Can Skype help you conceive?
Sounds crazy, but as I just learned, the answer is yes.
The other day, I did my first new patient Skype consult. I spoke with a lovely couple, delightful, struggling with infertility and living in a country with many more restrictions about health care than we have here in the United States. Although health care in this country is suffering from many issues, we still have some of the best health care in the world. In fact, this is a critical part of the crisis — Americans do not want to give up the freedom to access the latest technology and the best available care for all.
Other countries have already made some difficult choices — hence my Skype consult with a young couple from a country where assisted reproduction is highly regulated. What were they seeking? Nothing crazy — just the freedom to choose a donor that looked like them. However, in their country, for various well-intentioned reasons, this was just not possible, logistically or legally.
They found a donor on the internet — where else? And after multiple emails that we only partially understood, we finally arranged our first “meeting” with the help of Skype. All the things that we couldn’t get over email because they just did not come across — this couple’s story, their worries, their concerns, their questions, my questions, my concerns, my advice, the interaction, the connection we needed from patient to fertility doctor that makes good medical care possible — came together through Skype.
I now know what I need to help this lovely couple have a family. I am optimistic, and they are too. We have a lot of work to figure out all the logistics. Many tests and preparations are needed before they fly here to visit and conceive, but we are now all a lot more comfortable than before our Skype meeting.
This is when technology is at its best — when it allows us to be ourselves, to be human, to connect.
So the answer is “yes” — Skype can help you to conceive!
Serena H. Chen, M.D., is Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey. Dr. Chen is also the Director of the Ovum Donation (Egg Donation) and Third Party Program at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas.
Dr. Chen is a board certified fertility doctor — she is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology. She specializes in hysteroscopy, and has pursued special clinical interests in PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), recurrent miscarriage, PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis), and sperm and egg donation. Dr. Chen’s professional interests have evolved considerably over the course of her career as a fertility doctor.