When a patient starts an IVF cycle, they rarely consider that they will have to go through more than one cycle to get pregnant. For them, IVF is their last hope. They know that this is the one technology that gives them the best chance to become pregnant and it is also their last resort. In many cases, they also pour most of their savings into this treatment.  If the treatment is unsuccessful, it can cause a great deal of stress and frustration; this is why everyone wants it to work for them.

Unfortunately, not all patients have realistic expectations of the treatment and when a cycle fails, it causes them a great deal of grief. Not every doctor counsels his patient well and in case the cycle is unsuccessful, the patient then vents all her anger on the doctor. Many patients then say that the doctor was incompetent or that he did a bad job.

Doctors are also partly to blame for the unrealistic expectations that patients harbor. Many IVF doctors overpromise and glorify the treatment to such an extent that patients feel their chances of getting pregnant are 100%. And if the cycle fails, these same doctors who promised their patients the moon don’t want to deal with angry and upset patients. The patients then feel that the doctor is a crook and that they have been cheated by him.

Optimism sprinkled with realistic expectations  

When this miffed patient goes to another IVF doctor for a second opinion, the latter (obviously speaking in hindsight), points out various deficiencies in the treatment protocol that was followed by the first one and this compounds the problem.

When a patient comes to me for treatment, I always tell them to be optimistic, but I also ensure they are prepared for failure. Most doctors are unwilling to follow this method of counseling their patients; they feel that if they tell the patient the truth, they will end up losing her to another clinic that will paint a pretty picture about the treatment they are going to provide. This is why they inflate success rate figures and manipulate infertile patients who are so eager to have a baby.

Things patients should do

It’s important for patients to conduct their research, maintain realistic expectations and keep in mind that just as an IVF cycle may work, it may fail as well; they also need to keep in view the fact that that it might take multiple attempts before they get pregnant. The minute they prepare themselves for these ebbs and tides, they will be able to go through the IVF journey with their sanity intact.

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.

Open Video