Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Why you must make sure that your IVF clinic has A Full Time Embryologist !


Infertility is a growing problem in India. Reviews show that almost 10% of married couples need fertility treatment to have a baby . The number of infertility clinics keeps growing because of this rise in demand. IVF treatment is expensive, which is why many gynecologists start doing IVF, so they can maximize their income ( rather then refer their patient to an IVF specialist).  They conveniently ignore the fact that the success of the IVF clinic depend completely upon the expertise and experience of the embryologist .

The sharp increase in the number of IVF clinics across India means the demand for qualified embryologists has shot up. Sadly enough, this demand is not being met. The number of experienced and trained embryologists is very low, because a lot of time and effort goes into the education and training of an embryologist. An expert embryologist requires at least 2 to 3 years of hands on experience.

Because of this mismatch of demand and supply, most IVF clinics in India use travelling embryologists. They have a very busy schedule , because they are in such great demand !  They thus attend a particular IVF clinic for only 1-2 days in a month. The patients are grouped in batches of 20-40 patients at a time and the local doctors and the visiting specialist try to complete the treatment of all of them in those 2 days.

This procedure has both an upside and a downside. The upside is that the treatment becomes more convenient for patients , who don’t need to travel. The downside is that for the more difficult cases , and for older women , the lack of time and attention means that the specialist and embryologist cannot customize their treatment for these challenging patients. Thus, they cannot do blastocyst transfers, because they spend such a short time in the clinic. Also, they are not able to freeze supernumerary embryos, because of the pressure of work, as a result of which good quality embryos are often wasted ( or even worse, donated to other patients in the same batch, without consent).

Since a large number of procedures needs to be done in a short span , this means the embryologist can get tired and stressed. Also, the documentation and quality control in these IVF labs often leaves a lot to be desired. These clinics can get away with this assembly line system of treating patients, because patients do not know that this system provides suboptimal care. Also, the visiting IVF specialist and embryologist is positioned as being an “expert” – but the truth is that this expertise is of little practical benefit to the patient , who is being treated along with an entire batch of 20 other patients , because it is being spread so thin ! Patients naively believe that if so many patients are taking treatment together, this means the clinic must be good – but this is not true.

This is why patients need to find out if the clinic has a full time embryologist before selecting an IVF clinic . All good clinics all over the world have a full-time embryologist !

Past success stories can also be of great help when selecting an IVF clinic. You can review our IVF success stories at http://www.drmalpani.com/success-stories.htm

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