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Thread: Making ART/IVF better for partners

  1. #1

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    Question Making ART/IVF better for partners

    Hello,
    My dh and I are undergoing our first cycle of IVF, and our FS and clinic has been great - no really complaints. But after our OPU, we had a conversation about how dh felt he was being treated through the process. And while he was happy, he thought that there were just a few little things that the clinic could do to make the experience a better for partners.

    So, I'm starting this thread for two reasons. One to see if this is a similar experince for people using different clinics, and two, in the hope that maybe someone from IVF and similar clinics may read this and get some ideas on how to improve the experience for partners of women undergoing fertility treatment in their clinics.

    The wish list that dh and i came up with is as follows:

    1. At least some mags in the waiting rooms that are for guys - while I enjoy vogue and home beautiful (for a short time anyway) - my dh cant stand them and has nothing to read while we wait, or he waits for me to have my scan.

    2. When they call you to go to appointments - it would be great if they called out dh's name out first - just once - just to make him feel like he is really a part of this. I know that partners do not go to all appointments but there are a few where the odds are in favour of them being there.



    3. Related to the above, just once, it would be nice if the nurse/FS etc asked dh how he was going, before asking me. Again, just to recognise that they are equal partners in this process and that while the physical stuff may not be happening to him, the emotional stuff sure is. I'm sure it is just habit that they ask the women undergoing treatment first (and I must admit I was normally the first out of my seat when our name are called for appointments), but it should be something they can do once.

    4. This is the one that started this conversation between my dh and i. One the day of the OPU, the room he had to go to for collection, was called the 'production room'. Now I know that a name like 'pleasure palace' is also inappropriate, but surely there is something better than 'production room' to name it.

    5. I cant personally comment on this one, but dh assures me that many of the 'quality' dvds in the 'production room' were gone and only their dvd covers were there. So 1, shame on any guys that have 'borrowed' the dvd's to take home, and 2, maybe there needs to be a regular restocking program.

    6. Make sure that the partners details are on all the forms/stickers for forms etc.

    7. Make internal scans less 'ikky'...(prob not achievable..)

    So, some of you may read this and think that it is petty - and maybe it is, but I know that these are things that would really make a difference to my dh.

    Is this a similar experience for other partners going through ART? And if yes, any more suggestions on what could be done to make it just that bit better?

  2. #2

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    Hi farmgirl....

    Yep, we understand what you mean, and its definately not petty. It's a bit different for us I suppose, but just as important that my partner feels like she is a part of the process too. I like your suggestions (though I don't know much about the production room!), I particularly like #7 too! LOL!

    Something I think thats really important for the clinic to acknowledge is that while you and I are popping pills or injecting (lol, makes us sound like hard core druggies!), our partners are the ones who have to support us and hold us up when we have an emotional breakdown, and a lot more support should be given to them by the clinic too. Shel struggled a bit with not having anyone to talk to about what she was feeling, what to do to support me... just lucky a few woman at work had gone through the same thing and were able to give her support, as i really wasn't able to give her as much as she needed at the time.

  3. #3

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    Our FS appointments and then place for EPU and transfer were about 800klms apart, so we might have had a little different experience?

    1. I can honestly say that I didn't notice what magazines were at the FS office while we were waiting. Should've taken some more notice as I do think they could leave some men mags laying around (car mags, mens health etc)

    2. Our FS only ever called out my name. I never really noticed that he never called DH's name out, but understand that it would be a nice thing to call out both partners names.

    3. FS usually asked me first how I was, sometimes he would direct the question towards the pair of us and see which one of us answered first, just for general chit chat i think?

    4. DH had to go to the 'green room' He was given directions on how to get to the green room by following the green wall to the elevator then going somewhere which involved following more green. It is a bit of a joke between us now, and he has refused to paint green in our house ever.

    5. Can't comment personally either! DH was given a key to the green room, and a cd booklet full of DVD's to take with him to the green room. He did mention that some were rather distasteful. when he returned to the waiting room, he had to hand back the key, dvd and his sample in a brown paper bag.

    6. I'm pretty sure that DH's name was all over any sticker/paperwork that there was.

    7. Not sure that my scans were all that icky. Were glad they were over though.

    Our FS made sure that DH was standing there watching all my scans. For our first one with him he practically demanded that DH get up and come watch, I think he said something about it involving him too, so he should be watching.
    The girls showed us both how to use the puregon pen, but moreso DH as I said to them I would just get flustered and forget it all. When it came time for trigger, they did the same, showed both, but then ran through it again with DH.

    I didn't like how they told DH to come see me in recovery then after 5-10 minutes said he had to go wait back downstairs in the waiting room. I needed him with me, and I think he wanted to be with me too.
    After I got dressed, I moved to another waiting room to have something to eat and sat around other women who had their support person with them, while they forgot to call the girls downstairs to let DH know he could come up to me. It probably seems like a silly little thing, but DH is my comfort blanket so to speak, I feel better when he is around, especially as it was my first IVF pick up and I was so far from home.

    Nic
    Last edited by nic; January 22nd, 2008 at 09:56 AM. Reason: deleting ticker

  4. #4

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    Great idea for a thread!

    I totally agree re the magazines and calling of names. Hubby comes in for each scan, so hopefully he feels more included that way.

    It does seem to be a bit female biased, which is a shame but our clinic have been generally pretty good at including him too.

  5. #5
    slyder Guest

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    Good thread.

    Really happy with my clinic, but I am totally superfluous. To start with it was like I didn't exist. Even though the fertility issue is mine, all they do is talk to DW about this and that. Granted, she has to endure all the treatment just because my swimmers are funny shaped (which is totally unfair on her but that's where we currently stand with ART), but I still have an active role in this process other than being a sperm donor. For instance, I attend all the appointments, collect some of the drugs, and administer all of the needles.

    But I don't let it bother me too much. I just make sure I ask heaps of questions so they actually realise I am there too. To be fair to them, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they get lots of males come through the appointments with glazed eyes and a serious lack of involvement, so it's probably a learned response. In my experience, men often don't take an interest in medical matters or have much knowledge in this field so they are already behind the 8-ball by the time they end up on the rollercoaster. Since I have got to know the staff better and vice versa, I am included more.

    ETA: Oh, it sucked majorly that I had to walk back through the waiting room past the other patients and receptionist with my little paper bag on EPU day. Why not put the room somewhere more discreet so you don't have to look like a total tool after the job is done.

  6. #6

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    Thanks everyone for the input, there seems to be some general consesus emerging . Once the thread seems to have run out of steam, I intend to amend the list to fit the input.

    Nic/Slyder - i'm thinking that the 'production room' is not nearly as bad as having to parade the paper bag thru the waiting room - surly that is an obvious situation to fix?? At least the production room is down a corridor off the main reception area, and has its own 'delivery' reception away from prying eyes. So point 4 should be expanded to include that delivery areas should be in a discrete place, away from main reception and waiting areas to ensure the depositing person a level of privacy and comfort.

    Leasha - i dont know about you - but at the moment I'm feeling like a hard core druggie and will until the bruising goes down (it was always the ones i did the bruised the worst) - your comments really hit home that this is about the partners - irrispective of gender - although the paper bags and production room will always stay with the guys! Good luck with the pg and thanks for your thoughts.

    Slyder - do you think that some partners (esp the guys already behind the 8 ball) become more disenfranchised because they do feel so out of the inital conversations because they dont understand the terms and female insides etc etc? I'm thinking that before we went to the FS, I'd done heaps of research on the web etc, but dh was still off in laa laa land coming to terms with the fact that he had poor quality/no. sperm, so he was prob 6 months behind me in the first place. Your dw if lucky to have someone who is so willing to push the envelope and learn so much along the journey.

    Nic - you sound like you have a great FS, and clinic, but it is crap about how they treated you and your dh where you had the OPU . I know that I was totally on the verge of tears when I came of it, and would have been a mess without dh there. I think that your experience deserves another point, 8. something along the lines that following all proceedures (no matter how small or significant), partners should be, where medically fesiable, allowed to be with the person going through treatment ASAP. Staff should have advising partners that they can accompany their loved one as the priority. (it sounds very formal, but I'm tired and will play around with it later). At a less significant level, my dh did not come into the room when i had scans (he did come in for the et), but then my FS did not get him after the scan was finished and she discussed with me the results. On reflection, she could have easily done this when she left the room to enable me to get changed, or she could have got a nurse to do it if there were other things the FS needed to do at the time.

    Thanks everyone

  7. #7
    slyder Guest

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    FG, with our clinic, being regional and all, the hospital we use for EPU is actually a specialist hospital and not initially designed with 'production' ideas in mind. The blokes room is upstairs, about the size of a toilet, sporting a lounge chair and a stack of porn. I honestly thought the porn thing was a joke that people made up, but it truly is real. I spent the first few minutes doing nothing but laughing, I just found it amusing. Worse still, the room is next to the staff open function area so you can imagine the types of shenanigans that go on when they have a staff gas on.

    As for guys being out of the loop, it's probably a vicious cycle. Some blokes (and I know plenty) are not at all receptive to clinical environs and medical matters so that makes it hard for staff. The ones that are OK with it and accustomed to it have to earn their stripes I suppose. I didn't take it to heart too much, I just make sure they don't forget I exist. I was very involved in the EPU as DW was awake and in a lot of pain. So I took on a lot of the support stuff and relaying information to her etc. I guess it also depends how you cope with the ugly side of medicine. I'm cool with it, but some people find it very challenging.

  8. #8

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    Thankfully our clinics 'production room' has an entrance just outside the main door to the clinic with a sliding door going into the back of the clinic so DH just leaves the sample on the ledge and rings a bell then departs the room. He doesn't have to go back in to the waiting room.

    My DP finds this process really embarrasing and it's a bit of a trial for us - usually he doesn't want to discuss it, so I'm very thankful that he doesn't have to take a paper bag past lots of strangers.

  9. #9
    slyder Guest

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    Lots of blokes are very uncomfortable with it Cece so don't worry. I know someone who had to go the Viagra option (given by the Doc) as he had stage fright.

  10. #10

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    What a great idea CeCe.
    SLyder, my DH said that the room seemed to be near the nurses tea room or something, he said he could hear people talking. We had a bit of a laugh about it, well maybe it was me who laughed! He laughed when I told him that the FS said there was an "audio visual room" for the men. I think he thought it was a bit of a joke until he actually got there.

    Nic

  11. #11

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    Great idea for a thread!

    DH is lucky that the production room where we are is way down the hall at the other end of the floor,tright next to the'dropoff window,so noone really has to see it at all - allows for that bit more privacy.

    Although he too had a complaint about the dvd's and mags-a bit old and out of date,and the mags a bit 'tatty' Although,wouldnt want to be the one to have to go and buy new ones!

    Finally,as for the nameof the room, have also heard it called the 'masturbatorium' - yuck!

    Cheers...

    Fi

  12. #12

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    At least you guys have a room, at my clinic you have to use the disabled toilet

  13. #13

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    hmmm, we don't have a "clinic" as it is - it's all done at the local hospital! the "collection room" that they use is actually the same room they use for transfers, and has an ensuite, chair, tv, double bed - the whole nine yards! not that DH has needed it - his sample is always produced at home and just handed to the nurse when we get there (and i choose to drive, so HE has to hang on to it! )

    Our FS always calls my name from the chart, but greets DH first, always speaks to both of us, asks directly if DH has any questions. during u/s, DH was writing out the results for the nurse, watching the scan. during ET, he was told where to stand to get the best vantage point for watching the u/s of the embie being transferred - he had a better view than me!

    overall - i think our clinic has been amazing at making sure DH has been involved. the nurse even rings DH for some things cos she knows i work and he is able to answer when i can't!

  14. #14

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    We've been fortunate enough that for all of DH's samples for analysis and for ICSI, he's been able to produce them at home. I'm banished from the room, as I'm usually so stressed I make things harder for him! When we get to the day hospital, the scientist doesn't come to collect the sample from us until each couple is allocated to a little room - for me to get changed and then have the nurses, anaesthetist, scientist and FS all come to check details and talk to us before hand.

    My FS often ends up spending more time talking to DH than me, including one time where DH and the FS ended up having a discussion in the middle of the waiting room about the cooking show that was currently on TV! He always checks whether DH has any questions - and I just know there's often eyerolling and knowing glances being passed over the top of my head! DH has also had to do drug collections without me - including the one where he was given the demonstration on how to prepare and inject the lucrin!

    We do usually only end up with my name being called, though... But you can tell that our FS is going out of his way to make DH comfortable and feel included. I admit I'm surprised by it - friends of ours used the same FS a while back, and found that DH was often excluded and cut off and ignored. I must say I'm certainly relieved that he appears to have changed his ways!

    BW

  15. #15

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    BecD - my dh had to use a toilet when he went for his first SA - was not impressed either. You would think that they could organise something a little better.


    BW, saltprincess and biggsy's girl - sounds like you have great FS who have really thought about how to deal with partners - thats great. My dh comes to most appointments, and the FS engages him when we are in appointments too, for us, it just seems to be the bits around that bit that maybe could be better thought out. BG - I like the sound of how you they allocate you a room and everyone comes to the two of you.

    Princess Fiona - that name for the room is sooo bad

  16. #16

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    Salt, if something works for one couple, then it's right for them. Each couple is different, however. It's certainly worth talking to him, though. It's sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that this journey hurts them as well. But men being men, they are more likely to hide it and decide that they need to be strong for us.

    I will just add... DH was more scared of injecting me than I was of doing it myself. Even when I started giving myself nasty bruises, he was still too scared to do the injections for me!

    BW

  17. #17
    slyder Guest

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    Hey, don't worry, I agreed with everything you said. You ladies have to endure the treatment, we don't (in most cases). Even when the issue is MF, it's just crap that the female has to go through all of that. I don't think I'll ever get past the guilt on that score. Emotionally, both sides of the equation are equal I think, but I'd never dream of comparing my very small physical role with the stuff DW has to endure.

    The other day was actually the first time I'd collected DW's medication. Because it is prescription I assumed I couldn't but she rang ahead and the pharmacy was cool with it. I did the needles on the stim cycle and all the prep work for it (ie. DW just came up to the bedroom when I was ready and then went back to the tele). I go to just about every appointment, but she makes all the phone calls as I hate using the phone. So it's not like I do that much, I just do what I can, as obviously I can't take the drugs or put up with the scans and BTs. But I am 100% available emotionally, as she is for me.

    PS. I just remembered that I was too chicken to take my samples in for analysis during the early AC consultations, so I'm no saint. I made her do it!

    Quote Originally Posted by saltprincess View Post
    Slyder - I've re-read my post and I just wanted to add - I hope you didn't find my comments about my DH dismissive of the male partner's role in FT. The things I said are the things that DH has said to me - that he just wants to be my support, that I'm going through more than he is etc. That's not my opinion of what every male partner's attitude towards it should be.

    Based on what you've said, now I'm wondering if perhaps it might be better if DH were more involved, but he is very emotionally supportive so I'm pretty content with that side of it. I do get him to give me all my injections, I think that's fair (plus, I don't think I could do it myself). But it's never even occurred to me that DH would go and pick up meds if I run out. Maybe I'll have a talk to him sometime and see if he's happy with the way we're arranging things, or if he'd like to change any of it.

  18. #18

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    This thread got me to ask DH how he felt about how he was treated and he actually thought he was treated very fairly. He said he expects that with me being the 'patient', ie the one mainly going through the procedures, that he is there for moral support and does not expect to be treated as anything more. He reckon that the time where he was needed, he felt he was treated with respect, and that's all he was after.

    He also made the point that clinics would encounter a huge range of human reactions, and their responses to individuals would be tempered by their overall experiences, so you will rarely have one person who is happy with every aspect of the service. I think this is to be expected to a certain extent in every facility where a diverse range of clilents come through on a reular basis. I understand some men need to feel more involved, but usually a medical practice will concern themselves with the primary patient - not just fertility clinics, but all medical facilities. Even if the issue is MF, the primary patient is the one who they are conducting the bulk of the medical procedures on.

    However, I'm one who always believes that you should make suggestions, make your voice heard if you do feel strongly about it, as there is always room for improvement in any service. I'm sure if it's a valid idea that is easily implemented, you will find they would be happy to adjust to suit. But I think in reality, the focus will always be on the women in fertilty treatment in its current form, as the clinic is there to offer a medical service, and does not usually take on an emotionally supportive role.

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