Exposed: The Truth Behind Doctors Hiding Embryo Photos in IVF

I provide a free second opinion for patients who have failed IVF cycles in other clinics, and one of the things I ask them is to share photographs of their embryos. However, many doctors get upset and agitated when patients demand photos of their embryos.

Here is what a patient shared with me – the excuse the doctor gave them as to why they did not provide them with a photograph of their embryos.

“ We don’t have a camera to click pic of the embryo, and it’s not feasible; and economically not reasonable to provide pics of embryo..”

This clearly suggests that this doctor is out to take his patients for a ride. He refuses to follow best global practices because he clearly does not have a good IVF clinic, and is not capable of producing good-quality embryos, and therefore he needs to lie to his patients in order to get away with providing poor-quality medical care.

Unfortunately, this patient has now become complicit in this deception, because he refuses to speak up and demand his rights. He feels helpless and victimized, and is just making a bad situation worse because he has trapped himself into taking care in a bad clinic, where he knows that the doctor is fooling him and lying to him, but he refuses to take the time and trouble to find a better clinic, as a result of which he will continue wasting more time and money, and getting more depressed and helpless.

He would have been much better off cutting his losses, and accepting the fact that he was cheated by the doctor, and now needs to move on. This is a sunk cost, and there is no point in making a bad situation worse by continuing with a bad doctor when you have finally learned the truth about him. Put this down to the tuition fees you have paid in order to be able to differentiate between a good doctor and a bad doctor, and then use this hard-earned knowledge in order to find a better doctor, rather than continuing treatment with a bad doctor who will continue taking him for a ride because he clearly does not have the patients best interests at heart.

I can’t understand why intelligent patients continue taking treatment in the same clinic, even when they had a bad experience there and don’t trust the doctor anymore! Is it just inertia? Laziness? Helplessness?

Even if the doctor has been smart and extracted money from you for 3 treatment cycles in advance in the form of a “ discounted” package, this doesn't mean that you should continue wasting time and energy in a bad clinic. Unfortunately, patients don't understand the sunk cost fallacy and are too scared to explore alternative options, even if these are better.

If you find you are stuck in a clinic that is refusing to share photos of your embryos with you, this is a clear red flag, and you will be far better off not continuing treatment at that clinic, just because you paid their fees, You would be far better off finding a new doctor, who will do a better job at treating you. You need a doctor who is transparent and will share photographs of your embryos , because this is the only way you will have peace of mind that you have received high quality medical care ! Otherwise , not only will you end up never having a baby , you will always kick yourself later in life for not making the switch to a better doctor . You will end up cursing IVF doctors all your life , but the fact of the matter is that many IVF doctors are good , and it's just a question of finding the right doctor . This is your responsibility , and you cannot afford to leave this up to chance !

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