On The Cutting Edge

By: Danielle Lane, MD

I learn so much from my patients. Every day someone teaches me something new and relevant to the work that I do. Yesterday I saw a patient who is a life coach. I was interested in this work (as I always am in the work that my patients do).  For me it is always interesting and helpful to understand more about my patients than their antral follicle count and how long they have been trying to conceive. By the time we had finished our ten minute conversation, I felt as though I had experienced a breakthrough in understanding one of the barriers that fertility patients face. 

“There are only two types of energy,” said my patient., “love-based energy and fear-based energy.”  Instantly, I realized that despite my best efforts to provide an environment where patients received information and then made an educated decision, the majority of patients were acting out of fear.  Fear that their biologic clock either would or had run out.  Fear that their fertility treatment would fail. Fear that their life would not be as they had planned. I had always thought that therapy would be an excellent adjunct to a fertility program, but I began to wonder whether a life-coach would be even better. And then I began to ponder whether there was a better way to empower women and couples about their reproductive options without instilling fear. That is now the challenge that I have made to myself: to provide an environment that decreases the fear that fertility patients face. 

Decreasing fear will require many steps. First, returning the conversation of fertility and reproduction to society. Currently, it seems that the conversation of maternity has effectively been removed from society and with that comes stigma.  Second, is removing the stigma associated with fertility so that women can begin to turn to their mothers, families and friends for information and support.  Third, is increasing awareness among young women about their reproductive timeline so that they can make proactive decisions to preserve their fertility or begin their families at biologically appropriate times. Clearly this approach is not for everyone, but I meet many women who would have appreciated the opportunity to know more. 

So what’s On the Cutting Edge? In each of our upcoming issues, we will focus on an organization or individual who is making a difference  in helping to improve the experience of fertility for women. Not just for women that are facing challenges, but for those who are just trying to make decisions about when to start their families and what options are available. 

Knowledge is power, and in our next issue we will focus on lifestyle changes that can impact and improve your fertility. From social habits such as caffeine and alcohol, to weight and exercise, we will provide insight into the pro’s and con’s. In our new segment: Difference Makers in Advancing Fertility, we will feature the Cade Foundation. This amazing organization provides financial assistance to families to assist with the cost of fertility treatments and domestic adoption. We will  also talk about the impact of long-term contraception on your ability to monitor your fertility. As always we will feature a new recipe and a patient perspective.  

So stay tuned and keep reading!

– Danielle Lane, MD