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Infertiles learn a multitude of lessons on their journey through infertility. They realize their health and science high school teachers sorely misled them. Gaw, like anyone can actually get pregnant their first time. As if. But the number one lesson they learn: doctors don’t know it all. In fact, they may have their own agendas or are just so boxed in by modern medicine’s conventional wisdom they can’t see beyond the FDA-approved procedures and insurance policies to proffer a reason a woman cannot conceive or carry a pregnancy to full-term.

What is an infertile to do? Push up her glasses, affix her pocket protector, and hit the books.

Seriously, ladies, you gotta get your geek on. Research the hell out of everything your doctor tells you and, trickier still, what she doesn’t tell you. I have to admit I have not taken my own advice. It’s all so overwhelming. Where do you even start? What do you believe? When do you know it’s time to educate yourself?

I realized it was time to educate myself in the spring of 2010. My husband and I had finally sought fertility assistance following two years of unsuccessful baby dancing. The doctor initially prescribed me Clomid at 50mg. This confused me. As far as I could tell, I was ovulating like clockwork and, unlike my PCOS sisters, always had very regular periods. The doctor explained the drug could improve the quality of my eggs. Okay, it’s worth a shot. After two unmonitored months and despite a dosage increase, we had zilch to show for it. I called the doctor’s office repeatedly with little response. Finally, I was referred to the Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility unit at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

When I sat down with my new doctor and went through my history, she stopped me at Clomid. “Did they monitor you?” “No….” Crap, what now? She went on to explain any woman who is taking an ovulatory inducing drug should be monitored. This way they can verify she is developing mature follicles and ensure the patient won’t ovulate more than one or two. (Hence why I was so perturbed by those quintuplets mentioned in UnEthical?)

So, an important lesson was learned. Anyone who is struggling with infertility needs to be their own advocate. Go ahead, ask your questions no matter how inane they may seem. Go ahead, look up information, talk to other infertiles, find out why you are taking this or that drug. That’s what it’s all about. Start with your diagnosis and continue with the treatment your doctor may have prescribed. These are our bodies, our futures.

As for the doctors out there, you don’t know it all…get over it…and open yourselves up to other possibilities. That’s what science is about.

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