FertilityIQ: The Conception


AllPhysicianJobs is dedicated to finding the right match between employer and employee. The search to find the right fit can be long, arduous and stressful. Just like you, Jake Anderson and Deborah Bialis went through a very different matching process. They had just gotten married and were ready to start a family when a doctor informed them that a prior medical condition would make the likelihood of Bialis conceiving very slim. After spending thousands of dollars on doctors and treatments, the couple decided to take matters into their own hands, and thus FertilityIQ was born. 

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APJ: How did you first get started on FertilityIQ? 

JA: We personally know how difficult the fertility process can be. After a few years of treatments, multiple fertility doctors and clinics, we were exhausted and frustrated with the entire process. We decided to quit our jobs to self-fund and launch FertilityIQ together.

We believed it was important to create the first patient-driven site with unbiased information about fertility clinics and doctors. It’s something we wish we had when we were first beginning treatments, and something we know other people badly need.

We found that fertility information on alternative sites comes from clinics rather than patients and the data is usually outdated or difficult to understand. With FertilityIQ, our goal is to humanize and demystify the fertility process, making the fertility patient experience less opaque, lonely and frustrating for patients across the country.

APJ: What was it like making the jump from your previous jobs, to this newer venture?

JA: It’s been a dream. There is simply no substitute for working on a subject you care about, with a person you love. And to hear from patients who have found success on our platform, and have had the chance to have the family of their dreams, is life altering. 

APJ: Why do you think there’s not much accountability when it comes to Fertility Clinics?

JA: In some senses, there is. Nearly every clinic reports into the CDC and SART. The problem is that data is old, incomplete, and to many patients, incomprehensible.Fertility is unique because it’s all cash pay, success rates on a cycle basis are low, and the subject matter is maddeningly complex with few useful educational resources. Taken together, this breeds a fair amount of patient anxiety and at times, distrust.

APJ: What are some of the characteristics you look for in a good fertility doctor?

 JA: The patient experience is extremely personal. What qualifies a doctor as “good” can vary from person to person.On FertilityIQ.com, we ask our community to assess doctors based on several criteria including communication skills, if they treated you like a human or number, results vs. expectations the doctor initially set, and so on.For one patient, bedside manner may be really important, so they’ll look for a doctor that fills that requirement. For another patient, that may not factor into whether or not they deem a doctor good or bad.

APJ: How do medical treatment and psychological treatment go hand in hand? How much does empathy play a role in choosing a doctor?

 JA: According to RESOLVE, 10 of the last 14 studies on depression and infertility suggest emotional states plays a role in outcomes. Given the role hormones play in the fertility cycle, there is a medical basis to believe emotional state may matter. Patients and doctors are unique, and finding the right doctor for the right patient is a matching problem. Most patients tell you they don’t care about bedside manner, only results. The truth is, when bad results come, most of the patients do care about how they are treated emotionally. A major focus for us is collecting personality-type data on patients so we can better study if they are going to encounter a doctor with whom they are going to gel, or where the chemistry is wrong from the get-go.

 APJ: How do you make sure the site reviewers are “credible” so that it’s not just a forum to bash doctors?

 JA: To ensure the content is trustworthy, we ask each patient-contributor to eventually provide some verification (e.g. a picture of a bill, or forwarded email from the clinic) to verify that they were a real patient of the clinic they are assessing. If a patient provides some sort of verification, his/her assessment is clearly marked “verified” on the site. The majority of patients on FertilityIQ are verified.

 APJ: Could you see sites like these dedicated to other professions? Surgeons, pediatricians, nutritionists, etc. Would you be open to expanding the brand to cover these professions? 

 JA: At this time, we believe it’s important to remain focused on fertility care and continue to grow our community that is looking for credible fertility information.

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 APJ: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a nurse or doctor when dealing with Fertility patients?

 JA: Get very clear in your mind when and how you are prepared to adapt to each patient’s needs, and when you insist upon a one-sized-fits-all approach. And be incredibly clear with your patient where you don’t think you can offer them what they need, be it emotionally, medically, operationally, and financially.

 APJ: What’s one piece of advice you would give to parents who are going through a similar ordeal?

 JA: Start taking control of this process. Carefully consider which doctor and clinic you are going to, and decide which strengths you insist upon, and which weaknesses you can live with. Once in treatment, come prepared and be ready to speak up. This is a complicated and fragile process, you are responsible for a lot of your own care and most clinics are not equipped to make sure you never fall through the cracks. If this truly matters to you, stay vigilant and be on your game at all times.

For more information on FertilityIQ, click here 

 

Author: Troy Diffenderfer

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