It’s not uncommon for IVF specialists to recommend expensive clinical tests which are largely unnecessary for their patients; however they are definitely profitable for the clinic. More tests mean more expense and confusion, with no improvement in the success rates. It often angers me to see the manner in which technology is misused in a number of front-running IVF clinics. Take a look at the different things that take place:

  • IVF doctors ask their patients to get immunology tests- these include ones for NK cells
  • They ask for other expensive and  complex tests that are just impossible to interpret or standardize
  • Many doctors send the samples to labs in the U.S. They tell their patients they do this to ensure that the results are reliable- Of course no one mentions that it significantly escalates the costs too
  • PCR tests for TB- gynecologists just love ordering these PCR tests for endometrial TB – and the results for most of these, show up positive- A positive result generally means that the patient has to undergo 9 months of anti-TB chemotherapy treatment which can be very toxic. These tests are nothing but a whole bunch of hogwash and after the traumatic experience most patients just give up the thought of doing IVF and having a baby
  • Sperm DNA fragmentation tests- This one’s another favorite- it’s also a test that no one can make head nor tail of. It’s a whole load of fun to order them, but they can burn a huge hole in your pocket. They also don’t give the patient any useful information. Many fertile men also have high abnormal sperm DNA fragmentation levels!
  • Using FISH to check the sperm DNA- this particular test has absolutely no clinical utility, but some IVF doctors use this as a tool to convince their patients   that they have “genetically abnormal” sperm.

Impressing patients

Karyotype and PGD are other tests that may be carried out as a routine by many IVF specialists. The more the tests doctors order, the more they earn. The other reason for ordering these tests is to impress patients. Something that sounds and seems so complex must be of some value in their treatment, is what many gullible patients feel.

Adding a lot of medical jargon and unnecessary scientific facts just gives the doctors an aura of omniscience, and portrays to their patients that they are after all the experts and that the patient has to simply leave everything to him.

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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