Research shows IVF patients need tailored support
A recent study conducted by Queen Mary University of London (see article in ‘Sociology of Health and Illness’ journal) brings to our attention the importance of individualised IVF support for all patients. The article explores patient approaches to medical evidence and discusses the role of IVF support provided by health care professionals and the ability for patients to make informed choices.
Researchers held in-depth interviews with 51 fertility treatment patients across England aged 29 to 47, including those personally going through IVF as well as their partners. They found that patients shared a general understanding of what counts as medical evidence, but took different views of what is ‘good’ or ‘enough’ depending on their personal experience of infertility and IVF. The research found that patients were expected to make their own choices about what add-ons to have – and while some did want to critically assess the evidence available, around half preferred to leave decision-making with healthcare professionals and just follow their advice.
Additionally, the study found that patient decision-making about treatment was often influenced by their experience of infertility, and patients re-negotiated notions of medical evidence, uncertainty and risk of potential harm on the basis of their personal circumstances.
In light of this study, researchers are calling for healthcare professionals to rethink what “informed choice” means. Patients need quality information in an accessible format so they can make treatment choices themselves. To read the full article click here.
This research highlights the need for patients to have personally tailored support from doctors to make informed decisions. At Life Clinic we believe that tailored IVF support, that accompanies treatment plans, is vital for all our patients because:
Patients need to be able to make informed choices or delegate decisions
We understand that due to the very nature of IVF treatment, patients are called to make complex treatment choices in highly uncertain conditions. Therefore, for patients to be able to make informed decisions they must be given an unbiased view of high-quality evidence in an easily accessible way.
Additionally, we believe that it is also a choice for some patients not to want to take on this responsibility and to decide to delegate the decisions and put their trust in our doctors.
Patients all have different needs, priorities and perspectives
Fertility treatment is also a social experience where patients’ perspectives, needs and priorities must be acknowledged and incorporated into any fertility journey. The experience of infertility, along with its emotional and financial burden, presents many challenging choices for patients.
Without a clear understanding of a patient’s personal circumstances, a patient’s IVF treatment becomes discordant, unnecessarily complex and ultimately less successful.
Find out more about Life Clinic and our philosophy here.
Perrotta, M., et al. (2022) Patient informed choice in the age of evidence-based medicine: IVF patients’ approaches to biomedical evidence and fertility treatment add-ons. Sociology of Health & Illness. doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.13581.