Why Seeing Photos of Your Embryos is Important

I do see a lot of patients who are walking into an IVF clinic for the first time; however, I also see patients who have attempted to do IVF at another clinic and have been unsuccessful in having a baby. It’s not surprising that these patients are extremely dejected as they aren’t sure about what they should be doing next. They are at our clinic for a second opinion and are seeking expert guidance.

Once of the very first things I ask them is to show me the photos of their embryos. Many of my patients look surprised and I get diverse answers from them, such as:

  • Are we allowed to see photos of our embryos?
  • I wasn’t aware that our doctor was supposed to give these to us
  • The most common response is that their doctor didn’t give them any photos at all

It’s crucial that as a matter of routine, IVF clinics should document & provide their patients photos of the embryos they make for them. An embryo is the only tangible that a clinic can deliver and the fact is that a good clinic will make good quality embryos. Once the embryo has been transferred into the uterus, it isn’t in the doctor’s hands whether implantation of that embryo is successful or not.

Why it’s important to have photos of your embryos

The one thing that a good IVF clinic can definitely do is make good quality embryos. Some of the patients tell me that their doctors told them their embryos were very good and that they trusted their doctor. Sure, it’s important that you trust your doctor and our patients trust us too. However, we give our patients photos of their embryos- this is good, not just for us but for them as well. Take a look at how:

  • Once patients see photos of their embryos, it gives their confidence a distinct boost.
  • They begin feeling that they are finally closer to achieving their goal of having a baby.
  • The other important thing is that the patients are then sure that they have received excellent medical care. Even if the cycle isn’t successful, the patient will never wonder whether the treatment she received at the clinic, was mediocre.
  • If the cycle succeeds, the embryo photos are the perfect “first pics” for your baby’s photo album.
  • Documenting good-quality embryos is very good for the doctor as well. It increases the patient's confidence levels in the doctor's skills.
  • The patient can see that the doctor is being open, honest and transparent, and is confident of his technical skills, which is why he's giving them photos of embryos, which they can show to other doctors if they want a second opinion.
  • If the IVF clinic documents the fact that it has made good-quality embryos, and the cycle still fails; it’s possible that the patient will go to another doctor for a second opinion (in the manner that many patients come to me). In this case, the next doctor will know that the first clinic was good. This increases the reputation of the clinic within the medical fraternity too.

If there are no photos, other doctors (as well as the patient herself) will wonder about whether the lab is competent enough or not and whether they are hiding something. Even if the quality of the embryos is poor, it should be documented. This way, the doctor would be able to tweak the protocol in the next cycle which will improve the chances of IVF success for that patient.

Not happy with the attention you are getting from your IVF clinic? Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form that I can guide you!

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