Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Scientific quackery in IVF.

When we think of quacks, we think of unqualified doctors holed up in dingy rooms in slums and villages who give colourful injections, herbs , placebos and potions to illiterate patients .  We believe that it's easy for them to fool illiterate poor patients, who don't know any better; and that we are safe, because we go to sophisticated doctors who practise in gleaming 5-star hospitals.

However, quackery is far more prevalent than you realise, and lots of highly qualified medical specialists engage in quackery  as well. They label it " cutting-edge treatment" , but the truth is that a lot of things which many specialists prescribe do are not scientifically sound. They are not based on evidence-based medicine, and are really quackery in disguise, because they remain unproven. Just dressing it up in medical jargon doesn't change anything !

They take their patients for a ride by telling them that this is the newest and latest advance, which is why other doctors do not prescribe it - the impression being that other doctors are hopelessly obsolete and clueless.  They harp on the fact that this is the most modern technology, without explaining to patients that it has never been subjected to controlled clinical trials ; and never been documented to be useful by objective medical professionals.

Lots of IVF specialists use their patients as guinea pigs, in the sense they base their treatment plan on personal anecdotal success stories. Because patients are very emotionally vulnerable, they don't ask too many questions. Most are scared to challenge their doctor, and they pretty much toe the line blindly - after all, isn't their doctor a world-renowned expert ? He knows what he is doing, so aren't they supposed to do what the doctor tells them to?

Sadly, this unquestioning trust often backfires.  We've seen many patients who have wasted years of their life on toxic anti-TB treatment for " endometrial tuberculosis" ; have had unnecessary surgical procedures like a hysteroscopic metroplasty performed on them to correct an uterine cavity whose shape is slightly different ( but is completely normal) ; and whose husbands have taken all kinds of treatments for improving their sperm count. These "treatments" don't work - and actually reduce their fertility, because they end up wasting their time, money, and energy. They no longer have any confidence in any IVF doctor because of their bad experiences.

This is why so many IVF patients have such a poor opinion about IVF clinics. It's not just the fact that their  IVF treatment failed - it's that a lot of it was done without adequate counselling or explanation . When they finally get around to seeking a second opinion , or doing some independent homework for themselves on the web at reliable sites such as the Mayo Clinic website, they realize that they were subjected to lots of unnecessary, very expensive treatments which were never called for in the first place.

What really upsets them is that the doctor not share the truth with them. If the doctor had been upfront and honest and said, "This is experimental treatment which has not been proven, but I've had good success rates with it, which is why I think it's worth trying," then that's completely different.  Sadly most IVF doctors don't have the time to explain things properly to their patients. They tell the patient what they do, and they expect that the patient will obey them blindly, without asking too many awkward questions. This is why IVF quackery continues to flourish.

Yes, you should trust your doctor, but please verify from independent sources whether his advice is medically sound - you have too much at stake !

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

1 comment:

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