Monday, December 13, 2021

How the Indian IVF Law can put IVF Patients First !


I am very glad the Government of India has finally woken up and decided to regulate IVF clinics by passing the ART Bill .

While some IVF clinics are excellent, a number of shoddy IVF clinics have cropped up in the last few years , and every street corner in most towns seems to have an IVF specialist who promises high success rates !

Sadly, these doctors don't have the required experience and expertise to be able to provide IVF treatment properly .

These clinics are usually run by gynecologists who have never done a single IVF cycle during their medical training. Because they think IVF is highly profitable, they do a one-week diploma or certificate course, and hang out their shingle, ready to attract unwary patients.

Even worse, the IVF Labs in these clinics are run by technicians who aren't expert embryologists, as a result of which they aren't able to culture the embryos properly to Day 5. They often kill the embryos when freezing them, thus making a bad situation even worse.

The problem is that because the documentation is so poor, and because these IVF clinics refuse to share medical records, it's impossible for patients to determine the reason why their IVF cycle failed.

Patients are not in a position to be able to judge the difference between a good IVF clinic and a bad IVF clinic , so the regulation is definitely a step in the right direction , because it lays down the minimum equipment an IVF clinic needs to have.

However, an one important piece of information is missing in this Act. The Government should have made patient education compulsory for all IVF clinics, not just in the form of counselling , but also of explicitly saying that the patient's IVF medical records are the property of the patient , and the doctor needs by law to hand over the medical records at the end of the IVF cycle to the patient . They should also have specified that the records should always routinely  include photos of the transferred embryos, so that patients have documentary tangible evidence of the quality of the care they have received. Incidentally, this is a global practice which all good IVF clinics all over the world routinely follow.

This simple step would have been great for patients , because then they could have had much more confidence in the quality of care they would have received . It would also be good for good IVF clinics , which routinely provide embryo photos currently, because they know that the only thing an IVF clinic can do is produce good quality embryos, and they are proud to do this, because this transparency increases the trust patients have in the clinic.

More importantly, this simple step would ensure that the bad IVF clinics will be forced to stop providing IVF treatment , because they will not be able to comply with these regulations , because they aren't capable of producing good quality embryos.

This one simple step would put patients first , and helps the quality of IVF care in all Indian IVF clinics  to become world class 

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