Did your fertility doctor write a book?

Recently, a friend started going to a fertility doctor who wrote a book. It’s for popular audiences, the sort of thing you’d promote on your talk show appearances.

This friend did research and made appointments with several doctors before selecting the one in whose hands she would place her reproductive fate. All the prospective doctors wrote books, which she read.

According to healthgrades.com, Dr. Stein’s most recent scholarly publication was in 2006. His recent piece on manipulation of success rates, which I’ve mentioned in this blog before, was posted on the clinic’s website, not in a scholarly journal. Sort of like your mother’s fridge vs. the Whitney Biennial.

Oh dear, I thought. If I’d had the good sense to go to a doctor with a book, I’d be smearing zinc oxide on a toddler’s butt instead of blogging about smearing zinc oxide on a toddler’s butt.

To be sure, I rarely question Dr. Stein’s medical prowess. I’ve speculated about his emotional life, sure.  I’ve concocted elaborate fantasies that I am the subject of the Stein family’s Thanksgiving dinner discussion.

But I do not allow myself to contemplate that a different doctor might bring a different outcome. This is an important rule. It has immunized me against unsolicited advice, of which there is much.

Sometimes it seems that everyone has a cousin who has a roommate whose fertility doctor’s wizardry knows no bounds. Do I want that doctor’s number? Perhaps the cousin’s roommate could help secure an appointment.

For a long time I told myself that we’d conceive with Dr. Stein’s help. It was just a matter of how and when. I tossed those other doctors’ phone numbers in the garbage.

Then, after the first failed IVF cycle, my confidence waned, just a little. This might not work, I thought.

But I remained eminently reasonable. We’d end these efforts after two tries. No second opinions, no extreme measures.  (“Extreme measures” of course, is a moving target. It’s always one step away, the fertility intervention that we haven’t tried yet.)

I still trust Dr. Stein’s competence and skill. It’s myself, I think, who I trust less. For now,  maybe I will start holding on to those numbers.

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