A pioneer of in vitro fertilization says the procedure is being overused, and that nearly half of all procedures are unnecessary.
In his new book, "Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility", Dr. Sami David takes the billion-dollar business to task.
Dr. David stopped by The Early Show to explain
"The IVF team has gone amok as far as I'm concerned, all right? There are countless women who are going through IVF unnecessarily. They don't realize they're treatable causes for their infertility. They're not having a deep enough evaluation in many cases," he explained.
Asked why he thinks doctors seem to go straight to IVF, rather than doing the detective work, Dr. David said, "Some could be lack of knowledge or lack of interest. They have a product to sell, and they sell IVF. Sometimes it's just the impatience of the patient or impatience of the doctor."
The treatments are not cheap, costing $15,000 to $20,000 per try. David said there are some things couples should know before shelling out that money.
"First off, 40 percent of infertility is male factor infertility. If there is a sperm problem, the doctor should not be pumping the woman up with fertility drugs to make multiple eggs, but rather sending the husband off to see a specialist," he explained. "You need to reach the root cause of their infertility, not just bypass it. If there is a problem with the man, it may represent a medical problem, a serious medical problem. Doctors are missing an opportunity to help the man with his medical problem."
David said he also thinks there is a bit of sexism and ageism. "Once again, 40 percent of infertility is male factored. So why is the woman being pumped up with the drugs to correct the male factor? It's a way of getting a person pregnant, no doubt. There is a role for IVF. But bottom line is you should be seeing the man, sending him to a specialist. And frankly, that's the sexism. The age discrimination, women are being turned away, if they're in their 40s or their hormone is elevated because they would not be good on the statistics that the IVF teams publish to the CDC," he explained.
Read an excerpt of Dr. David's book.
David is a pioneer of the treatment and was part of the that performed the first successful IVF in New York.
Asked why he is now taking on this industry, he said, "I think it is overused. It's being the first choice of treatment rather than the last choice. When it was first opening up in late 1970s, early 80s, it was meant to be the last resort. Now it's a first resort. I think that's an injustice to women. I also think it can harm women in the long run. We don't know what studies there may be in the future regarding health of the woman later on. And health of the babies too."