Sunday, July 06, 2008

Why are some gynecologists so reluctant to refer patients for IVF ?

As an IVF specialist, I am amazed by how often gynecologists will "hang on" to their infertile patients. Some of them keep on doing IUIs again and again - while others will do useless procedures such as laparoscopy or D&C or myomectomy.

Not only does this waste valuable time, it often means that patients get fed up and frustrated ; and lose confidence in doctors and in medical treatment, which means they often refuse to do IVF. This is a major tragedy, because they have deprived themselves of their best shot at getting pregnant, as a result of their gynecologist's making them waste their money and energy on futile treatment.

I am sure some of them tell patients not to do IVF with the best of intentions - because they do not want patients to waste their money on expensive treatment which may have a low chance of success. While I appreciate this attitude, I feel it is unfair and incorrect of gynecologists to make this decision on behalf of their patients. It's best to let patients decide for themselves. Yes, IVF is a financial risk - but it's the patient who should decide if she wants to take this risk or not !

Patients should never have any regrets that they left any stone unturned and didn't give themselves the best shot at fertility treatment. While the outcome of any treatment is always uncertain, taking the right treatment at a world-class clinic can give them peace of mind , and this can be invaluable ! IVF treatment can be expensive, but a baby is priceless.

A good gynecologist will explain all the options to his patient and will be willing to offer referrals to IVF clinics - and to adoption agencies as well. These are not mutually exclusive options - and the patient should be encouraged to explore all of them !

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