Sunday, March 27, 2022

The dark dirty secret behind busy brand name IVF clinics


Most patients naively believe that busy IVF clinics which have a good reputation must be good because so many doctors refer their patients to these clinics for their IVF treatment.

However, the reality is very different .

Because they are so busy, these clinics often provide extremely poor quality care. Patients are treated like widgets on an assembly line, and their focus is to maximize their profits by treating as many patients as possible. They do many unnecessary and expensive tests, both before , during, and after the IVF cycle, so they can squeeze as much money out of the patient as possible.

However , they take so many shortcuts, that it makes my blood boil.

They routinely do Day 2 and Day 3 transfers, instead of blastocyst transfers, because their lab is not good enough, and their embryologist is not skilled enough. They do not provide any documentation, and insist on keeping the medical records with them, even though the Supreme Court has ruled that the medical records are the patient’s property. They refuse to share photos of embryos with patients, and will often transfer 3 or 4 embryos at a time , in order to maximize the chances of the patient getting pregnant and cover up their incompetence.

Not only does this mean that the patient has no spare embryos to freeze ( which means if the cycle fails, the patient has to pay money for a new fresh cycle, which is much more expensive than a frozen cycle), it also subjects the poor patient to the unnecessary risk of a multiple pregnancy . The doctor can then claim that the IVF cycle succeededand then charge even more money to do a selective foetal reduction in order to manage this iatrogenic complication ! Sadly, many of these patients end up miscarrying, and losing the entire pregnancy , which just adds further insult to injury .

The biggest tragedy is that these brand name IVF clinics continue to get away with this poor quality care, partly because there is no government regulation , but mostly because patients are completely clueless, and don't know what to expect .

They blindly trust that their IVF doctor is the best one, because their doctor referred them to the clinic, but the reason for this referral is not the competence of the clinic, but because these clinics provide the biggest kickbacks and commissions to the referring doctor ! These are the doctors who are often office-bearers of medical associations, and who throw parties for their referring doctors, to keep them happy.

IVF treatment is expensive and lucrative. As a result, most gynecologists and family doctors will refer patients to IVF clinics that give them the biggest kickback, rather than the best .

Most patients are completely clueless about what is happening in the background , and how much money is changing hands under the table .

If the clinic refuses to provide photographs of your embryos, this should be a red flag ! Also, any doctor who asks for cash payments and does not issue a receipt can’t be trusted. If he is willing to cheat the Income Tax Department , what's going to stop him from cheating you ?

Life used to be easier in the past , when people had a trusted family doctor , who was a part of the family. He had a long-term, lifelong relationship with his patients, and had a fiduciary responsibility towards them. He would send them to the best specialists , because he had their best interests at heart. Today , unfortunately , this entire relationship has become corrupted. As a result, the trusted family doctor has become a dying breed, as a result of which patients are helpless and vulnerable and get exploited all the time.

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