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When something bad happens in an IVF lab, we first need to a document the problem. It's important to identify what happened; and then to troubleshoot to try to figure out what went wrong and why.
The IVF lab is the heart of the IVF clinic . This is where we nurture your eggs and sperms to make your embryos; and grow these embryos carefully before putting them back in your uterus, to maximize their chances of becoming a baby. In most well-run IVF labs, things go as expected, because we are very scrupulous about making sure that proper procedure is followed ! Biological systems usually behave themselves and do what they're supposed to do, provided the IVF lab has the right equipment and the right expertise.
However, it's also true that sometimes things do go wrong. When something bad happens in an IVF lab, we first need to a document the problem. It's important to identify what happened; and then to troubleshoot to try to figure out what went wrong and why.
Unfortunately, many IVF clinics will try to hide the fact that something bad has happened. They will often not share this information with the patient and try to cover it up . This causes harm both to the patient and to the IVF clinic, because they fail to learn from their errors.
There is a long list of things which can go wrong in an IVF lab . For example, eggs may fail to fertilize after IVF; the eggs may get damaged after ICSI; the embryos may fail to divide in vitro; they may not divide as fast as expected; the culture medium can get infected as a result of which the embryos may die; sometimes samples get lost or mixed up; or samples get mixed up with another patient's, because of labeling errors or clerical problems .
It's important to be aware of all the possible things which can go wrong, so we can institute safeguards and processes to prevent these mistakes from occurring. If a mistake does occur
(this happens very rarely in well-run labs), it's important to document this; to report it to seniors; and then try to figure out what went wrong; and what we can do in order to fix the problem. It's important to level with patients and tell them exactly what happened; and provide a possible explanation is to why it could have happened.
Sometimes the honest truth is we don't know why bad things happen. For example, you may do five IVF treatments on one day, and out of these five patients, four will do well and for some unexplained reason, the fifth one doesn't . Sometimes hard to pinpoint what the problem is. This is just one of those facts of life and with increasing experience and expertise it becomes possible to troubleshoot and identify problems more accurately. It's important that these be carefully documented - preferably with photographs; and shared with patients, so that they know exactly what happened . More importantly, we can help them try to figure out what to do differently the next time around, in order to increase their chances of having a baby in their next cycle, even if we can't fix the problem in this particular cycle. It can be hard to tell patients the truth when something goes wrong, but it's far better to be honest and upfront. Patients may get upset, but they will appreciate the fact that you told them the truth.