The happiness associated with helping couples have babies is one obvious great aspect of my particular field of work. Another great thing that is often overlooked is the chance to always keep learning. Working in infertility does not get stale because the pool of knowledge out there is always changing. In fact, the rate at which new discoveries are being made has continued to dramatically change this field every few years. The success rate of treatment is increasing. The available options for patients are increasing as well. I love the fact that the more I choose to increase my knowledge, the better job I can do for my patients. One way of learning is just through the experience of actually taking care of patients. A second way to supplement that learning is by reading. A third way is what I did earlier this week.
Two nights ago I had dinner at Derek's Bistro in Pasadena with eight other reproductive endocrinologists and two embryologists along with some other people who work in the field of infertility. The atmosphere was relaxed and casual. The food was good.
This was our second Journal Club meeting. Assembled in the room were a group of us who collectively were responsible for well over 1000 IVF cycles in the past year. We had all taken time to gather together for the purpose of exchanging our knowledge. I'm not exactly sure how this started, but the others keep telling me that it was originally my idea. I had once mentioned to the other doctors how nice it would be if we could get together in a non-academic unstructured setting and just shoot the breeze, sharing our own tips and pearls of wisdom gleaned from our own professional experiences.
The first meeting several months ago was a great reminder of the art of medicine. While we did agree on many aspects of management, what was more striking was the great degree of disagreement. For example, different reproductive endocrinologists present at the meeting, all with a long solid track record of successfully helping patients get pregnant threw out very different opinions on controversies such as the effect of intramural fibroids on IVF success, the right indications for prescribing metformin, the importance of weight loss in obese infertility patients. The debates were fun and friendly.
This week's meeting was more structured as one of the other RE's did a great job finding three recent journal articles to discuss. There was still plenty of lively disagreement. I am always open-minded and hungry to learn alternative ways to do things. In future posts, I will share specific revelations that I learned at these meetings that might affect the specific strategies I use in my practice to help my patients.