Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Finding the right IVF doctor

Patients come to us from all over the country , and they often ask me if they can do IVF in a clinic in their own hometown. We’re quite happy to offer them this option, because it's much easier for them to take treatment locally , as compared to travelling all the way to Mumbai.  Also, it's quite likely to save them money. However, while it may reduce their cost, they don't want to save money at the expense of reducing their chances of success. A low cost IVF clinic may also be a low success rate IVF clinic.

However, the problem is that it's very hard for them to judge how good or bad the local IVF doctor is. Today, IVF clinics are mushrooming left , right and center. Every gynecologist seems to be starting an IVF clinic in every nook and corner of India. How are they supposed to judge whether the clinic is any good or not? This can be a challenging exercise - and they want me to make a recommendation . It's impossible for me to do so intelligently, because I don't know most of these doctors, so how can I vouch for them ?

Some will select a "brand name" chain of clinics, but this can be dangerous, because though they may look great on paper and on their website, often the doctors in these chains of clinics turnover rapidly , and the doctor who treats you may be polished and have a great bedside manner, but may have very little hands-on skill or expertise in doing IVF.

What is the poor patient to do? Here are 2 simple tips , but these will work only if you are willing to do your homework .  Ask the doctor direct pointed questions ( for example, Why don't you recommend a blastocyst transfer routinely ?) , and then see how well he answers them. If a doctor respects you and explains his approach, this is a good sign and suggests that he will continue treating you like an intelligent adult during the treatment. If , on the other hand , he gets irritated or angry by your question during the consultation , you should worry a lot . This is a red flag , which means he's not likely to entertain your questions during a treatment cycle, and may not be open or transparent or share information with you .Even worse, if your cycle fails , he’s quite likely to abandon you because he doesn't want to be bothered by your "silly questions" .

The second question patients should ask head on is - Why should I come to you and not Dr. X . This is a very valuable question, because it allows you to learn a lot about the doctor's attitude . If the doctor bad mouths his competitor, this is a black mark. A good doctor would be respectful , not only towards the patient , but towards other IVF doctors as well , and rather than try to out the other IVF doctor down , he will try to explain what makes him better or special or different.

With these two simple questions , you will be far better equipped to find a doctor who is right for you. The good thing is that you don't need to worry about how many bad doctors you need to eliminate in order to find that one good doctor - the one person who is right for you . Because there are so many options today, your ability to find the right doctor is high , if you're willing to put in the time and effort to do so. It can be a time-consuming exercise, but it well worth doing it , so that you have peace of mind that you've taken treatment at the right clinic.

Also, please confirm that his clinic is registered with the ICMR. This will ensure that they meet the basic minimum criteria laid down by the Govt of India. Every IVF clinic should be happy to share their registration certificate with you. If they do not do so, this is a red flag !

Need help in finding the best IVF doctor ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you better !

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