Empowering Choices: Why Gynecologists Should Refer Couples to IVF Specialists for Effective Treatment?
June 22, 2023

Gynecologists should not be providing infertility treatment for couples. I know this may be a politically incorrect statement, and many gynecologists will dislike me for being so blunt, frank, and forthright, but it’s the truth! Although gynecologists have always been the first doctor's women consult when they have trouble getting pregnant, infertility treatments have become increasingly complex due to advances in assisted reproductive technology, which means that many gynecologists are now hopelessly outdated when it comes to IVF treatment. Just like the treatment of gynecologic cancers is best left to specialists called gynecological oncologists, infertility treatment is best left to IVF specialists, and is not something gynecologists should “dabble” with on a part-time basis! I know many IVF specialists who will agree with me wholeheartedly, but who do not have the courage to say this on a public platform, because they depend on referrals from gynecologists for their patients, and don’t want to antagonize them by saying the truth.

While gynecologists can perform the basic workup and testing of the infertile couple, most lack an understanding of the nuances and subtleties involved in advanced infertility treatments. Consequently, many infertile couples receive improper care and waste valuable time going from one gynecologist to another, many of whom repeat the same treatment ( such as doing a laparoscopy or treating with clomiphene, or doing an IUI) procedures without any success. After all, changing the doctor but repeating the same treatment is unlikely to help you get pregnant!

Instead of receiving ineffective treatments from multiple gynecologists, patients should seek out an infertility specialist for IVF treatment if needed. It is crucial to understand the difference between a regular gynecologist and an IVF specialist since not all infertility doctors possess equal skills or expertise. Remember that the eye only sees what the mind knows! Choosing the right doctor is essential; otherwise, you might save money but risk losing your chance at parenthood.

Choosing the wrong doctor can be costly in the long run, as time cannot be regained. It's essential to explore advanced opportunities offered by IVF specialists. While it's a good idea to consult your general gynecologist initially, seek a referral to an IVF specialist quickly.

You don't need to wait for a referral since most IVF clinics have websites that educate you on their services, which are more extensive than what general gynecologists offer. Don't deprive yourself of these advances in reproductive technology due to an uninformed doctor, or one who refuses to refer you, because they don’t want to lose the income you generate for them.

Good gynecologists will refer patients to IVF specialists promptly because they specialize in IVF and do not provide pregnancy care. Once patients become pregnant, they are referred back to the gynecologist for pregnancy care – this is where gynecologists excel - as obstetricians.

This arrangement benefits everyone: general gynecologists, patients, and IVF specialists all play to their strengths. However, remember that you must also be proactive about seeking specialized care – you can’t leave everything upto your doctor, no matter how much you love and trust her!

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