Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fads , Fashions and Quackery in IVF

Because IVF is such a rapidly evolving field , there are lots of medical advances which occur on a regular basis.  Because IVF attracts so much media attention , a lot of this research gets covered in the press. Not only do the scientists want fame by presenting and publishing the work they are doing , the companies which invest money in devising new devices want to commercialize them , in order to earn profits. This is why they employ PR agencies, and send out press releases and hold conferences in order to get the message out.

We need to remember that not everything which is new is necessarily better , but the "advance" is presented in a very positive light. This kind of biased reporting fools lots of patients, who feel that the latest research provides a solution to all their problems . Marketing departments coin seductive and misleading names such as " embryo glue ", and patients then pressurise their doctor to use these .Doctors are quite happy to comply, because they can charge more for anything which is new ( even though it is unproven and has not stood the test of time).

The article is cleverly slanted , because it is provided by the company which is selling that service . Readers are not sophisticated enough to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff, and they feel that just because it has appeared in the press, this means the research must be reliable.  Sadly , health reporters also are often not expert enough to be able to provide a balanced perspective. They will often take the easy way out , and reproduce whatever press release the company gives them.

When we refuse to get swayed by all these fashions , some patients feel that we are old fashioned , and have not kept up with the times. The reality is that over 25 years of practise, we’ve seen a lot of these so-called "advances" come and go. We are not willing to use our patients as guinea pigs. We attend conferences and read medical journal, so that we are aware of what is happening, but we are also level-headed and mature enough to appreciate that just because some is new does not mean that it is better .

We are cautious and careful about what we introduce in our practise, and we refuse to use the latest "fashion of the month" to impress our patients.  We have learned that it’s better to wait until an advance gets validated in multiple IVF centres , before we will actually start offering it to our patients. Remember that every advance can also have disadvantages , and all these new procedures have a learning curve , which means that not only are they very expensive when they are first introduced, they actually end up reducing success rates when the doctor is still learning how to master the technique.

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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