With IVF technology burgeoning and advancing at a rapid pace, most IVF cycles run as they are meant to. The patient grows eggs that are retrieved and the good quality embryos are then transferred to the uterus. Even if the procedure does not result in a pregnancy, the doctors show the patient photos of the good-quality embryos that were transferred.
The doctor and patient share a certain bonhomie, in the thought that the treatment was carried out the way it should have been. But this is not always the case. There are times when certain doctors will very fluidly lie when they are faced with an adverse situation - for example, when he is not able to collect any eggs.
The Reason Behind the Lie
Bad things do happen, and sometimes the doctor is unable to collect any eggs at the time of retrieval. In other cases, the eggs fail to fertilize or the embryos arrest in the lab. A conscientious doctor would be forthright with the patient and tell them the truth. Unfortunately, the unscrupulous ones will try to eclipse the truth with a veil of lies.
This may occur because the patients have not been counselled properly and they harbour unrealistic expectations of the IVF treatment. Many doctors resort to the tactic of quoting strikingly high (and bloated) success rates. This is bait and they hope that the hopeful prospective parents will bite , instead of testing other IVF Clinic waters.
But this kind of action doesn’t come without its repercussions; For instance, if there are any technical problems during the cycle, this tactic will boomerang on them. Different occurrences can impact the IVF cycle negatively- For example, a trainee embryologist might accidently kill all the eggs while conducting an ICSI. A power failure in the lab may result in the death of the embryos.
At times, an infection in the culture medium may affect division of the embryos. Some patients have cervical stenosis which makes the transfer technically difficult. The catheter does not negotiate the cervix and the embryos fail to be deposited in the uterine cavity. If any of these unfortunate incidents occur, it is ethically, morally and humanitarianly abiding for a doctor to be upfront & honest; avoid speaking in tones of grey and give the patients the truth.
Though some patients may take this kind of a situation in their stride- many will not, and upset, anger and resentment are bound to surface and boil over, and very rightfully so. Regardless of what misgivings the doctor has, it is crucial for him to be truthful; and this truth serves as a learning point for the patient and the doctor and drives the latter to do a better job with the next IVF cycle.
When Excuses Abound
But the reality is that many doctors will use the excuse of “abnormal sperm” or “weak eggs” as a smoke screen to placate their patients. But current-day patients are smart; they try to source more information about what could have actually occurred. They do this by speaking with other patients, asking the nurse & the embryologist and resourcing information online.
If they are smart enough and are able to figure out that the IVF doctor has lied to them, they are bound to be livid and many will also take to social media to make public the doctor’s wrongdoings. This can be a major blow to his reputation and will tarnish his professional and personal image.
The Power of the Truth
Therefore, is important for an IVF doctor to maintain transparency while dealing with his patients, but it’s equally important for patients to be proactive with asking their doctor to provide them with accurate information for every stage of their IVF cycle. Being well-informed is about having peace of mind that they have received the appropriate and high-quality care.
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