Monday, December 19, 2011

Does your IVF clinic have a full time embryologist ?

There are many IVF centers sprouting up in India today. This is because there is a huge demand for treating infertile couples. This is hardly surprising, given the fact that over 10 million couples get married every year- and that 10% of these are going to be infertile.

It's also considered to be a highly lucrative field; and all gynecologists today want to start IVF clinics. They have the space and the money; and are happy to invest in starting an IVF lab because they think this will be highly profitable.

The trouble is that they forget that the IVF lab is only as good as the person who runs it. This scientist is called an embryologist - and the tragedy is that there just aren't enough embryologists in India right now. This is one of IVF's dirty little secrets - embryologists in India are in very short supply.

Since it takes 2-3 years of full time experience to become an expert embryologist, many IVF clinics today rely on traveling embryologists to treat their patients. These embryologists are very skilled; but they are also very busy, because they have to serve many clinics all over the country. This means that they can spend only 1-2 days at each clinic

This is why the doctors are forced to do " batch IVF". They group over 20-40 patients together, and treat them all in this 1-2 day window period

While this works well for young patients, the results are terrible for older women , because the doctor cannot tailor make or customise the treatment protocol for patients with poor ovarian reserve - they are forced to use a "one size fits all " approach.

The major benefit of this approach is that it's much more convenient and less expensive for the patients, because the do not need to travel out of town.

However, these clinics typically have a lower success rate because the embryologist cannot spend enough time on the " difficult " patients. He may have to do over 10 ICSI cycles in one day - and injecting over 100 eggs in a few hours can be fatiguing and stressful. Also, it's not possible to do justice to difficult and complex procedures such as TESE for patients with non-obstructive azoospermia.

Also, since they have to leave in 2 days, they cannot freeze the spare embryos - these are often "donated" to other patients or discarded

The documentation in these clinics is also poor, because the embryologist doesn't have the time to take photos of the embryos

Finally, the quality control leaves a lot to be desired . The embryologist needs to depend upon a technician to maintain the incubators and the IVF lab equipment - and when these are used only an episodic basis, they are often not in optimal working condition.

Please ask ! If your clinic does not have a full time embryologist, you might be better of finding one which does !

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  1. it is the best source for infertility treatment... thanks for your post


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