The overall patient experience is important during the family building journey, and our hopeful parents regularly ask us how they can ensure a positive, fulfilling recipient experience while undergoing fertility treatment using egg donation. As a result of your questions, we’ve prepared a list of helpful tips to ensure you have the information needed to maximize your patient experience.
1. Come prepared to your initial consultation with questions. Research the egg donation process in advance of your first medical appointment with your physician in order to develop a general understanding of how the egg donation process works. This will allow you the opportunity to have an interactive patient experience with your physician on consultation day, asking questions to understand the treatment protocol your physician has in mind.
2. Preparation is key. There are several steps in the egg donor journey, including egg donor medical screening and the egg donor-intended parent legal agreement process, followed by the egg donation cycle itself. Collaborate together with your nursing team and your egg donor agency to ensure that once one step is complete, you are ready to begin the next step in the process, without delay or added stress. Research the general timing of events at your fertility clinic, meet in advance with your attorney to talk about the egg donor-intended parent legal agreement, and understand your financial obligations so as to be prepared to fund your egg donation cycle. Preparation is key to ensuring you have a positive recipient experience throughout the duration of your egg donation cycle.
3. Avoid micromanaging. As you begin your egg donor journey, it’s quite possible you’ve undergone IVF treatment of your own already, and as a result, you may know much more about the treatment process than you ever imagined possible. What’s important to remember, however, is that although egg donor treatment may be similar to the IVF treatment you received, it is often approached in a slightly different manner because treatment protocols are unique to an individual. Trust your physician to know what is best for your egg donor and your egg donation cycle. Asking questions is welcomed (see #1 above), but micromanaging your cycle can, at a minimum, cause you undue stress, and in some cases, can even undermine the success of your path to parenthood. Trust your care providers.
4. Treat people kindly. This may seem like an obvious tip, but you’d be surprised by the verbal abuse experienced by professionals involved in third party reproduction. While we all understand that infertility can be incredibly stressful, we ask you to recognize that all of us – nurses, doctors, attorneys, and agency coordinators – are invested in your journey and will look out for your best interests. That being said, we know that sometimes things happen outside everyone’s control, and may be worthy of criticism. If such a situation occurs, please put your complaints down in writing, with some suggested solutions in mind, so that we can address your concerns respectfully and professionally, such that we can find mutually agreeable ways to improve your patient experience.
5. Manage stress. It’s a known fact – infertility treatment is stressful, and hopeful parents should understand that while stress is a normal part of the journey, having various support mechanisms in place to help reduce or alleviate stress is beneficial to the patient experience, both for the short-term and long-term. Let us help you get in touch with a therapist who specializes in infertility counseling, or you may want to ask your fertility center about support groups in your community, where you can talk with others who have walked the path you’re taking.
6. Remember, there’s a young woman on the other side of your journey. Sometimes, in the process of signing consent forms, pouring over various statistics involved with choices you must make for your cycle, and negotiating all the contractual nuances of an egg donor-intended parent legal agreement, the idea that someone else is involved with this journey can be lost amongst the details. Don’t lose sight of the fact that your selected egg donor is just as invested in this process as you are, and that she has thoughts and feelings, and even worries, of her own. While your egg donation cycle may be anonymous, we know you took considerable time to find just the right young woman to help you build your family, and the care and compassion you offer in asking about your egg donor’s well-being, through your nursing staff or your egg donor agency, will let her know you care about her as an individual, and not just her eggs.
7. Be cautiously optimistic. It is normal to have feelings that fluctuate between excitement and worry as you navigate through your egg donation cycle. Keeping this in mind, move forward in your family-building journey with grace, gratitude, and compassion, and you’ll find the balance needed to remain cautiously optimistic throughout the duration of your cycle.
8. You’re creating life. Amidst the various discussions of cycle dates and cycle details, don’t forget that you’re creating life, and that this is a special time for you and your partner as you begin this new stage of your lives together. Take a moment to appreciate the joy of your journey, and we’re confident you’ll find you also have a positive patient experience through the journey.
Overall, to maximize your patient experience as you navigate through your egg donation journey, we recommend that you become an active participant in your treatment process, taking into consideration some of the thoughts and ideas mentioned above. Our wish is for you have a positive experience, and we welcome your input on other ideas that might improve your egg donor journey.