Friday, February 10, 2012

When things go wrong in the IVF lab

The IVF lab is the heart of the IVF clinic . This is where we nurture your eggs and sperms to make your embryos ; and grow these embryos carefully before putting them back in your uterus , to maximize their chances of becoming a baby. In most well-run IVF labs , things go as expected , because we are very scrupulous about making sure that proper procedure is followed ! Biological systems usually behave themselves and do what they're supposed to do, provided the IVF lab has the right equipment and the right expertise.


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  1. Anonymous12:55 AM

    Dear Dr,

    When something wrong happens in lab and the embryos die (for example like culture contamination) how will it be conveyed to the paient? Will it be conveyed at all? Because most patients do not understand what a contamination is? and who is unknowingly responsible for it (nobody will contaminate the embryo culture wantonly.

  2. Anonymous2:23 AM

    Dear Dr,

    Sorry, actually my previous question was asked out of extreme curiosity without reading the entire post properly :) I still want to put the question in a different way. There are so many things which can go wrong in an embryology lab from contaminations to dropping the culture plate down (I am sure extreme precautions are taken, even then sometimes mistakes happen unfortunately. To err is human...). So if such man-made errors occur how will it be conveyed to the patient? As far as I know until now no IVF specialist has ever dared to speak about it openly. Since this IVF process involves so much emotional and financial stress on the patients they will for sure be unable to accept any such errors at the first place. I know this is a difficult situation for people working in the embryology lab (no one will do it wantonly) and for the patient themselves. What is the wisest solution to handle such problems without people on either end getting affected?

  3. If the culture is contaminated or the petri dish has been dropped, someone has already been affected - the patient ! It's not fair to imagine that no harm has been done - and trying to cover this up just makes a bad situation worse. Yes, errors do occur - doctors are not infallible, and patients need to be mature enough to understand this. There's a lot of literature on the area of medical errors - how to prevent them; and how to manage them when they do occur.

    Saying Sorry often works best !

    Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD
    Malpani Infertility Clinic, Jamuna Sagar, SBS Road, Colaba
    Bombay 400 005. India
    Tel: 91-22-22151065, 22151066, 2218 3270, 65527073

    Helping you to build your family !

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    online at !

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    relationship at


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