Rapport is defined as a positive relationship between individuals or within a group where good communication and empathy is exchanged. When it comes to the world of medicine, doctors are not always seen as having the best bedside manner, but in cases of emotionally and mentally invasive procedures such as IVF, patient-doctor rapport is extremely important. This can make choosing a physician for your fertility assistance quite a process.
Rapport and Physical Outcomes
Although there has been no human test to determine the importance of the doctor-patient relationship on fertility treatments specifically, there has been research that has shown a significant advantage in medical outcomes when doctor-patient relationships are positive during treatment.1 This theory suggests that when the doctor and patient are harmonious, the outcome of an IVF treatment may be more likely to result in a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Whether this is directly related to stress levels or something on a more physical level is unknown at this time.
Enjoying the Experience Based on the Doctor
Research has also shown that the degree to which a doctor likes a patient could correspond directly to the way a patient feels about their appointment or experience with the doctor.2 While this didn’t seem to directly impact the results of a treatment, it did affect the way that the patient felt about the treatment, which could ultimately impact staying power and follow through.
Research has suggested that one of the reasons women abandon IVF and other fertility treatment is due to a lack of faith in the treatment. Other reasons for giving up included pain or discomfort, or a negative emotional response.3 All of these things can feel lessened when the experience is positive and support is prevalent.
Problems Poor Experiences Pose
When rapport isn’t established between a patient and a doctor and a poor experience occurs, it can cause more emotional damage to the patient, who is already undergoing a trying experience. Feeling misunderstood by a physician may make an already stressful situation more difficult to manage. Anxiety has been shown to increase the risk of infertility among women trying to become pregnant.
Choosing a Doctor
With the above research in mind, choosing a doctor becomes a daunting task. Here are a few ways to zero in on the right doctor for you:
Screening: Choosing a doctor is personal, which means you should meet him or her in person before deciding on a clinic. Make an appointment with a potential doctor, meet, and discuss concerns and hopes for the coming treatments. Ask questions and consider the way the doctor speaks to you and how it makes you feel. Ultimately, your IVF doctor is part of a team including yourself, your partner, and your doctor. You want that team to be strong and positive to help get you through the process ahead. If you don’t feel a strong connection with your doctor in a positive way, it could ultimately impact your experience.
Check References: It’s not enough to judge a doctor on first impressions alone; sometimes a second opinion is required. You can get this information from ratings and reviews left by previous patients. Look online or better yet, ask the doctor if they have any references from past clients.
Investigate Success Rates: Along with reviews from previous clients, checking a doctor’s success rate can give you peace of mind where fertility treatment is concerned. If you’re concerned that a different doctor might have a better chance of helping you conceive, that can be enough reason to switch physicians.
Work with your partner to determine which doctor makes both of you feel at ease, comfortable, and as though you can rely on them.