Very few couples would go to their family doctor if they were having trouble with getting pregnant, despite having tried for a very long time; however there are some that do. In case a patient does go to see a family doctor, the most important thing the doctor would have to do is understand what the basic problem is, and then refer the couple to a specialist in that particular field. In this case, he should refer his patient to the best IVF clinic, that has very good success rates and one that treats its patients well.

We live in an age of superspecialization; this brings up the question about whether a family doctor really has any role to play when it comes to IVF treatment. As I mentioned earlier, most couples will just go straight to their gynecologist or even to an infertility specialist. The general physician is given a miss in most cases. In countries like the United Kingdom, GPS play the role of gatekeepers; the patients are required to get a referral form from their GP, if they want to go to an IVF specialist.

The Role of a GP in IVF

In simple words, they can do IVF only if their GP is convinced they need the treatment. In India as well as in the U.S, patients typically pay for their own IVF treatment; and so they don’t really have to be referred by a GP. However, the latter do have a role to play. Take a look at how:

  • The doctor can counsel his patients in order that they understand what is involved in baby making
  • He will explain the various fertility treatments available
  • Discussion about the adoption alternative
  • Ensure the patients have complete understanding about the treatment and have realistic expectations
  • Do a comprehensive workup  of the infertile  couple
  • If the patients have complex problems, he should refer them to a specialist without  delay
  • A good doctor will continue to support his patients even during the course of the IVF treatment and can help with the actual treatment as well ( such as  giving the shots as and when required)
  • He can help prevent overtreatment by telling his patients what they shouldn’t do. This will keep them from wasting & money on tests and treatments that aren’t necessary.

Make a well-informed choice

One of the most important roles a GP has to play is to refer his patient to a good specialist- one that will treat the patients well and one that has very good success rates. The unfortunate part is that there is a very deeply ingrained system of kickbacks and cuts in India- this is how GPs end up referring their patients to second class IVF clinics and that’s the way, they both fill their coffers. If you are the one doing IVF treatment, this can have a negative impact on you.  It’s best that you do your homework and then select a good IVF clinic for your treatment.

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 at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you!

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

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