One of the manor decisions infertile patients need to make is - How do I select a good IVF clinic ? Most clinics seem to be the same on paper, and their websites are very similar. Most have happy patients - and most IVF specialists talk the same talk - they all quotes high success rates and claim to be the best ! How is a poor patient meant to separate the wheat from the chaff and reassure himself that the IVF clinic he is going to is technically competent ? After all, while it's easy for patients to judge a doctor's bedside manner, it's hard for them to make a call about his clinical and technical competence.
After all, just because the IVF cycle fails this does not mean that the doctor was bad or the clinic was incompetent . After all, IVF has a limited success rate, and only about 20% of embryos implant to become a baby. A failed IVF may just mean that the embryos did not implant for unexplained biological reasons - and is not automatically a reason to change your IVF clinic !
One very important tangible end point which all patients can use to judge the clinical competence of their own IVF clinic is to insist that the clinic provide them with photographic documentation of their embryos. All good clinics do this routinely, for many reasons. It helps to document good quality of care - after all , the fact that the clinic made embryos means that they are expert at superovulation, egg retrieval and fertilisation - and good clinics are proud to display their expertise ! Making embryos in vitro depends upon factors which are partly in the clinic's control - while the outcome of the embryo transfer, unfortunately, is not . This documentation also signifies that they have confidence in their clinical skills and have nothing to hide. This transparency is very patient-empowering ! Equally importantly, these photographs are very helpful in case you need to get a second opinion, or to move to another IVF clinic.
If your IVF clinic does not routinely provide you with a written summary of your treatment cycle and photos of your embryos, then this is a red flag ! And if they refuse to provide you with these, even after you request them to , this is a major black mark against them - and is a strong sign that you should look for another clinic . After all, why should a good clinic hide anything ?