BOOK REVIEW: Patient-Centered Assisted Reproduction: How to Integrate Exceptional Care with Cutting-Edge Technology, by Alice D. Domar, Denny Sakkas and Thomas L. Toth
Reviewed by: Luis R. Hoyos M.D1
1 IVF Florida Reproductive Associates, Margate, FL
In a manner similar to writer H.G. Wells, a renowned futurist and visionary, the authors of this book attempt to foresee advents in the science of ART for the coming years while exploring, teasing and enlightening us with a cornucopia of envisioned potential practice changes with the patient at the center of it.
This book is short but substantial, encompassing 13 chapters with a diverse array of contemporary ART topics not uniquely devoted to the science but also to other important and relevant aspects such as economics, access to care, patient and nursing retention, communication, integrative care and psychological counseling. It reads easily and enjoyably putting everything into perspective thanks to the contribution of renowned authors in the field.
A must read for professionals, and patients, involved in ART as it summarizes where we currently are while foretelling where we will be whilst keeping the patient as the center where everything gravitates toward to. For example, the chapter “ART Monitoring: An End to Frequent Clinic Visits and Needle Sticks?” discusses current innovations in the area of IVF monitoring, posing the idea of friendlier monitoring methods for patients in the future including salivary measurements or point-of-care microdrop steroid blood assays as well as home sonography for follicular monitoring. These innovations could reflect a more patient-friendly future in IVF which is also discussed throughout the book in other aspects such as the use of technology to enhance communication with patients. In this regard, the chapter “Using Technology to Enhance Communication in Medically Assisted Reproductive Care” highlights the importance of website content, social media, support groups as well as the balance between human interaction and technology.
From the point of view of evaluation and pharmacology, the two relevant chapters discuss the current state and implications of expanded carrier screening, personalized embryo transfer and medications while offering a glimpse into their future while telling readers what we should expect in the upcoming times.
The chapter “The IVF Cycle to Come: Laboratory Innovations” was of the utmost interest by tackling several of the current laboratory techniques and attempting to predict the changes that will take place in this area while putting an emphasis on innovation in automation, microrobotics, and microfluidics all combined with artificial intelligence and non-invasive genetics as an integral part of personalized medicine.
However, perhaps the most telling chapter was the last one “The IVF Patient Journey of the Future” where everything that was covered throughout the book was summarized into a hypothetical fertility journey in the future. In this hypothetical construct, we can easily visualize how all these anticipated tools work together to improve not only the efficiency, but the effectiveness as well as the friendliness of the future fertility clinic.
In summary, this is a very refreshing book to let your mind wander into the almost sci-fi aspects of our field. I suggest you read it and after finishing, I recommend you take a minute, grab a cup of coffee (or your favorite choice of hot beverage) and think…where we were, where we are and thanks to the succinct coverage of the authors, where we will be. What an amazing time to be a part of this field and have the opportunity to improve it for our ultimate raison d'être…our patients.
- Domar, A., Sakkas, D., & Toth, T. (Eds.). (2020). Patient-Centered Assisted Reproduction: How to Integrate Exceptional Care with Cutting-Edge Technology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108859486