This review argues that optimal in vitro fertilization in 2020 should include a way of enhancing the delivery of treatment for patients and staff by the minimization of patient, treatment, and clinic sources of burden. Two specific sources of burden are addressed. First, patient vulnerability can be tackled by implementation of pretreatment evidence-based screening for psychological distress, appropriate referral for support, elimination of barriers to acceptance of psychosocial support, and implementation of a routine care flowchart that identifies the specific stages of treatment when psychosocial support should be provided. Second, negative patient-staff interactions can be avoided by training staff in communication/interaction skills, promoting shared decision making, prioritizing psychological interventions that address aspects of care equally problematic for patients and staff, and monitoring the impact of change on patient, staff, and clinic outcomes. In addition, optimal in vitro fertilization should ensure now that the future generations of young adults know what "achieving parenthood" actually entails in the context of the many desired goals of adulthood, greater variety of reproductive techniques available, later age of first births, and, consequently, longer exposure to risk factors (e.g., smoking) that affect fertility.
Keywords: IVF; Infertility; patient vulnerability; patient–staff interactions; psychosocial care.
Copyright © 2013 American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.