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Sunday, November 4, 2012

How I Selected My IVF Doctor !



Can you share your experience about Malpani Infertility Clinic ? This is the most frequent question I answer now-a-days. People who read my blog contact me and ask the same question in different ways. That is what prompted me to write this post. I hope it will be useful for people who are looking for obtaining good quality infertility treatment in India.
Dr. Malpani Review

When I started searching for IVF clinics in India, there were lots of doubts in my mind. I was really, really afraid to take treatment in India. I live in Germany and I have done 5 IVFs and 1FET here but unfortunately nothing worked. Doing IVF in Germany was not stressful. I do not have to travel to a far off place. The IVF centre is just 15 minutes travel distance from my home. I do not have to wait endlessly to get appointments because IVF centres are not that crowded here. I do not have to take off from my work and because of that I do not have to give any explanation to anyone. All is well and good but my IVF cycles didn’t result in a baby.  The financial and emotional strain was becoming high too. I started to realize that the embryo protection laws in Germany will not help me in obtaining success soon. Embryo selection is banned in Germany. The IVF specialists are forced to select embryos for transfer when the embryos are still in the zygote stage and the number of patients they got to treat is also very less. As a result, the IVF specialists here lack experience and most of them are not so long in the field of ART.  I know that the IVF laws in India are not as strict as in Germany. But to be very frank I am afraid of Indian IVF clinics. How good the clinics are in their profession? Do they follow proper guidelines and business ethics? Are they just money minded? Will they treat us with care and respect? Will the doctors be knowledgeable enough? How to contact them? Will they give a prompt reply? There were so many unanswered questions and so much of insecure feeling within me!
Dr. Malpani Review

During that time we went to India. We decided to visit an infertility specialist in my place. We took an appointment and went to meet that doctor. I was still in a German mindset then. I thought I will go, meet the doctor, get the necessary information and come back. But to see that doctor I waited from morning till late afternoon, almost 6 hours! There were so many other women waiting to see the doctor too. Whenever I enquired about the whereabouts of doctor, I was given some explanation like; doctor is in operation theatre she will come soon and so on. The reality of Indian IVF clinics and the way it is managed started to dawn on me. I could see my fellow patient’s agony. Their face showed so many different emotions – they were sad and desperate, worried and afraid! The long waiting time made them restless but they could not do anything to make their situation better – I really felt like a beggar and beggars can’t be choosers! In order to get rid of the loneliness I started to make eye contacts with the people there, smiled at them and started to chat with them. The women waiting there were so warm and compassionate. I could talk with them in my own language. Within minutes they started to share with me their infertility stories in a very innocent way. I will never forget those moments. Some stories brought tears to my eyes. I started to realize how better my situation was when compared to them. At last the doctor came. We met the doctor. She is a kind woman. When I told her we have tried IVF 5 times without success she just said try here once let us see. I could sense the hopelessness in her words. When we are coming out of her room I met the embryologist. I introduced myself and told him my story (5 IVF story!) and his immediate response was ‘why can’t you try donor eggs’? I was really gutted by that response, I forced my lips to smile, and my eyes had tears unable to bear that sudden emotional attack. We left that place with many more new fears in mind.

That was my first Indian IVF clinic experience. My DH told me ‘we are not going to that place anymore’. But I am ready to face anything (long waiting hours, unempathetic people etc) for the sake of my much desired baby. When we came back to Germany I started to look for IVF clinics all over India. I contacted few IVF specialists via e-mail but no one replied except Dr. Malpani! I could not explain my happiness in words. At last some Indian IVF specialist answered my e-mail. But even then I am not convinced. I was wondering, is it the doctor who replied or someone else replied on behalf of him. After this e-mail from him I started to gather information about Malpani Infertility Clinic. I saw their website. It had so much of useful information regarding infertility. I was impressed. But more than that Dr.Malpani’s blog helped me a lot – both emotionally and intellectually! I started to gain faith in their service. Can a doctor who talk about patient education and patient rights, can a doctor who spends so much of his valuable time educating his patients and in preparing patient education materials, can a doctor who understands his patient’s emotional suffering, do any harm? I started to mail him asking about my doubts and concerns. I always got a mail within 24 hours from him. He always gave a very crisp answer (mostly a single line) and it conveyed the message very clearly. I understood that he is very, very intelligent too! We decided to go to him for treatment! Dr. Malpani Review

But I found a complaint about him sometime later in an Indian consumer complaints forum. To tell the truth I was not upset about what I read. By the time I read that post I had been in frequent contact with Dr. Malpani through e-mail. I had satisfactory answers to all my questions. The cost of IVF was clearly mentioned in his website and his writings in his blog are very honest and truthful. He was concerned about the poor medical care patients receive; gets upset with patients who do not care to learn about the details of their treatment; empathizes with infertile women; and his blog posts showed many of his emotions very clearly without any pretension. I asked myself ‘can such a person even think of cheating anyone?’ Can such a doctor cheat his patients?’ Dr. Malpani Review

Even though, I convinced myself to go to Mumbai for taking treatment under Dr. Malpani, I was nervous too before my first visit. What if I see a very different environment in his clinic? What if he is a very different person-not like the digital avatar I knew through his blog and his e-mail? What if my nightmarish first Indian IVF clinic experience repeats again? I was afraid for sure. But I tried my level to be neutral in my mindset. I do not want to look at everything and everyone with suspicion – this will kill my peace of mind. So I went with a clean slate of mind. We waited to meet Dr. Malpani in his compact and cozy clinic. His staff are very kind and compassionate. I felt at home. My mind surprisingly was at ease and peace. Within few minutes we were called in to meet the doctor and my first fear ‘Will I have to wait forever to meet the doctor?’ vanished! Dr. Malpani Review

When I am waiting to see the doctor another interesting incident happened. There were two medical representatives waiting to see Dr. Malpani too. I was just observing and listening to what they are talking. One person asked the other "what kind of person is Dr. Malpani ?" The other medical representative answered, he is a very staright-forward and honest person. I was so happy to hear this; whatelese you want to know about an IVF doctor ? Soon Dr. Malpani called the medical representatives inside his room. I thought, now I have to wait another hour to see the doctor, because usually that is what happens when a medical rep goes into a doctor's room. To my utter surprise the medical rep returned within few seconds - I started to respect my Dr ! Dr. Malpani Review

I saw Dr. Malpani, in person, for the first time. He looked very respectable, he carried himself the way a doctor should ; and the way he took my infertility history showed his intelligence. We spent just 10 minutes with him during the first meeting and my expectation about a person whom I knew only through e-mail and his blog didn’t go wrong. But he is not as expressive as I would have expected him to be after reading his blog. I felt he is a bit reserved! Then we waited for the ultra sound scan . Just 15 minutes of waiting and Dr. Malpani saw us in the waiting room. He was asking the nurses – hasn’t Dr. Anjali come yet ? We met Dr.Anjali Malpani very soon. A very charming, sweet and expressive person she is! Within few minutes I felt I was talking to a friend. She is a very down to earth, friendly person who could provide you with immense emotional support in times of need.

So after this initial meeting half of my fears just vanished. The clinic is comfortable, the staff are very friendly, the doctors are knowledgeable and compassionate, they treated us well ad most importantly no long waiting hours!

I went to the clinic for further ultrasounds. All my doubts were answered patiently by the doctors. I always got to meet the doctors without any mediators in between. For blood tests, to measure hormone levels I just have to give the blood in their clinic and they transport the blood samples themselves to the lab where the hormone levels are measured. This is very comfortable and I was as comfortable physically as I was in Germany! I took all my other blood test results with me. So I am not asked to repeat any tests. I paid the amount which is mentioned in their website and to my surprise we received a proper bill for each and every penny we paid! Most Indian clinics fail to do this.

Dr. Anjali performed the egg collection. After the egg collection was over she came to the room where I was resting, and asked whether I was feeling better. She collected 24 eggs and 20 eggs were mature enough for fertilization. I was so happy because I didn’t get these many mature eggs even if I combined all my previous 5 IVF cycles ! The next day I got the fertilization report from Dr. Sai (embryologist). He said you have 17 embryos and all are looking good. I had a day 3 transfer. They froze 5 more good quality embryos that day. The remaining embryos were allowed to grow further from which I got 2 blastocysts. I saw all my embryos. I got the picture of my embryos which are transferred to my uterus. On the whole, my cycle went very beautifully and that is the best IVF cycle I ever had!

Dr. Malpani did the embryo transfer. He was continuously talking with me I didn’t even feel the stress of the process. He did it with so much ease without causing any major discomfort. When we are preparing to leave the clinic I met Dr. Malpani again. I told him that my mom and DH are compelling me to lie down in a particular position (always with my leg straight!), he told them, ‘please leave her alone, nothing she does will dislodge the embryos’. I was so grateful for the support he provided me.Dr. Malpani Review

My 6th IVF was again not a success. I was obviously broken down. When I mailed Dr. Malpani with the result of my pregnancy test, I received a mail in couple of hours with few words of comfort and those few words can mean a lot, especially when you hear it from the IVF specialist who has treated you. Recently I had another FET at their clinic , but this didn’t result in a pregnancy either. But I sincerely wish that my further attempts will be successful (My recent FET in Malpani Infertility Clinic resulted in a positive pregnancy test !). I know the uncertainty that is inherent in these kinds of treatments. But I am happy that I found a clinic where doctors care to give their best for their patients.

Still I keep wondering what prompted that anonymous person to write such harsh complaints against Dr. Malpani? (might be some of his competitor or an angry patient who failed in IVF attempt !) How could someone even think of spoiling a doctor’s hard earned reputation just by writing an online complaint? Why was Dr. Malpani was never given a chance to produce a rebuttal letter? Why don’t such online consumer complaint forums follow the basic ethics? People who wrote a negative review in that forum attacked Dr. Malpani’s character. They are not talking about a product, they are talking about a human being, a doctor who works hard to educate his patients and arm them with information therapy. A doctor who talks about patient rights and tries to improve the medical care they get. Even if they found his service defective or less than optimal they should have the guts to tell him directly. A good doctor will always be ready to learn and correct himself and I am sure Dr. Malpani is one of them.Dr. Malpani Review

These are the main complaints against him in the forum:

He cheats foreigners by collecting more money from them where Indian patients are charged less.
The waiting time for the ultra sound is high.
This is the worse, perverted complaint – he steals embryos, sells patients eggs and embryos!
He makes the patients come to him again and again by wantonly making sure that they do not get success in their first attempt!

Dr. Malpani has mentioned clearly the cost of IVF treatment in their website. If you are OK with the costs , go to them , otherwise do not. They give you a bill for the money you pay. If they collect less money for treatment from poor patients it is none of our business! They have a waiting time of 30-45 minutes for the ultrasound and it is a very reasonable waiting period. Other patients also want to talk to the doctor and the doctor’s time is taken only by a fellow patient! Dr. Malpani is in the field of IVF for more than 15 years. To accuse him of stealing eggs and embryos is the most perverse complaint anyone could have. When an IVF cycle fails it hurts badly. But it doesn’t mean that you can turn vengeful and write things which could tarnish the image of a reputable doctor. Every IVF doctor wants every IVF cycle to succeed as much as the patient desires! Every successful IVF cycle is the success of their entire IVF team. In short, many of anonymous complaints listed in that online forum are written with a malicious intent to spoil his reputation.
Dr. Malpani Review

I am a biologist. I hold a doctorate degree. I will not be foolish enough to go to a doctor who just works for the money I give. I am not even a person who got success after getting treatment from them. I am just a patient who got good medical care. I can differentiate between good medical care and bad care because my education. My sister is a gynaecologist too!
Dr. Malpani Review

Does Dr. Malpani cheat his patients? Definitely not! If you go to him for treatment:

You will be treated with care and respect
You will be informed clearly about your different treatment options
You can become a patient who is well-educated about your illness
You get the best medical care
You can see the doctors without the intervention of any mediators inbetween
You can get enormous intellectual and emotional support
Your IVF journey becomes less difficult
You can expect a good service for the money you pay
Dr. Malpani Review

I have written this article without any bias. One good side effect of the consumer complaint forum incident is that you will get much more care and pampering from their clinic because no doctor wants unhappy, unsatisfied patients! Personally I will always thank Dr. Malpani and their team for the good quality medical care I receive and all the emotional support I get from them. Thank you very much Dr!

I will be happy to answer your queries or concerns regarding taking treatment from Malpani Infertility Clinic. Please do mail me ! manjupadmasekar@yahoo.com

5 comments:

  1. Hello Manju,

    Thanks alot for this peice on Dr. malapani. i am planning to go to his centre for treatment. can you please advise on accomodation please? other than the place in taledo( i read it on their website) can you recomend a good hotel or aprtment near the clinic?

    many thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can find information about hotels near clinic in his website. We stayed in Hotel Godwin. You can search online and you will find it. Sorry no idea of apartment though.

      Lots and lots of good luck !

      Delete
  2. Many thanks. I have searched online but have been unable to get their email address. by any chance do u still have it? how much per night if u can recall? was the hotel to your liking? i have seen some negative reviews about it on trip advisor. please your feedback on your experience at this hotel is very much appreciated. many thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the hotel was good. People are very kind and friendly. But in that area all the hotels are very costly. The price depends on the room you select. It can anywhere between 5000 - 8000 Rs per day. Info@hotelgodwin.in. You can also find so many other hotels in that area.

      Delete

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