An Interview With Dr. Kaberi

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How did you get into this particular branch of medicine?

As a child, I wanted to be a doctor. I was very impressed by Dr. Hinduja’s feature in The Illustrated Weekly of India. As I joined MD in Gynecology, I was fascinated by this subject and hence, I pursue my specialization.

What motivates you in this field?

The happiness, good wishes of all successful couples and the frustrations of all those who have not made it yet!

What is good patient care?

According to me, understanding the pain, clear communication, a good IVF laboratory and excellent clinical services.

How do you address a patient’s emotional needs?

A patient’s initial consultation is where all the issues are addressed. The team then takes over to comfort them through the journey. I am always there as I do all the procedures myself including their scans.

Who is an ideal patient? And an ideal infertility doctor?

An ideal patient has made up her mind. She understands the process and trusts the doctor. She is hoping for the best but is prepared for the worst. An ideal infertility doctor is well-trained, has an excellent staff, has good communication skills and is humane.

Can you describe the most challenging case you have handled so far?

In one case, an American lady with repeated IVF failures. We had tried twice and I was not willing to try anymore as her egg quality was not good nor the endometrium. She still wanted to try and went ahead with 3 more cycles elsewhere. After being unsuccessful, she came back with her sister to try a donor egg IVF cycle. I suggested we go ahead with surrogacy. She was still keen to conceive in her own womb, understandably. That failed! By now, she had come to terms with her condition. She was open to surrogacy. She did 2 cycles with me. Both were successful and now she is a happy mother of a boy and a girl. In this long tiresome journey, I must also give credit to her husband who stood by her always.
Another case involved a middle-class couple from New Delhi. They had undergone two IVF cycles elsewhere. I did an ultrasound and found what is called a hydrosalpinx, which is water in the fallopian tubes. This can be harmful to the growing embryos in the uterus and reduces success by half. I went ahead and did a laparoscopic procedure where we disconnected this damaged tube with the uterus. We tried an IVF cycle which failed. Fortunately, we had frozen enough embryos. We thawed the embryos and transferred three. She became pregnant. Today, the couple are proud parents of a beautiful daughter.
The third which I want to highlight was not a technology driven case, but I remember the relief on the couples face when I told them they did not need any expensive treatment. This couple was unable to consummate their marriage for the past 5 years. They had been to all kinds of specialists and tried everything. They were now desperate to have a child. They were told this could never happen till they consummate or IVF was the only option. They were mortified of IVF. I assured them that this was not necessary and explained a simple technique called Artificial Insemination which they could practice at home. The couple was immensely relieved. They came back 4 months later with beaming faces and a positive pregnancy test.

How would you explain IVF to a layman? And what all is involved in it?

IVF means In Vitro Fertilization, meaning fertilization outside the body as opposed to In Vivo Fertilization which is fertilization inside the body, which happens normally. In this, a woman is given hormonal injections for 10 days from the second day to create many mature eggs as opposed to a single egg in a menstrual cycle. These eggs are collected with the help of a needle. There is no pain and it is a day care procedure. The sperms are also collected the same day and fertilization is done in the lab. The fertilized eggs become embryos which are the initial stage of the baby. This is inserted 2-3 days after the fertilization. Then there is a 2-week wait when we come to know if the embryos have implanted or not and if the process has been successful.

Is IVF hard to go through?

Emotionally, yes. Since most patients think, this is the last option and if this fails, it is the end of their hope. Also, for many, it is financially taxing (around Rs 1.5 lakhs/cycle, all inclusive). The pain of injections post transfer is also high. However, if one is fully prepared for the process, then for many, IVF is a breeze. I have had many patients saying that they did not know IVF was so simple and easy since they read many misguiding stories on the internet.
Dr. Kaberi Banerjee is rated as one of the best IVF doctors in Delhi and a leading infertility specialist in India.

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