The Costly Truth: Exposing IVF Doctors' Deception and the Importance of Embryo Photographs

My blood boils when I see how IVF doctors take advantage of patients' ignorance and cheat them. Today, most IVF doctors don't bother to give photographs of embryos to their patients, even though they know that the only thing an IVF clinic can do is make an embryo. And they fool the patient, but because patients are completely clueless, they're willing to believe everything a doctor says. And what's even worse is they don't understand that not all doctors are created the same, and that bad doctors will cheat them because they're not really looking after the patient’s best interests, but rather their own, because their focus is on maximizing their income rather than helping patients to get pregnant by providing them with the best medical care.

The truth is ignorance can prove to be expensive, and this is why patients need to invest in information therapy. For example, a patient sent me a photograph of the scan done during the ultrasound-guided embryo transfer and said, This is the embryo that the doctor transferred inside me. Her question was - Is this a good-quality embryo? I had to explain to her that this was not a photograph of an embryo at all, because embryos are microscopic, and can be seen only under high magnification under the microscope in an IVF lab. What the doctor had shared with her was the image of the ultrasound scan of the embryo transfer, and because the embryos are so tiny, they cannot be seen on the ultrasound scan. All the doctor can track on the scan is the air bubble within which the embryo is transferred inside the uterine cavity! Just because you can see an air bubble being transferred inside your uterine cavity during the ultrasound–guided transfer does not mean that the doctor transferred good-quality embryos!

And to add insult to injury, doctors provide their patients with a fancy computer-generated report saying they've transferred top-quality embryos and they call them 3AA and 4AA blastocysts. But because they don't provide any photographs, it's very hard to know whether these doctors are lying. My first assumption is that any doctor who refuses to share embryo photographs is hiding information from the patient, and therefore is most probably not telling the truth.

Ideally, you should confirm from the receptionist that the clinic routinely provides embryo photos to all their patients before actually paying for the consultation! And the good news is it's very easy to do this on a phone call before you book an appointment because you don't want a bad doctor to cheat you and take you for a ride because this can be a really expensive mistake!

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