When Unbelievable Results Are Just That — Unbelievable
Many IVF programs across the world offer high pregnancy success rates. With several doctors and clinics offering quality IVF services, some feel the need to advertise “proprietary” or “unique” technological services to try and differentiate themselves from other programs. Most often many of these “special technologies” do nothing more than to create a more expensive treatment for you the patient. This has now created a buyer beware situation for those struggling with infertility. We have put together a list of what fertility patients should beware of when seeking infertility treatment. It is important for all to be careful consumers and not be drawn into believing marketing gimmicks promoting almost magical solutions that only one clinic or doctor can provide.
Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT) By Any Other Name
PGT is an important test for many patients, and increasingly utilized. However, be wary of programs offering re-branded PGT, calling it by some other name and claiming their PGT test is superior to other centers offering PGT. All IVF centers performing PGT utilize established protocols and most often collaborate with outside testing laboratories (who provide the PGT results) which use commercially available and proven testing platforms. Even if the resulting is done “in-house” within the IVF center itself, the same commercially available testing platforms are utilized. If a center claims superior testing capabilities, ask questions as to how they can achieve “better” results compared to others. Some centers may claim they offer more result data, such as mosaicism reporting. This, however, is just a clever manipulation of result data that are available with all PGT testing. Unmasking or providing “more” data, is not always necessary for interpretation, nor does it indicate superior testing.
Video Does Not Enhance
More recently, technological advancement has allowed the development and availability of incubators that can video record embryo development. Watching an embryo develop is a marvelous thing to behold but offers no tangible benefit over conventional culture in an incubator without a camera. Some programs may market the use of this technology as superior, and may even charge an extra- premium to have your embryos cultured in an incubator under time-lapsed video surveillance. However, many peer reviewed studies have found no significant difference in pregnancy success between these two types of culture systems. Seeing an embryo grow is intriguing but realistically may not enhance your chances of success.
Read the Fine Print
You may read or be told about many new technological products or services offered as “add-ons” to your IVF cycle treatment. Often these are marketed as something that “may help” or “may possibly increase your chances of success.” If you are told such phrases know that they mean that there is no scientific evidence in support of the claims of success and will increase your treatment cost. Some of these products include special vitamins, food supplements, sperm processing and selection devices, special “glue” to add to your embryo transfer, and more. It is important to know that these products are of course promoted by the manufacturer for profit. However, many of these products may be embraced by an IVF program because anecdotally they believe there may be a benefit. Unfortunately, many of these “add-ons” do nothing but increase cost to a treatment cycle. Utilizing these products will likely not harm your chances of success, but really have not been adopted industry wide as enhancing your chance of establishing a successful pregnancy.
The Fertility Centers of New England will offer you the best scientifically and medically proven treatment options available. Our decades of evidence-based experience will enable you to make informed decisions with realistic expectations. This will ensure that you receive the very best care possible toward your journey to parenthood.
If you have any additional questions on what fertility patients should beware of when seeking infertility treatment, please contact us. We are here for you.