Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What IVF patients can learn from Goldilocks

One of the hardest decisions an infertile patient needs to make is to decide which IVF clinic to select for their treatment . There is a bewildering array of choices , and patients are understandably confused .

Should they choose the clinic which is the closest to them ?
Or the one which is cheapest ?
Or the one which is the most expensive (after all , if it charges so much , it must be better ) ?
Should they go to the one their family doctor recommends ? Or is he referring you to a clinic because he has a vested interest in doing so ,as they give him the biggest kickback ?
Should they go to the one which is the biggest ?
Or the one with the best d├ęcor and ambience ?
Or the one which comes up No 1 on google or has the flashiest website ?
Should they choose the one which advertises heavily in magazines and on TV ?
Or one which they just read about in the newspaper ?

I'd like to make a simple suggestion. As with everything else in life, there is always a sweet spot with IVF clinics as well ! You don’t want one which is either too big or too small .  Like Goldilocks, you need to find the bed which is just right for you.
While a large clinic has the advantage that it has lots of people , expertise and equipment under one roof , it often becomes an impersonal assembly-line treatment factory, so that patients are often treated as being a number. These clinic are often very commercial , and are more focused on throughput and the number of patients they can see , in order to maximize their turnover , rather than on providing personalized hands-on patient care , customized to your special needs.

The danger with small clinics is because they don't see too many patients , they often don't have enough expertise to deal with rare problems over with complications .

Similarly, you want a doctor who adopts a conservative middle of the road philosophy. You don’t want someone who overtests and overtreats and offers the “latest” treatment, simply because it is the fashion of the month - you don’t want to be treated as a guinea pig, under the pretext of being provided with cutting-edge medical care . Not everything which is new is effective , and it takes time for science to realize what works , and what doesn't .

However, if your doctor wants to try out the latest stuff on you, you are the one who has to pay the price, because you may end up receiving lots of ineffective and very expensive treatment , just because it is new .

One the other hand , you don't want an old-fashioned doctor, who keeps on doing the same stuff he has been doing for the last 10 years, simply because he cannot be bothered to keep up . Thus if your doctor doesn’t routinely provide blastocyst transfer; vitrification; and embryo photos, you should worry a lot !

You need to find someone who has the right balance – someone who follows the Buddhist philosophy of the Middle Path.  Wise doctors understand that just because stuff is new doesn't make it better , but they are willing to keep up with the times , and provide his patients with the benefit of the latest advances after they’ve been scientifically proven and validated in lots of clinics all over the word .

They are not interested in being the first to do something , just because he wants a newspaper article - he just wants to be the best , and therefore provides evidence-based care , using proven well-established techniques .

Are patients sophisticated enough to be able to find the right clinic ? Here’s a simple short cut you can use to make sure your clinic is good !

Check to make sure they provide embryo photos routinely. This is something which is extremely simple to do - any IVF patient can easily ask for this. Good IVF clinics provide photos of the embryos to all their patients . This helps clinics to remain honest , and it encourages openness and transparency . Every good clinic does this as it allows them to document they have provided good quality care.

However, remember that this is a condition which is  necessary but not sufficient  ! This means that every good clinic does this routinely , but just doing this doesn't necessarily mean that this clinic is your best choice !

Need help in finding the right IVF clinic ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at http://www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so I can guide you sensibly ?

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