Monday, January 31, 2011

Part time versus full time IVF doctors

Human oocyte with surrounding granulosa cellsMany gynecologists have started offering IVF services and at last count, there were over 45 IVF clinics in Mumbai ! The reason is because IVF is seen to be remunerative and profitable ! After all, why send the patient away to an IVF clinic and lose all that income ? Never mind that these gynecologists have never been trained in doing IVF or have never done a single IVF cycle in their life - after all, how hard can doing IVF be for a MD gynecologist ? Plus, there are now many companies which are happy to offer a 1-week workshop which certifies doctors as being IVF trained !

This is why we are seeing a huge number of " part time IVF doctors" in India. They spend most of their time seeing OB patients and gynec patients - but rather than refer their infertile patients to IVF specialists, they hold on to them and promise to do IVF for them. They will either take the patient to an IVF clinic and do the procedure there ( because they do not have the equipment or the expertise to do the IVF themselves); or they will invite a "travelling" IVF specialist to come to their clinic to do IVF on their patients, which they batch once a month.

This means that you are being treated by a doctor who is a jack of all trades and master of none. These doctors simply do not give their IVF patients the time and energy they need. Infertile couples are treated along with other OB patients and there is no acknowledgment of the fact that their needs are special . It can be very hard for an infertile woman to sit in a clinic full of pregnant women !

Since many of these doctors are gynecologists, they do not have the technical expertise or experience to provide IVF services. They have to depend upon imported IVF specialists who come from other cities. This means the care becomes fragmented, resulting in reduced success rates.

The sad truth is that beggars can't be choosers - and this is a useful service for infertile couples who do not want to ( or cannot afford to ) travel - after all, some service is better than no service at all ! However, if you want the best possible treatment, it's best to go to a full time IVF clinic. While this may initally appear to be more expensive, it may actually be far more cost effective because full-time dedicated IVF clinics have a higher success rates ! They are busier; more experienced; and have more expertise !
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