Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How good is your IVF doctor ?


One of the biggest fears for any infertile couple is that they may end up taking treatment in an IVF clinic where the doctor is incompetent; or the embryologist is not skilled; or the equipment is not properly maintained ; or the quality control standards are inadequate; or the doctor is not available because he is travelling all the time, and the care is delegated to inexperienced assistants and juniors, who do not know much.

It’s perfectly normal to  have these worries and concerns, because of the cloak of secrecy which shrouds most IVF clinics. All their websites look exactly the same , but there is a lot of difference between the success rates of the good clinics and the bad ones. This is the reason why infertile patients spend so time, money and energy on trying to find the best doctor. While they understand that the outcome of the IVF cycle is not in their hands , and that there are lots of things which they cannot control , they also know that the one thing which they can control , and which can have a significant impact in influencing their chances of success, is finding the best possible IVF doctor.

Thus, while the patient cannot make herself younger, she knows that her chances of success will go up dramatically if she selects an IVF clinic with a high success rate, as compared to  another IVF clinic which may provide less expensive treatment , but which has a lower success rate . A bad choice can end up wasting precious time and money, and reduce her chances of getting pregnant .

The million dollar question is  - How do you judge how good your IVF clinic is ? Now, since every patient does their best to find the best clinic, every patient feels her IVF doctor is the best – after all, if she didn’t, they would never do an IVF cycle in that clinic.

This is a hard question , simply because doctors come in so many different shapes and sizes, and this is true for patients as well . Patients have different personalities and different needs, and each patient needs to find a doctor  who matches what you are looking for ! Do you need a high tech clinic, which does a lot of cutting edge research ? Do you want one who specializes in treating celebrities ? Do you want one which has a high touch, personalized approach ? Do you want one which is the cheapest ?

However, the one thing which is not negotiable is that you must insist that your IVF clinic routinely and proactively provides you with photographs of your embryos . No matter how great the reputation of your IVF doctor; no matter how charming he is ; no matter how attractive his website is; and no matter how many patients swear by his results, this is the one sine qua non of a good IVF clinic.

The only thing which IVF clinics do is create embryos in the lab, and your chances of success depend directly upon the quality of the embryos which the doctor can create for you. Once the doctor has transferred your embryos back into your uterus, whether they will implant or not is not something which he can control, because this is an in vivo biological process . However, good quality embryos have a much better chance of implanting.

The problem is that the reason for IVF failure can be very hard to determine failure can conceal a multitude of sins, including a poor quality lab. If your IVF doctor routinely provides you with photos of your embryos, not only does this prove that he has confidence in his skills, it also means that you can show this documentation in case your cycle fails and you need a second opinion . You should insist on embryo photos before the transfer. This is the one thing which empowered IVF patients should ask for, if they want to make sure that they have found the best possible IVF doctor for themselves.

Will your doctor get upset if you insist on photos of your embryos ? Good clinics do this routinely anyways, so they will be happy to do so . Bad clinics will get upset – but then why do you want to take treatment at a bad clinic ?


Need help in making sure you are getting the best IVF care possible ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at http://www.drmalpani.com/conversations so that I can guide you better !

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