We did it! The first Cycle Forum just concluded in NYC!
As the clock hit 5pm on Friday evening we had access to the theater. Little no-longer-valid details gave way to a profound calmness that took over me and the participants of the show. It felt surreal to nod my head to roll the presentation.
Although I was there, its hard to gauge exactly what had happened. It was a kind of blur when time ran in slow motion. I saw people clap. The order of the show was perfect. One after another participants came onstage and delivered testimonies. The buildup came to a crescendo at the end, when a blogger’s quote played on the screen concluding with the signature: 1:45am- there was a unanimous gasp of recognition of those sleepless nights.
My cameramen said people were holding hands and crying. That there were more ushers and security in the auditorium that was necessary for the event, all listening intently. According to one behind the scenes report an usher who had 13 kids was captivated.
Seeing this general audience response gave me reassurance that I can translate the story in a way that could be understood by many.
I’d like to share the feedback Dr. Barad, the Forums participant, offered. It would be very useful for our readers to see the takeaway for a physician:
1) Fertility changes with age. Face it. Wait until you are over 35 to start trying and you may have a problem. Lets teach that to our children… make it part of sex education and part of popular understanding of women’s health through books like “Our bodies ourselves”. Half of my patients are coming to me over the age of 40. Please help reverse that trend and help put that part of our practice out of business. For many women age related fertility could be an avoidable problem.
2) Support the notion of early testing of fertility potential. Pediatricians follow children’s growth curves to detect problems early on. Physician’s follow bone density when there is a risk of osteoporosis so when needed medical intervention can be applied. Why not make testing of something like AMH a routine part of young adult women’s care. If performed more universally the test would become less expensive. Recognition that one is falling off the curve could be used to alert young women to a possible future problem with their ovarian function. This information will allow them to make informed choices about their lives.
3) Support social movements and cultural change that will allow young women to be productive in their professional and family lives. Workplace childcare, return of extended family configurations, or community services with trusted child care. Recognize that it is not fair to ask women to choose between professional success and a family. We need to find ways to do something about it.
4) Recognize and celebrate that there are creative ways to be in the world that have nothing to do with children.
5) Remind physicians that they are not just technicians fixing a broken instrument, they are people caring for people. Find constructive use of empathy to guide the doctor patient relationship. Acknowledge that to a large degree the discussion of boundaries in the doctor patient relationships are there to protect physicians. As a profession and society we need to find safe ways to return doctor/ patient relationships to a more person to person dialogue. If your physician can’t, at least to some degree, feel your pain, then he/she can’t do anything about it. Thank you for last night… reminding me of how harrowing and painful the experience of being a patient can be.
Thank you Dr. Barad for your time and empathy in delving into this controversial subject! Stay tuned for more updates!