I am fortunate enough to work in a really great infertility practice. Our group has a large research division and remains committed to pushing the envelope and setting the standards for infertility treatment. There are always research studies available to our patients which usually allow them to participate in treatments designed to improve their chances for having a successful pregnancy. This is truly translational research, designed to bring laboratory advances directly to the bedside, improving patient outcome.
Recently, we launched our nextgen study looking at next generation DNA sequencing as a more efficient method to perform Comprehensive Chromsomal Screening of embryos. As part of the study, patients receive most of their care during an IVF cycle for free. There are strict requirements to qualify for the study that many patients will not meet. For patients with no insurance coverage, this type of study, which does not come around often, is their only opportunity to have In Vitro Fertilization. Clearly, this has me thinking more and more about the cost of IVF. Yes, there is a financial toll that IVF takes. A recent New York Times article highlighted the lengths that one couple went through to make their miracle dream come true, and the massive debt that they accumulated. It is clear that the financial burden of IVF looms large. However, there is an emotional price that so many patients pay
Many infertility patients are completely overwhelmed and exhausted by the process of attempting to conceive. Frequent doctors visits and the up and down roller coaster of each month waiting for that positive pregnancy test only to be disappointed again takes its toll. There are studies that show an increase in divorce among couples undergoing fertility treatments. While some of that may be related to partners that discover they feel differently about how far they are willing to go to conceive, the stress of frequent visits clearly plays a role.
Our practice has refocused our efforts to care for the emotional and physical needs of our patients with our collaborative wellness program. Patients can benefit from nutrition counseling, yoga, acupuncture and support groups. Preparing for IVF is like training for a marathon and it is important to get your mind and body into the best shape possible. There will be hills and valleys throughout any IVF cycle and training yourself to be prepared is important. IVF has a cost that is both financial and emotional, but the reward on that investment is priceless when it succeeds. At the end of the day, advances in our understanding of human reproduction are allowing most couples to be successful. So don't forget to invest in a little hope along the way.