One of the hallmarks of a good decision is whether it takes into account all of the information available at the time it is made. Hindsight is always challenging when circumstances change or values change. Feeling good about a decision is not thinking you can know everything there is to know. Good decisions come when you know you did a reasonably appropriate job of considering the factors necessary and addressing them.
Why is this important in the fertility world? Because most people’s biggest decision for conception is if the it will involve red or white wine, or if the occasion will be planned or spontaneous, or other more salacious details. It is not statistics about a clinic or egg freezing rates or medication protocols or genetic testing or embryo transfer date implications. When people are using medical technology to build their family, a lot of decisions have to be made and they can be overwhelming. The information available and research is constantly changing, unending and inconsistent. Dr. Google does not help matters when frantic yet hopeful parents have plenty of time at night to research procedures and their chances and the results of strangers on the internet and trying to find something to help salve the pain and frustration of… not having a baby.
The pain and frustration are real as is the need for good information and help for making decisions. What is really helpful when making all of these decisions is noting what most of them have in common. Here are some helpful considerations to use when approaching many of the difficult decisions:
1) Only you can make the decision. As much as it may feel like doctors are making the decisions or the data is telling us what to do, each one of us makes decisions about our care in the end. Other people’s “should’s” can be taken under advisement, but they are not you. If you accept a recommendation or follow someone else’s success, that is your decision. Remember that nobody else’s experience and circumstances are exactly like yours thought. You need to do what is best for you.
2) Your decisions mean your values. In the exact same situation, which people rarely are actually in the exact same situation, people make different decisions because they have different priorities. I have met couples who say finances are their biggest issues. Others are planning for not just the first baby, but with the hopes of more. Others are on a time limit of how much they can tolerate and then they want to move on. Another person chose her clinic and treatment based on its proximate location to her home and whatever they could offer. These are not right or wrong. The simply match the priority of the decision maker. So know yours.
3) You have to have a relationship with your healthcare provider. If you don’t trust your doctor, then no amount of information is going to make you feel good about your decision. Work on that issue first. What about the doctor doesn’t match? Do you need to ask more questions to understand or do you need a new doctor? It is important when making decisions to be able to separate your beliefs about your doctor and your beliefs about what is the best next step for you. Confusing the two can lead to choices you don’t feel confident about, resentment or worse.
3) You can’t know it all. You will have to make a decision based on what you know at that moment. We cannot predict the future and results not in your favor alone are an unfair measure of the quality of your decision. You have to consider what you know, what your priorities are and go. If you really do want to understand more about procedures and risks and decision factors FertilityIQ has singularly changed the field for the better. (Disclosure – nothing to disclose. Hasidah gets no kickbacks. FertiltyIQ simply are a great resource). Your body is not a machine with exact operations and medical care is not mechanics. However, we be informed about important factors. Figure out what is worthwhile to know and accept what you cannot know.
Research for a decision works best, however, when you have already done the first two steps. It is up to you to make the decision, determine your priorities, and make sure you and your doctor are together on how to make these decision.
Wherever your quest for parenthood takes you, you can bring more wholeness to the journey. Hopefully, these steps can help you as you navigate the many decisions along the way.