Friday, August 29, 2014

When IVF patients have unrealistic expectations

One of the major problems we have to deal with in IVF is the unrealistic expectations which many patients have about IVF success rates. 

Infertile couples will move heaven and earth in order to maximize their chances of having a baby. They try to cover all their bases by finding the best possible doctor and going to temples and churches to seek divine intercession.

Because there is so much riding on the outcome of the IVF cycle, they are understandably  distraught when the cycle fails. They let their emotions colour their logic, and start looking for alternative options.

Aggressive patients , who naively believe that medical technology can solve all problems , will look for more “ advanced “ and technically sophisticated solutions, such as PGD using CCS or NGS . Others who are more spiritual will go on fasts in the hope that their next cycle will result in a deeply longed for baby.

However , these are unrealistic expectations . There are no guarantees in life , and human reproduction remains inefficient , no matter whether it's done in an IVF lab , or in the bedroom . It’s important that patients learn to have realistic expectations , and understand that while we can control the process , we cannot control the outcome.

In a good clinic, we can ensure that the quality of care provided is of the highest level . However, the outcome is always uncertain . Even though Sachin Tendulkar was a great batsman, this didn’t mean that he always scored a century every time he went out to bat.

The problem with IVF is that it is fill of complex biological variables which we still don't have a good handle . A far more realistic and sensible approach is to focus on the process , and accept the fact that once you've done your homework and performed the process properly, you have no control over the final outcome . This is true for patients and for doctors as well , and once we learn to be humble , it's easier to deal with the ups and downs of an IVF cycle.

The problem is that patients are very vulnerable and they don’t want to listen to the truth. They want guarantees, and it’s very easy for unethical doctors to exploit these hopes by overpromising, so that they sign up for the IVF treatment.

Want an honest opinion about your chances of IVF success ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at so I can guide you sensibly ?

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