“I would like to know, Doctor, if this surgery is absolutely necessary? If it’s not, I would rather not put him through another procedure.” I asked a female doctor, whom I have known for almost five years now, when I visited the eye clinic with my brother.
Before she answered me, she looked at his test results again, which included an eye test he had just done that very morning and said, “You know, it’s really fine…but if the consultant says another surgery is necessary, you should ask him that question, when you see him.”
When we met the consultant and I repeated my question, he was offended and affronted, and even questioned what right I had to ask him that question. He wondered where our parents were, and why they weren’t the ones asking him that question. Because he’s a doctor, and an eye surgeon for that matter, and also as I didn’t want to offend someone who would eventually operate on my brother’s eye, I calmly explained that our parents have never set foot in that clinic, as they trusted me to do what was right, and that I needed to be sure that another surgery was the right step, and besides, I was paying the bill.
He brushed me off with all of my explanations and still went ahead to state that wasn’t enough for me to ask him that question. In the end, he told me to do whatever I wanted, as it was a hospital…not a prison. From that moment on, I wanted a second opinion.
I sought and found another and the verdict was that he could do with corrective surgery, so after weeks of running around and spending more on tests we had done earlier, but which results weren’t released for obvious reasons, we went back to the hospital to have the procedure done.
Interestingly, when it was time to pay for the procedure, the cashier was so pained at the amount on the bill that she asked me if there was no older person, like my mom or dad, we could call, so as to plead for a reduction, since we had done the procedure before, and it was on a child. Gosh! I had that head in your palm moment, and I went, “Don’t I look old enough?” Do I need to start going around with my birth certificate or start wearing iro and buba, so people can start taking me serious?
I know this scenario happened at an eye clinic, but I know the frustration of having a doctor who is not listening to you, but wants to treat you like he has been doing others, is the same, regardless of the speciality. Doctors sometimes think that their word is law, and patients should just comply.
Many women complain about the fact that their doctors don’t actively listen to them. They just listen to respond, but not to act, based on what has been said. And when you insist on meaningful answers, you’re seen as being troublesome, or worse, an I Too Know (ITK).
But asking questions, and getting answers, helps everyone in the long run. You cannot ask a woman who has suffered repeated miscarriages, not to ask what a doctor would be doing differently? Or one who has been dealing with several years of infertility and has undergone all sorts of treatment that she could be considered an authority in the field, not to ask questions. No, it’s not going to happen. If she didn’t want answers, she wouldn’t go seeking a doctor.
Below are some tips to help you choose the right fertility clinic and get a second opinion, if you are not comfortable with the initial diagnosis, or even knowing when it’s time to look for a new one.
Understand the workings of fertility clinics
For most people, the chances are high, that they have multiple fertility clinics from which to choose. There are quite a number in Lagos, and Abuja seems to be springing fertility clinics on a daily basis.
However, it must be said, like the animal kingdom, not all fertility clinics are created equal.
At the end of the day, fertility clinics are businesses. While your doctor hopefully lives and breathes your case, there’s a big chance that a lot is going on behind the scenes that are all about commerce.
What this means is that they might rush you on to the expensive procedure of IVF, without going through other less invasive, or less expensive, treatments, and in some cases, you might get turned away if they find something in their initial testing that makes you a less-than-optimal candidate for IVF.
If the latter happens to you, please consider it a good omen, as the truth is you really don’t want to deal with a clinic which has given up on your case, even before you start out.
Research their success rates…but don’t trust it
Most clinics in Nigeria go with percentage, and it’s always a range. Others give figures of babies born but not the number of patients who have passed through their doors or undergone a particular treatment that resulted in babies.
Some give figures of BFPs, but not live births, so you see why you cannot trust those figures.
To start with, most clinics list success rates directly on their website. If you can’t find it, please do not bother investigating further. The clinic is not worth your time.
Pay attention to live birth rates rather than the percentage of cycles that end in pregnancies.
Educate yourself on the clinic’s public success rates, but understand they might not be telling the whole story.
Insurance covered clinics/promos are expensive in the long run
Does your insurance only cover certain clinics? Okay, here’s the drill. It makes sense and is of course cheaper to do some procedures (assuming fertility treatment is covered too) in the insurance covered clinic, but it will be of little comfort in the long run.
Whether it is partial or full coverage, having unsuccessful cycles over and over again with the clinic, is an expensive price to pay.
The same thing applies to all the promo IVF cycles about town. If you get sub-optimal service, it’s not cheap …definitely not in the long run.
Make sure IVF isn’t the only treatment on offer
After looking at their website, or perhaps visiting the clinic, does it seem like they only offer IVF or that they talk about it a lot more than other less expensive treatment options?
That is a major red flag as many infertility cases don’t even require IUI, just some Clomid and timed intercourse.
If the clinic you are interested in is only interested in your doing IVF without a really good reason, hmmm, you might want to check elsewhere.
Like with all things, there are pros and cons to both small and large clinics.
Large practices tend to have the latest and better technologies. Small practices tend to have a more personal, homely feel.
It’s best to choose a clinic that best suits with your needs. Do you want a clinic, in which, you can decide on a day 5 transfer and go to bed, without worrying if you embryos will make it? A larger clinic might be able to offer you that than a small one.
This is a dilemma for most mamas, as they sometimes have to deal with both work and home commute in different parts of town, not to mention a fairly regular visit to the hospital.
It’s a factor…but it is not the only factor. If experienced and better service is wanted and it is not close by, it makes sense to find a way around the location issue.
But if it the location works great, then that’s even better.
Hope you find this helpful.
At the end of the day though, like our mommas are fond of saying, it doesn’t matter the clinic, or the doctor, let God use them to bring our babies to manifestation.
Baby dust mommas.
Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here