Friday, September 18, 2009

Signs of a bad IVF clinic

IVF has become a big business today.

How can you protect yourself from poorly equipped inexperienced doctors, who set up IVF clinics just to make money ?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Just going by a clinic's reputation does not help ( some big name clinics are just money making mills) - and neither does checking its "success rates", because it's so easy to game these.

I feel the only effective solution is to be well-informed about what an IVF treatment cycle involves, so that you know the clinic you select provides state of the art technology.

Do they cryopreserve embryos ? Do they offer vitrification ?
Do they offer blastocyst transfer ?
Do they provide photographic documentation of your embryos ?
Do they offer PGD ( preimplantation genetic diagnosis) ?

Here are some of the red flags which should warn you the clinic may not be very good.

They depend upon a doctor who travels to the clinic for a few days every month to do the clinical procedures
They perform less than 100 IVF cycles every year
They do not have a full-time embryologist
They "batch patients" because they don't have the required expertise in-house and need to "import" qualified people for the treatment
They do not document their medical treatment protocols
They do not provide you with a medical treatment summary
They do not answer your questions
They do not provide you with photographs of your embryos

I feel the last is critically important. While the clinical outcome of an IVF cycle is always uncertain, since doctors cannot control embryo implantation, producing good quality embryos is a function of the IVF clinic, and correlates directly with the skill and expertise of the IVF lab Good IVF clinics take pride in their skills - and by documenting the embryos they produce in their lab, they can show their patients that they are transparent and skilled !

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