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(Friday, May 23, 2014)
Our clinic is only in Mumbai, and our website attracts couples from all over the world. Since many of them cannot afford to travel to India , they often request me to refer them to a reputed and reliable local IVF clinic for their treatment.
I am very reluctant to do so , for many reasons. If I suggest a particular name, this means that I trust this doctor will do a good job with the IVF treatment. However, it’s hard for me to be able to vouch for a doctor I have never met. It’s not that I am not willing to share information , it's just that it becomes very difficult to know how professionally competent other clinics are.
More importantly, I am a big believer in the fact that the chemistry between the patient and doctor plays a very important role in IVF treatment. Trust is an integral part of the doctor-patient relationship, and this is too important to be outsourced !
Because trust is so intangible and personal, the patient needs to find a doctor they can trust – and they can only do this if they search on their own. Sadly, patients often mistrust their instinct. They feel intimidated by doctors and do not feel they can judge their competence. While it is true that it’s very difficult to judge the doctor’s medical competence, it’s not difficult to assess their compassion and empathy during the consultation. If the chemistry is right, even if the doctor does not have a big brand name, this is something patients should factor in when making such an important decision.
Patients need to go through process of finding the right IVF clinic for themselves , rather than taking a shortcut and blindly accepting another doctor’s recommendation. While recommendations are useful in compiling a short list, you still need to do your own homework for yourself !
The questions patients need to ask are pretty basic. How well equipped is the clinic ? How long have they been doing IVF ? What is their success rate ? Do they have a fully staffed IVF lab ? a full time embryologist ? Does the doctor travel a lot ? Do they have an army of assistants who provide the actual care ? How accessible is the doctor ?
IVF patients have many choices today, and by doing their homework , they will be able to make the right decision for themselves. Here’s the process I recommend.
Interview at least two different IVF clinics. One of the questions you should ask is – Why should I come to you as compared to going to the other doctor ? While some doctors may take offense at this question ( which is a black mark in itself , because this suggests the doctor is not very confident about his skills ), a good doctor understands that patients are confused and need help in making such a vital decision.
They will do their best to explain to the patient why they the right for them – without bad-mouthing the other doctor ! This kind of personal interview provides valuable information – both explicit and implicit . If you get good vibes from the doctor and feel comfortable that you are being treated with respect , you can be confident you are on the right track. It’s true that all doctors are on their best behaviour during the first consultation, but how well they get back to you with your test results will give you a good idea of how well they follow systems and processes. Do they reply to your emails ? Are your phone calls returned ? You should test this before actually signing up for your treatment !
This means you need to use an intelligent mix of both publicly available information ( website, patient reviews, published success rates) and your gut feel when selecting an IVF clinic. Selecting the clinic which is right for you will improve your chances of success considerably !