Thursday, February 09, 2012

Are you unhappy with your IVF Doctor ?

I often see patients who complain bitterly about their IVF doctors , saying that they just didn't have the time to talk to them ; or that they never explained anything to them . When I go into their history , I find that they've done three cycles with the same Doctor ! This is something which I just can't understand . If you do one cycle and you're not happy with your doctor, then why would anyone in their right mind repeat the second and third cycle with that same doctor ?

When patients are unhappy with their IVF doctor , why do they continue going to him ? Lots of patients are happy with their IVF doctors because most IVF doctors are competent , proficient and empathetic – and they do their best to help their patients to have a baby. However, it's true that some are pretty bad ! They are either incompetent; or not very communicative or open about what they are doing and what's happening during the IVF treatment.

While patients can't do much about how their doctor chooses to behave, it is within their control to decide whether to go back to that doctor when the first cycle fails ; or to change doctors . Why do patients continue going back , even if they not very happy with their
doctor ? Some patients feel trapped - they don't know that they can explore alternative options ! Others feel the known devil is better than the unknown one – after all, what’s the certainty the new doctor will be any better ? The fear is that they may be going from the frying pan to the fire and that the new doctor may be even worse than the old one. At least this one knows my case and my details and has all my records ! Others are scared to leave because they don't have their medical records ; and are worried that if they go to a new doctor , they’ll have to repeat all the tests and spend all that money all over again.

Some of them fall prey to the sunk cost fallacy - we’ve already invested so much money and energy and time with this particular doctor , that it’s better if we continue sticking with him. Others have been taught that they need to be faithful to their doctor. They understand that it takes time to get pregnant after IVF and that it's better to stick to the same doctor even if he's not very good and if they not very happy with him, rather than to switch doctors.

One way of getting out of this hopeless situation is by encouraging patients to get a second opinion . This is something I think every patient should routinely do when the first IVF cycle fails , so they have a clear understanding of whether they are on the right track or whether there are other options they should be exploring . If the second opinion doctor offers a perspective which is different from the first , this means they now have additional options to explore . They can always go back and discuss these options with the first doctor - or maybe even switch to a new doctor , if that's what they prefer .

Getting a second opinion helps you in many ways ! The new doctor is likely to treat you with kid gloves and be on his best behavior , because he knows you're already taking treatment from another IVF doctor and are a potential new patient . He’ll treat you like a VIP and do his best to make sure you come to him. Even better , when your original doctor finds out that you gone to another doctor to get a second opinion will be much more careful when he answers your questions , because he knows that you may walk away and that's not something which he wants !

It is not always easy to get a second opinion, and we try to make this easier for patients by offering a free second opinion online. This is an option which costs you nothing and it's well worth exploring because at least it helps you find out whether you're on the right track or whether you should be looking for alternatives . And because we’ve made this so painless, you don’t even need to switch doctors if you like your present doctor !

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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:07 PM

    Dear Dr,

    You have almost discussed all the points why a patient does not want to change their IVF specialist or clinic even if they are not finding success or dissatisfied- but there is one more point from a women's perspective.

    Doctor I am not sure how most woman will feel. But all the gynaecological examinations and procedures are very embarassing and humilating. Even after undergoing many ultrasound scans, embryo transfers the thought of sitting in that chair with legs on stirups makes me really uncomfortable to the point of crying. The muscles get stiffened up and I panic every time. Sometimes I could not even talk at that moment. I could feel my legs shivering uncontrolably during the procedure and after that. Horrible! But once you go to a particular doctor everytime you start feeling comfortable at one point and you feel less tensed. This is also one main point why I didn't want to change my IVF specialist.

    But in your clinic I really felt comfortable. The way we are covered up completely(dignity preserved) and the help of friendly female nurses are something which I will appreciate always. The sperm collection room and the way we both are left together for sperm collection is also something we will always be thankful for. Not only a female but a male too suffers from these kind of emotions when left in a room with a cup and some explicit pictures :)

    Thank you :)

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