Modern technology has helped bring people together from all over the world. Thanks to social media websites and online forums, people can easily communicate and share information. Over a third of the entire population in the world uses the Internet every day.
As most people have constant connections to the Internet, it does not take long to search for a topic and perform your own research. When it comes to medical issues, this research may not always uncover accurate advice or information.
With a sensitive topic such as IVF treatment, it is important that you get honest information and avoid believing common misconceptions about fertility. Before you join an online forum or community dedicated to IVF or infertility, there are a few things you should consider.
Forums May Lack Professional Advice
Many of the online forums and communities that you find are created by well-intentioned individuals. They are looking to connect with people who are going through the same experience. They want to reach out to other women who are suffering from fertility issues.
While the main purpose of these forums is often to provide support, many people rely on these forums for advice and recommendations. However, there is no way of knowing if these people are qualified to provide recommendations for your fertility.
As the people that manage and moderate these forums are typically not doctors or fertility experts, everything that you read should be taken with a grain of salt. These forums contain the personal opinions and experiences of people similar to you.
Anyone is free to leave a comment on some of these forums and online communities. While many of the people that leave comments do so with good intentions, there are also people out there who purposely post incorrect information. These people are often called trolls and they enjoy spreading wrong advice.
As infertility is a medical concern, the only advice that you should listen to with complete certainty is your doctor’s advice. While you can gain information from the people in your online community, you should verify any information that you gather with your doctor.
Spreading False Information about Clinics
Another danger of believing everything that you read is missing out on quality treatment from a qualified fertility clinic. For example, after an unsuccessful IVF treatment, a disgruntled patient may log in to a forum and spread false information about the clinic that she visited for treatment.
While you may come across false information about clinics, online forums can still provide a great way to review local clinics and find potential fertility doctors. When reading reviews and comments from past patients, you should look at the overall opinions instead of the opinion of a single unhappy patient.
If you find glowing reviews from multiple patients and one negative review, there may be other factors that led to the negative reviews. As with the advice that you find online, you should use caution when deciding what you choose to believe.
Forums Can Be Encouraging and Discouraging
You should also use caution when listening to other people’s stories. When another forum member has a successful pregnancy, you may be encouraged that you will get the same results. However, the same expectations can occur when you read about a forum member who experienced a failed treatment.
The stories and information that you read can provide both encouragement and discouragement. When you read these stories, it is easy to apply the details to your situation. However, everyone is different and what worked for one woman may not work for you.
The success stories and worst-case scenarios are all available on IVF forums and communities. Do not focus on the good or bad of these stories. You should remember that these stories are not yours. They are simply people sharing their experiences that may be completely different from your experience.
Receive Answers to Your Infertility Questions
Online forums and communities are designed to allow people to ask questions. In fact, most forum threads are started by people who have questions about a topic related to the forum.
You can receive answers. However, you need to remember that the answers may not always be correct. As discussed, most of the forum members are people similar to you who are dealing with fertility issues and seeking IVF treatment. You may not get an answer from a doctor or fertility expert.
While you may not get an accurate answer when you ask a medical question, you can receive honest opinions about dealing with IVF treatments. For example, you may ask other women about how they deal with failed IVF treatments or what they do remain hopeful.
Online Forums Can Provide Support
Online IVF forums can be sources of misinformation. However, they can also be a great source of support. When you join one of these forums, you can share your worries and concerns with other people going through the same process.
The support provided by these forums is also available any time of the day or night. When you are having trouble sleeping due to your worries about a treatment the next day, you can find support online.
You Can Discuss Your Concerns with Strangers
For some people, it is easier to discuss their feelings with strangers. Joining an online forum offers some anonymity. You can talk about your fears and concerns with people from all over the world. You may receive encouragement, support, and recommendations for coping with the stress of IVF.
Use Facts and Professional Recommendations
Always verify the authenticity of the information that you find online. Before deciding that a specific treatment is your best option simply because someone on a forum recommended it, you should discuss the treatment with your fertility doctor.
The bottom line is that online forums are useful but they can also provide access to lots of bad advice and incorrect information about IVF treatments and fertility. While you can use these forums for support, guidance, and research, you should never base your decisions on a single comment. Always base your decisions on facts and professional recommendations.