Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Why do so many infertile couples choose not to do IVF ?

Most infertile couples today know that IVF is the one treatment option which maximizes their chances of having a baby , because it has a high success rate . However, the fact still remains that many infertile couples who could benefit from IVF treatment choose not to do IVF. This is a shame, because they are depriving themselves of their best opportunity of building their family. Why do so many infertile couples fight shy of doing IVF ?

1.    The most important hurdle in India is the cost. A lot  patients might want to do IVF , but simply cannot afford to do so.
2.    Many are unsure because of the myths , misconceptions and delusions which still surround IVF – either in their own minds, or in those of their husbands and family members . Many people still continue to believe that IVF is unnatural and artificial – and that babies born as a result of IVF are abnormal or weak. Others are convinced that IVF is painful and causes a lot of side effects ; or that the hormones which are used for treating patients during the IVF treatment can affect their health .
3.    Ironically, doctors can also be one of the hurdles which stop couples from exploring IVF ! Most infertile couples will go to a gynecologist to take treatment , and a lot of gynecologists put them off IVF treatment , partly because they don't want to “ lose “ their the patients to a specialist . This means that they often waste the patient's time doing ineffective IUI treatments – or scare them off by telling them that IVF has a low success rate and will not work for them. Doctors can be very persuasive – and many will be able to convince these couples that IVF would be a waste of money for them.
4.    Other patients will often turn couples away from IVF. Patients who have failed IVF are full of horror stories , about how painful IVF is; or how much weight they put on after IVF; and how they did multiple IVF cycles and all they were left with was a big hole in their bank balance . Listening to these stories if enough to convince anyone that IVF is not worth doing !
5.    Finally , IVF specialists are also responsible for the bad reputation which IVF clinics have in India today. Lots of them don't take the time and trouble to educate and explain the truth about IVF treatment to their patients . When they want to lure the patient into doing IVF ( at the time of the first consultation), they talk very sweetly about their high success rates . However, when the cycle fails , they will often abandon the patient , so the patient naturally feels cheated and neglected. Once the patient has had a bad experience with one IVF, she is very unlikely to seek treatment at another clinic .

The best solution for all these problems is Information Therapy. Patients need to arm themselves with knowledge, so that they have realistic expectations of the treatment ; and are capable of finding a good doctor, who will treat them with respect ; and is technically competent.

Health insurance companies and the government can also help by making IVF treatment more affordable ! The Govt of India needs to ensure that its Family Planning programs also cover Family Welfare , so that infertility treatments are provided  in these departments. This will ensure treatment will become more affordable for infertile couples. The mission of the Dept is to create happy families – not just to limit the size of families . Helping couples who don’t have any children at all to have at least one will help to create productive citizens for their future !




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