It's very difficult for patients to decide which the right IVF clinic for them is.  Even though they know this is a crucial decision, the fact is that for most patients all IVF clinics seem pretty much the same. Their websites are very similar ( and many sites copy the content from www.drmalpani.com !) ; they all boast that they have the highest success rates; the most expert doctors; and the latest and the best equipment.

Unfortunately, patients are not sophisticated enough to be able to differentiate between an IVF clinic which is good , and one which just makes tall claims. It can be intimidating to dig in deeper and get more detail, but here are some red flags  which  may signal that you are not at a good IVF clinic.

Some are pretty obvious. If they make you wait for a long time, this suggests they don't respect you, and you should worry. Similarly, if there is a lack of transparency about the fees, or if they demand payment in cash under the table, this is a red flag, because if means the doctor is corrupt and is fiddling their books. If they are ready to cheat the  IT officer, they will be ready to cheat their patients as well ! 

There are lots of other subtle signs which are worth looking out for. It's a good idea to talk to the other patients who are waiting - especially those who've come back for their second and their third cycle. They will give you some idea about how the staff treats patients.

Any doctor who doesn’t give you a written treatment plan after the consultation is not a good doctor, because this means he is not well-organized. Any doctor who rushes you into making a decision is a bad doctor. Many doctors will try to bully you into signing up for IVF treatment, by saying they have a special deal going on ; or that an expert is flying in shortly from overseas to provide the latest technology.  Similarly, some doctors use fear techniques to pressurise you into starting treatment in a few days. They scare you by saying that your cyst may burst ; or that your egg quality will drop dramatically if you don't do something quickly.  The truth is that infertility  treatment is elective , and there's no reason why they should be pushing you into doing it on an urgent basis. You should be on your guard if you think he is applying too much sales pressure.

A bad doctor will not explain your options to you ; and will provide you with only one solution - the solution which he thinks is right for you. He will not bother to discussing the pros and cons of alternative options. A good doctor , on the other hand, will encourage questions,  and will help you understand what's happening , without using jargon. He will be happy to clarify your doubts, and won't get irritated when you have queries. He will guide you to additional sources of reliable information, so that you can make a well-informed decision for yourself.

Good doctors will take the time to review all your medical records , and explain to you what each of the findings mean. Bad doctors are very fond of making a spot diagnosis, and this can be harmful. Thus , they do a clinical examination , and tell the patient that she has endometriosis; or they do an ultrasound scan and say, "Oh, your lining is thin, which means you have uterine tuberculosis" . They don't bother to confirm the diagnosis , or explain why they've come to a particular conclusion.

This can be very frustrating for patients. You want someone who will treat you like an equal partner - someone who will respect you and help you make the right decision for yourself, rather than someone who will tell you what to do.

It's not always easy to find such a doctor and that's why it's a good idea to visit at least two or three clinics before making a decision.  The chemistry between you and your doctor makes a world of a difference to the IVF outcome , so please do your homework !

Need help in getting pregnant ? 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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