Saturday, January 03, 2015

How do I know if my IVF doctor is good ?


This is always the million dollar question. While IVF patients know that the chances of a pregnancy depend upon their egg quality ( which is influenced by their age) , they also know that there is nothing they can do to make themselves any younger, and that there’s no point in fretting over things which you have no control.

However, the one key variable which you can control is the quality of the IVF doctor, and we all know that the experience and expertise of the IVF clinic has a major impact on your chances of getting pregnant. IVF success rates vary from clinic to clinic, which is why the HFEA and the SART publish IVF clinic league tables.

However, in India, it’s much harder for patients to judge the technical competence of the clinic, because this vital information is often shrouded in secrecy. What’s the poor patient to do ?

Lots of patients do a lot of homework when trying to select an IVF doctor, but how can you be sure he's any good ? Do you go by his reputation ? by how well his website is designed ? by the number of times he’s been featured in the press ? by an interview which he’s given on a TV channel ? by what your family doctor says ?  by what doctor rating sites say about him ?

For example, what should I do if the IVF clinic doesn’t freeze embryos ? The doctor claims that the pregnancy rate with frozen embryos is very poor, so he doesn’t believe in wasting the patient’s money on freezing them. Is he telling me the truth ? Or does this mean that he is poorly equipped and I should find another doctor ?

It can be very hard to judge the competence of an IVF doctor. The worry which every patient has is that if they select the wrong doctor, they will end up throwing their money down the drain.  While factor like how much  they charge and the clinic ambience and the doctor’s bedside manner play a role, the technical proficiency of the IVF clinic should trump everything else.

Here’s a little known secret which will help you judge how good the clinic is. Look at the quality of the  embryos which the clinic makes. This is why every patient should insist on photographs of their embryos after the IVF cycle . This is tangible documentation of how good the clinic is. Making embryos is the only thing a clinic can do, and if they make good quality embryos, this means the doctor has done a good job with your superovulation ; and the IVF lab done a good job with fertilizing your eggs and culturing your embryos. 

A clinic which is confident of its medical skills will provide embryo photos routinely and proactively to all its patients. This can be very reassuring to patients and is a practice which should be encouraged as being the standard of care.

What to make sure you've selected the right IVF clinic ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/malpaniform.htm so that I can guide you better !

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