spent doing an IUI should be short lived or nonexistent. It’s recommended that you go straight to IVF.

Unlike a normal relationship, once you break up with your OB/GYN you can tell them you will be back after you’ve tried the steps needed to combat fertility issues with an RE and hopefully get pregnant. In the world of IVF clinics, once we get you pregnant, we release you back to your own OB/GYN after three months of us monitoring your pregnancy, so you can promise them you will be back once you’re pregnant.

So … do you need to breakup with your OB/GYN?

Comments (1)

A lot of women struggle with voicing their opinions and seeking out the treatment they truly want and need to get the results that they desire. Thank you for the encouragement in this post for women to not settle for treatment that is no longer working for them. It's fascinating how like a personal relationship the doctor/patient relationship can be, and it's important for women to examine all of their relationships, really, to make sure they are getting their needs met.

D Alishouse
This has been posted on behalf of the Fertility Specialists in Indianapolis clinic, American Health Network reproductive medicine, providing a Female Reproductive Endocrinologist and supporting reproductive gynecology in Indianapolis. The information is not medical advice, and should not be treated as such. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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