When a couple combating infertility first approaches an IVF clinic, the initial step which is taken by the specialist is to diagnose the problem. Most of the IVF clinics follow a protocol while treating the patients and diagnostic tests form a key part of this protocol. These tests play a vital role as they pinpoint the exact problem and help the doctors to devise the most effective plan of action.
The issue however, is that how much is exactly too much, as far as diagnostic tests are concerned. Some patients might feel more comfortable with a battery of diagnostic tests performed on them as they feel that this would ensure successful treatment. There are others who are more aware, and they might consider some of these tests to be useless, which they probably are. The idea is to distinguish between the ones which are actually valuable and those which are simply waste of time and money.
Recognizing Diagnostic Tests which Actually Matter for IVF Patients
Evaluation of patients for being candidates for IVF is done on the basis of abnormalities in one or more of the four basic parameters, namely the eggs, sperms, uterus and fallopian tubes. As a result, the following diagnostic tests are done to test these:
- Eggs: Diagnosis through hormonal blood tests such as TSH, AMH, LH and FSH
- Sperms: Complete semen analysis
- Uterus: Any abnormality can be checked using vaginal ultrasound scans
- Fallopian Tubes: A basic test called HSG (hysterosalpingogram) is done for diagnosing blockage or damage
In most cases, all these tests are considered comprehensive, for the initial stages at least. For patients with more suspected complications or those who have gone through IVF failure, the doctors may prescribe further testing. Some advanced diagnostic tests for IVF patients are as follows:
- Sperm DNA fragmentation test
- NK cell testing
- Antiovarian antibodies
- Antisperm antibodies
- TB PCR
- TORCH tests
- Chromosomal study
Whether or not these advanced tests are required for a patient is a subjective question, which a fertility specialist is best equipped to answer.
Are all these diagnostic tests justified for IVF patients?
Every fertility clinic has a set protocol and performs diagnostic tests accordingly. However, bombarding the patients with a long list of these, right at the first consultation is absolutely not justified, as it may cost them a fortune as well as raise their anxiety levels. Also, there are certain side effects associated with some of the tests, something which can make the treatment more complex for both, the patient as well as the doctor. On the other hand, it is better for the doctors to be more selective and start with a few basic tests first and proceed with more advanced ones as the possibilities are ruled out by the method of elimination.
Here, it is essential to adopt a tailor-made approach rather than a standardized one, with each patient being treated as a unique case, with unique problems and unique solutions. The four basic evaluations, will in fact, cost only around Rs 10 k and be completed in just a matter of 10 days, making things a lot easier for the patients. And the best thing is that they will probably turn up diagnostic results for most patients too and treatment can be started accordingly.
It is seen that many doctors would order more tests as this means more money for them. At the same time, it is not always the doctors who are responsible because some patients would consider these tests as the benchmark of the specialist’s capabilities. They would feel that the more the tests ordered by a doctor, the more experienced and efficient he is; this attitude is sure to land them in troubled waters.
The key therefore is to approach a balanced, subjective approach to have the patients carry out only those tests which are required in their individual cases, according to their individual circumstances. While doctors need to be empathic in this regard, patient awareness is a must too, so that they are can save them from being misled.
Gaudium IVF is a renowned fertility clinic, where the focus is on getting success for the patients without confusing them with a myriad of tests and having them spend fortune too. Visit Gaudium IVF for a free second opinion from the award-winning specialist, Dr Manika Khanna.