Thursday, April 28, 2005

What went wrong ?

As an IVF specialist, one of the commonest questions I am asked is by patients who do not conceive after their IVF cycle - Why went wrong ? It is very frustrating for both doctor and patient when a young patient does not get pregnant after a "perfect" IVF cycle, but the fact remains that Nature is not very efficient at producing babies; that the pregnancy rate after a perfect IVF cycle in the best of hands is about 50% per cycle; and that why good looking embryos do not become babies is still one of IVF unsolved mysteries ! This often means we really cannot provide a satisfactory answer the majority of times, which adds to the patient's misery. After spending so much time, money and energy, the least they can expect is a straight answer to the query - " What went wrong ? "
This is true for all of medicine. Medicine remains an imperfect science, and no matter how hard the doctor works, outcomes are not always good. It can be hard to come to terms with this, for doctors and patients, but the sooner we understand our limitations, the better for all of us. We can ensure that the treatment process and care is good - but the outcome is still not in our hands.
However, if we do our best, at least we have peace of mind we gave it our best shot - and what else can a human being do ?

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