We have been asked recently why our center does not participate in clinical trials. The answer is because most clinical trials are designed to help the company backing the trial and not for the best interest of the patient.
For example, a clinical trial that compares the effectiveness of two IVF medications provides answers to the pharmaceutical company, but may not offer the right medication for the patient. In a trial such as this, the patient is assigned one particular stimulation medication at a specific dose. If that medication and dose does not work for the patient, the doctor is restricted by the trial parameters from prescribing additional medications or adjusting the dose to best optimize the cycle. In this case, even though the patient received free medications, they have wasted money and time on a cycle that was not effective.
We do not believe in practicing “one-size fits all” medicine. Everyone responds differently to stimulation medications and we prefer having the freedom of being able to customize each cycle to our patients needs.
If you are looking to take part in a clinical trial, here are some questions you should ask:
- Would I use this specific treatment or center if it weren’t for the trial?
- How many people are applying and how many will be accepted into the trial?
- What is the specific timeline of the trial?
- What if my body doesn’t respond to my assigned medication?
- Do I have to start or stop specific medications to prepare for the trial?
- What are the hidden costs of the cycle? i.e, pre-trial consultation fee, pre-trial testing, charges for cycle monitoring, anesthesia, ICSI, embryo freezing, storage fees, etc.
- What is the trial criteria for transferring embryos and what is the center success rate with this criteria?