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Decoding the Confusion: How to Make Informed Decisions in Your IVF Journey
August 31, 2023

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One of the problems that plague IVF patients is the fact that the outcome of every IVF cycle is so uncertain. They never know whether the cycle is ever going to work – irrespective of whether it's their first second cycle or their fifth. And this uncertainty can take a huge emotional toll because they're never sure whether there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

What can they do to increase their chances? Will changing the doctor help? Will doing additional tests help? Will doing an experimental and expensive treatment help? There is a lot of confusion in their own minds – and the conflicting medical advice they get just adds to this. Yes, there are many websites about IVF, but most of them provide very unreliable information because they are purely commercial websites that are trying to sell their services to the visitor.

This is true even when they go for a consultation for a second opinion, because every IVF doctor has a slightly different treatment plan, and they all claim to have the highest success rate, which leaves the poor patient even more confused. Doctors tend to use a lot of jargon, and what’s worse is that they discourage questions because they don’t have time to answer them!

All this confusion leads to paralysis by analysis, because patients don't know what to do next. The good news is there is a solution! And you need to do your own groundwork. You need to spend enough time educating yourself so that you have realistic expectations of what is in your hands, what is in the doctor's hands, and finally what is in God's hands. And this uncertainty can be difficult to deal with because it's in one sense, perhaps the first time you're coming to terms with the fact that not everything in life is in your control. And there are some things that you're never sure whether you're going to get irrespective of how much time, money, and energy you spend. This can be quite a sobering realization because, for most other things in life, most young women get what they want because they work hard, they're educated, they're intelligent, they get the husband they want, they buy the house, they get the job. But this is not something that they can ever be sure they will get, no matter how long they try and no matter how hard they pursue the IVF cycles. And this can be a scary experience because it's perhaps the first brush with their own mortality. I think stepping back and taking a more philosophical approach helps and it's useful to use the stoic method and understand that the only thing that is in your control in an IVF cycle is choosing the right doctor. Honestly, there's nothing much else you can do because if you have the right doctor, the right doctor will do the right treatment for you and give you the right advice. You really don't need to do anything else. And if you end up in the clutches of a bad doctor, then even God can't save you. The good news is that it is possible for you to spend your time and energy choosing the right doctor because you can differentiate between good doctors and bad doctors if you take the trouble to inform yourself. And this is the one important thing that every IVF patient can do. And then irrespective of the outcome, at least you know that you have followed the right process so that you can have peace of mind that you've done your best and you left no stone unturned in your quest for a baby. Because otherwise, this can cause a lot of heartburn, especially when you find out you received poor-quality treatment because the doctor didn't do a blastocyst transfer or did not bother sharing embryo photos with you. And this regret can haunt you for the rest of your life. And the best way to prevent that is to spend time and energy focusing on what is in your control. Because the reality is that after the doctor has transferred the embryo into your uterus, then whatever is going to happen is beyond your control and his as well. Once you understand this, it will be much easier for you to have a pain-free IVF journey so that you can look forward to becoming a mother.

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.