Fertility Clinics Should Be Gender Friendly and Non-Judgmental

Published: 12/11/2015

Since its inception in 1982, Arizona Center for Fertility Studies had embraced all patients, regardless of age, marital status or gender preference. Arizona Center for Fertility Studies strongly believes that a full service, state of the art, infertility program does not have the right to be judgemental and refuse treatment to any woman, single or married, gay or straight, normal weight or overweight, young or old, unless there as a documented medical indication for not treating that person.

Personal Feelings and Belief Systems

Personal feelings and belief systems should have no place in deciding whether or not to help a woman pursue her most precious dreams. Clinics and physicians should not allow their personal opinions and beliefs to interfere with who they will care for and the advice that they give to their patients. The decisions that they make should never compromise their integrity or be dishonest, but should also not reflect their personal viewpoint, only their best unbiased medical judgement.

An example of this would be in discussing selective reduction or having to terminate one or more babies in a multiple pregnancy. First of all, the program should do everything they can to avoid a multiple pregnancy and know up front if the couple is opposed to having any more than one child. However, even when following the American Society of Reproductive Medicine guidelines, multiples can occur, either from all the embryos "taking" and/or one or more of those embryos "splitting" into identical twins or triplets, rare as it may be. The couple needs to be made aware of the option of selective reduction and it needs to be done unbiasedly and without prejudice. Even though the clinican may be religious and not believe in termination, he or she should not have that influence the medical conversation and the options presented to the couple. It is the couple's right to choose the option that is best for them, unfettered by the clinican's personal belief system, bias or possible suggestion of guilt. The decision is hard enough as it is and will take an incredible amount of soul searching and conversation on the couple's part to arrive at a decision that is comfortable for the both of them.

Arizona Center for Fertility Studies believes a clinic's role is to support their patient's decision, whether or not they agree with it. Only if a patient asks, should a personal opinion be given. When asked at Arizona Center for Fertility Studies, "what would you do if you were me", the answer is, "it does not matter what I would do, what would you do"?

Same Sex Relationships

With 5-10% of the population being comprised of same sex relationships, clinics are bound to have a similar percentage of same sex couples inquiring about treatment options. Arizona Center for Fertility Studies makes no distinction between heterosexual and homosexual couples and strongly feels that both should be treated equally and non-judgementally, and without bias or prejudice. These couples are just as deserving and motivated as any other couple, and in Arizona Center for Fertility Studies experience, make equally good parents.

As a side point, Arizona Center for Fertility Studies does not necessariy have an opinion on whether or not there should be a constitutional amendment recognizing gay marriages but feels strongly that same sex relationships should have the right to a civil marriage and all the legal rights associated with that marriage, ie. eligibility to receive their partner's health benefits, the right to adopt their partner's child, and shared custody of that child if they became separated. Currently, there are very few states in the country that allow for these benefits, and Arizona is definitely not one of them.

Weight and Age

Weight and age should also not be a factor in deciding whether or not to treat a patient. Some clinics will not provide treatment for woman over a certain BMI or body weight; and refuse treatment for woman over 41-42 if they want to attempt pregnancy using their own eggs and are not open to using donor eggs. Arizona Center for Fertility Studies feels strongly that any woman should be given the chance to conceive regardless of age and body weight. That does not, however, release them from the medical responsibilities of discussing the risks and complications of being overweight in pregnancy and resulting potential dangers to their unborn baby; or the decreased chance of success if she is older and the increase risks of miscarriage and chromosome abnormalities in her age group.

Before proceeding with a patient who is 25-30% over her ideal body weight, she will have to have a consultation with a perinatologist and subsequently present with medical clearance before Arizona Center for Fertility Studies will proceed. Many times, as long as the woman understands her risks and potential complications and is advised of things that she can do to avoid or reduce them, she will get medical clearance and can proceed with and have a successful pregnancy outcome.

Arizona Center for Fertility Studies believes, that there should be no "magic" cut off age where a woman must use donor eggs. Obviously, within reason, there is no way of knowing if an older woman is "reproductively young" or if a younger woman is "reproductively old". Without attempting pregnancy, there is no way to find out. Arizona Center for Fertility Studies has many examples of older women getting pregnant and going on to have a healthy normal baby. There is always time in the future to consider the option of donor eggs, if using their own eggs has not been successful. Many women just want the chance to attempt pregnancy before having to make the difficult decision on whether or not they want to proceed using donor eggs, adopt or stop treatment; and at Arizona Center for Fertility Studies, they will have that chance, as well as, the possibility of being successful.

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