Sunday, February 08, 2015

IVF Treatment: Chance, Choice, or Destiny?



Let’s face it - not every IVF cycle is going to result in a baby! So, to what extent does the outcome of the IVF cycle depend upon chance, or destiny, or choice?

IVF treatment has now been around for over 30 years. Over two million IVF babies have been born worldwide, and the treatment is considered to be safe and effective.

However, while the IVF treatment process itself is well-defined, the outcome of an individual cycle is always uncertain – something which seems to be true for most complex biological systems. While we are very good at making embryos in the IVF lab, once they are transferred into the uterus, we have no control over whether or not they will implant.

That brings us back to the main question: what affects the outcome of the IVF cycle? Is it chance, choice, or destiny?

Doctors and the patient's sentiments !

Even today, many patients in India will ask an astrologer for his/her “expert advice” in selecting the most auspicious time to do their IVF treatment. While many doctors will pooh-pooh this kind of irrational unscientific approach, I think this actually helps patients! It makes them more confident because they feel they are now using the right combination of science and religion. It helps them to cover all their bases, so at least they have the peace of mind of trying their best!

I believe it’s good for doctors to be open-minded and to accept the patient's personal deep-seated beliefs, whether or not they personally subscribe to them . I am not asking doctors to suspend their skepticism or start becoming irrational, but  by being empathetic professionals, if they can comply with their patients’ desires, it would result in happier patients! Patients are much more pleased when they feel that their doctor has lent an ear to their concerns and respected their desires, even if these are "unscientific." After all, who is to say what works and what doesn't? And even if it does not help, it cannot do any harm, so why not?

A matter of chance

What about the element of chance? This plays a huge role in everyone's life –and this is true for IVF clinics as well. We all have good months, when all the patients  seem to get pregnant. And then, there are bad months, when the pregnancy rate drops for no good rhyme or reason. The IVF process is complex and impacted by many factors, and we still cannot tease apart and isolate all the variables, no matter how good our quality control is!

So, does this mean that if the result of an IVF treatment is a matter of chance and destiny, then patients should leave everything upto the almighty? Of course, not!

Choose, and choose well

Choice still has an extremely important role to play. Infertile patients have to make many choices themselves – all of which can have a major influence on the final outcome.

First, they have to actually opt for IVF treatment, and decide when they want to go for it. They then have to choose which clinic to go to. This selection can make a world of a difference! It's important for you to choose to be well-informed and actively engaged as I believe this plays a major role in ensuring a positive outcome. Patient participation helps your doctor to design a better treatment plan, tailored to your needs, and well-informed patients can help to prevent errors and slip ups.

Patients need to speak up – and they can do this confidently if they have done their homework properly.

In testing times, always remember the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/malpaniform.htm so that I can help you improve your chances of IVF success !




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