Gynaecologist & Endoscopic Surgeon

Be careful with “low cost” models of IVF

A reasonable part of my practice involves the use of IVF to assist couples in their quest to conceive.

Clearly, however, the underlying issues and reasons why IVF are required should be elucidated and dealt with before proceeding to IVF.  Recent times in Australia have seen the proliferation of a large number of IVF units with a commercial imperative to ensure cycle numbers are held up to maintain cash flows and profits for the underlying organization.  There appears to be a clear incentive to ignore many of the underlying medical problems and proceed straight to IVF without dealing with these first.

I have now seen multiple examples of patients who have either undergone IVF or had IVF suggested with clear underlying problems that, if dealt with, may mean IVF was not required.  One of the classics is endometriosis and despite having multiple signs of endometriosis these patients have been directed straight to IVF.  At times this may be entirely reasonable such as for example in those couples with poor sperm quality. At other times, particularly in the presence of significant endometriosis and severe pain symptoms this is probably not reasonable.  Whilst IVF is a great technology it should be remembered that it is really in its infancy and compared to the traditional evolutionary natural method of conception I believe it would be foolish to consider that IVF will compare equivalently in the longer term to natural evolutionary design.

Maybe if IVF has been suggested for you and you think there may be an underlying problem it might be worth a second opinion before proceeding to IVF.

Michael Cooper