This post (and future posts), will be about the challenges I face in getting my mental health needs met, that is specifically that I need another person present, during IVF procedures.
If you haven’t read part 1, catch up on the story here.
Just like the previous post, I am going to pre-empt this by saying the staff at The Fertility Centre – Sunshine Coast have been wonderful, kind and polite! I don’t have anything negative to say about their service, other than it hasn’t been able to accommodate what I need yet.
This is part 2. In the previous post, I walked you through the joy and subsequent devastation/anxiety/panic that came when the nurse said no, Husband couldn’t be present for the 2 procedures.
After that first appointment, I went home and talked things through with the ever-patient husband. After a few days I emailed the clinic…
Hi Emily, (Emily is a very nice, polite and professional person there)
Could you please forward my following follow up query to the nurse I spoke with today? I’m sorry, I’ve already forgotten her name.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with (Husband) and myself today. It was great to hear the information first hand, rather than trying to interpret information from the internet.
I was pleased to discover things would work pretty much as I’d assumed they would, though there is a small hiccup that may mean I may not be a suitable match for your service. I say small, as it may seem minor to you but large and potentially devastating to me.
I’m concerned specifically with the OPU. I’ve never had surgery, never had any form of anesthetic or pain relief in my life except for neurofen. I’ve never been ‘drunk’ or experienced feelings I can only imagine as being helpless and unable to act effectively on behalf of oneself.
Add in that OPU isn’t painless (which isn’t surprising, I expected something), thus requiring Valium (something I’ve also never experienced) and I’m reluctant to proceed if (Husband) can’t be present. I didn’t expect that he wouldn’t be able to be present, that kind of threw me today. I accept that no one’s going to implant 2 eggs, but to not allow (Husband) to be present must be a physical/spatial limitation rather than a medical one.
I know myself well. I either need (Husband) by my side, or I need to be asleep (not supported at this clinic, I know).
I need someone I know and trust by my side, because when I start to panic/worry, I shut down and cannot make decisions on my own. I cannot advocate for myself or my needs. Plus I’ll be on drugs which, by their design, inhibit those same things. I don’t have mental health issues, I don’t have general panic attacks, it is specific to Dr’s/medical/dental. Not an uncommon fear.
I realise (Husbands) presence may simply not be an option in the space of a small, low cost, clinic, but before I give up on the idea of IVF I need to explore all possible options that I can think of. Is the springwood or gold coast clinic bigger? Is there an option to do OPU/fertilisation/transfer at another clinic? Do I need to go and book a consult with QFG instead and discuss fertility options there?
What are the health implications of triggering ovulation and then not being able to collect the eggs? I’m imagining a scenario where OPU is scheduled, the ovulation has already been triggered, and I simply cannot go ahead with the procedure.
I’m ready to sign and move forward, but I can’t in good faith do that without raising this issue and finding a resolution.
And then I received the following response
I understand that you have some concerns about the EPU and where to go from here.
The main reason that (Husband) and all partners are unable to be theatre is that we are performing a medical procedure, if something goes wrong, we need to ensure that we have the perfect environment in which to help the patient. I cannot say for sure, but nearly all theatres that are doing medical procedures would not allow extra people to be in theatre. We have the fertility specialist, a General Practitioner, two nurses, and a scientist in the theatre, and if something was to go wrong, we all need to be able to access the patient quickly without moving other people out of the way. It is very rare that something will go wrong, but it is part of our protocol that we do not have extra people in theatre.
I am not sure if Springwood or the Gold Coast clinics have a larger theatre room, but as far as I know, they would be operating under the same protocol for their theatre. If you wanted to have your EPU done at a different TFC, the whole cycle would have to be done through that clinic – doctors consult, scans, blood, etc.
You are more than welcome to call QFG and organize to have a meeting with the nurses up there to discuss your options. (Husband) would not be able to go into the theatre up there either, and as far as I am aware, he is unable to wait with you once you have been admitted. At TFC, he will be able to wait with you up until you enter theatre if there are no other patients on the list for that day (but that would not able to be guaranteed), then he would be just outside in the reception waiting room.
As to being unable to make any decisions on the day, all medical decisions are made and consents signed before you are given any medications.
In answer to your question about being unable to go through with the EPU, there are no real medical implications. The eggs would still ovulate from the follicles, and you would be required to abstain from intercourse as there would be a risk of multiple eggs fertilizing.
I understand that this information may not be what you want to hear, but I just wanted to answer all your questions.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at the clinic.
Now, see, isn’t that a lovely, polite and professional response? I can’t fault the staff there, they have been wonderful.
Problem is, those reasons are not good enough to exclude a person undergoing a medical procedure from having support. If I was giving birth, Husband would be there. Husbands are even allowed in theatres for C-sections. I simply cannot accept, that in this day and age (it’s 2017 for crying out loud!), that medical staff can’t make arrangements for another human in the room.
Anyway, a few weeks later, I received the following follow up email from TFC-SC and provided my response.
Hi Kate and (Husband)
This is just a courtesy email to see if you have thought anymore about a cycle with us. Look forward to hearing back from you.
Jayne Herman IVF nurse co-ordinator
Thank you for your follow up email. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like a cycle through the fertility clinic is going to be possible.
In order to undergo IVF, I need to find a solution where my husband can be present with me for the extraction and implantation. I’ve been advised this isn’t possible at your clinic.
Please let me know if this changes in the future and we can begin the IVF process straight away.
And I never heard from them again. So I guess they decided I wasn’t going to have IVF.