Causes & Treatment

Should I Get a Second Opinion on my Fertility Treatment?

Eloise Edington  |   25 Nov 2021

Whether you’re TTC or exploring fertility preservation options, you might be wondering whether to get a second, third or fourth opinion and discuss treatment plans, progress and hurdles with anyone who’ll listen (or was that just me?!). 

But how do you know when you should get a second opinion?  And what if you’re given conflicting advice?

Gathering information undoubtedly helps us understand what we’re dealing with but sometimes too much information (or too many opinions) can lead to confusion.

Read on to find out when to get a second opinion and what to do if you receive different expert advice.

Written by Holly Pigache

False Outcomes

When I was in my early twenties, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) – a condition that is not uncommon and is becoming increasingly prevalent. 

Worldwide, around 10-15% of women (of reproductive age) are given a medical diagnosis of PCOS and up to 40% of women experience some of the common symptoms such as irregular periods, increased hair growth, increased male hormone levels, weight gain, difficulty in losing weight and complications with the thyroid or fertility. 

Related video: Founder Eloise speaks with Dr Smikle from Laurel Fertility Care to debunk PCOS myths (watch it here).

After an uncomfortable internal exam, I was told, “I presume you know you have PCOS…?”  (No, in fact, I hadn’t even heard of it.)  When I asked what this meant, the technician replied, “it means you won’t be able to have children.” 

For anyone reading this with PCOS: Don’t panic.  This is wrong – a diagnosis of PCOS isn’t a diagnosis of infertility.

My instinct told me that this surely couldn’t be right.  So, following some frantic Googling and drawing on my network of medical family friends, I booked an appointment with a leading fertility doctor in my hometown.

After some reassurance and accurate information, I left feeling relieved I had sought out a second opinion.

A Funny Feeling

If you’re feeling unsure about professional advice, don’t be nervous about acting on that feeling.  We asked our Fertility Help Hub Instagram following and 40% said they looked for a second opinion for fertility treatment.

When undergoing private fertility treatment (or for those living in the US), the financial costs are high and you’re entitled to personalised care. 

Are you undergoing treatment through the NHS?  The same applies: your fertility treatment should be tailored to you and your circumstances.  Fertility treatment can be emotionally and financially costly, so endeavour to find a course of treatment you feel at ease with.

Strange Side Effects

Unfortunately, most medications (at large) come with a barrage of side effects.  Some might be more tolerable than others but this can vary between people – and what worked for one person may not work for another. 

Your doctor will probably say it can take some time to get used to a medication and its side effects but, occasionally, side effects can seem unbearable or to overpower the positive impact of the medicine.

If you feel the side effects of a medication are too much, speak with your physician – there might be another form of medication available.

Tunnel Vision

To (ironically) zoom out and look at the medical field as a whole: You see a urologist, they find something problematic with your bladder or kidneys.  You see a haematologist and they’ll say you have a dodgy blood-cell count.  You see a musculoskeletal doctor and they tell you your spine is curved or you have a slipped disc. 

When we see specialists, they are particularly trained to study their area of expertise and diagnose accordingly.  This is often a good thing, especially when you’re sure of your ailment or seeking specific treatment, such as assistance with conception. 

And although medical experts are experts in their field (and we’re utterly grateful for that), you’re the expert of your body.

When it comes to our bodies, we’re all different so it’s a good idea to trust our instinct.

At Fertility Help Hub, our network of trusted experts provides invaluable advice so if you’re seeking a second opinion, explore our network to have personalised care, just for you.

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