Re: Why infertility patients deserve our attention

I am a physician in BC and a longstanding infertility patient.

First of all, I wanted to say thanks for publishing the recent articles about infertility in the BCMJ. The editorial especially resonated with me [BCMJ 2018;60:202]. It has been difficult being a physician dealing with infertility and trying to balance the emotional, physical, and financial burdens of treatment. There are real logistical issues when trying to coordinate work scheduling with a sometimes-uncooperative reproductive cycle! Beyond the logistical, it is also emotionally wearing to live and work in a world in which the joy of growing families and pride in children is constantly celebrated with little or no acknowledgment for those who struggle to achieve these life goals.

I have met many fellow infertility patients over the years and have seen how much they suffer, and how there is still strong societal stigma. I am very fortunate that I was able to afford the treatment I needed, but for many others, finances pose a real barrier. I would like to do whatever I can to help turn this tide, particularly with respect to funding for treatment in BC.

I wrote a letter to the Ministry of Health a few months ago, and part of their reply really surprised me: “MSP relies on the advice of the medical profession in determining the medical necessity of procedures. To date, there has been no indication from the medical profession that it considers IVF to be medically necessary.”

I have reached out to some of my obstetrics and gynecology colleagues who may be able help advocate for infertility patients. I had been hesitant to reach out to reproductive endocrinologists in BC to ask them to get behind the cause because I do understand that public funding could significantly impact the current compensation models, and I wasn’t sure if progress in this area would actually be supported. However, after reading Dr Dunne’s editorial, I know that the details can be worked out and that infertility patients do indeed deserve the support of all physicians, especially those who deal with reproductive medicine.

Thanks again for bringing attention to a population that faces a lot of stigma.
—Susan M. Lee, MD, FRCPC, MAS New Westminster

Susan M. Lee, MD, FRCPC, MAS. Re: Why infertility patients deserve our attention. BCMJ, Vol. 60, No. 6, July, August, 2018, Page(s) 288 - Letters.

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