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Non-IVF specialists

Posted Aug 23 2012 11:17pm
We all know that IVF specialists are infertility specialists who offer IVF treatment . Lots of infertile patients flock to them , because they are seen to be the court of last resort . They can offer lots of clever technological solutions to problems which otherwise could not be solved . either by conventional medical therapy or surgery.

Interestingly there is another breed of infertility specialists, which I call the non-IVF specialist ! These are the infertility specialists who specialize in trying to make sure that the infertile patients who come to them do not need to go for IVF treatment.

IVF treatment is expensive , and results are unpredictable . Many patients are quite scared about the side effects of IVF medications, and have a lot of worries and concerns about this. Also, for many patients , IVF is simply unaffordable , which is why there is a lot of scope for non-IVF specialists who offer alternatives to IVF. Just like you have noninvasive cardiologists who specialize in keeping patients with heart disease away from cardiac surgeons , this group of doctors can serve a useful purpose. However, there are some caveats which need to be remembered.

There are two types of non-IVF specialists. One is the alternative medicine specialist, who uses complementary therapy to heal his patients. These are the naturopaths , homeopaths and acupuncturists , will use the wide variety of therapeutic tools within their armamentarium to try to enhance the natural fertility of their patients.

The other group are the conventional gynecologists , who do not offer IVF treatment themselves, and will therefore offer alternative options such as aggressive medical therapy or operative laparoscopy or intrauterine insemination , in order to hold on to their patients, and not have to refer them for IVF treatment.

Both IVF and non-IVF specialists can work in tandem for the good of the patient. They can learn from each other if they have mutual respect . They need to understand that no one has a monopoly on knowledge . Thus. many nonIVF specialists understand their limitations, and appreciate that there are some problems ( such as a zero sperm count or blocked tubes) which are best served by IVF specialists. Similarly, many IVF specialists understand the limits of what IVF can offer, and will encourage their patients to explore alternatives.  A lot of IVF specialists set up productive partnerships with these non-IVF specialists , to ensure that the patients get the best of all possible worlds - this is integrative medicine at its best .

 However, unfortunately sometimes this can become an adversarial relationship , which cause a lot of harm to patients . Some nonIVF specialists will bad mouth IVF ; or will tell patients false stories about the risks and complications of IVF , to scare them away from IVF. Some of them seem to take a perverse pride is ensuring their patients do not go to IVF specialists ! They end up providing their patients with years of nonproductive fruitless treatment , as a result of which patients get fed up and frustrated . Even worse, they have deprived themselves of the opportunity of doing IVF when they were younger, and the chances of success were higher.

It's important to remember that these are not competitive treatment options - these are complementary.  As an IVF specialist. I will often refer my patients to acupuncturists and yoga therapists. I would not try to prescribe these treatments myself , because I understand my limitations , in that I do not understand much about these fields. This is why patients are better off going  to specialists in these areas, who have much more depth of understanding than I do.

Both IVF and non-IVF specialists can learn from each other , and intelligent, educated patients can serve as a very important link between them. They can share the knowledge, and provide a means of pollination, which increases the knowledgebase for both IVF and non-IVF specialists.

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