My Recent Trip To China
The trip to Shanghai itself was quite interesting. My husband accompanied me and we were there for one week. The population of Shanghai is about 20 million! The number of high-rise buildings and skyscrapers continued for dozens of miles before even entering the city center. The subway system there is excellent and street traffic was not too bad. The traffic was constant, though, with beeping horns heard 24 hours a day. The weather in November was fairly pleasant but the skies were always hazy, with a combination of marine layer and pollution. The city was full of incredible shopping destinations with rows of designer shops with every name brand designer you can think of. The local shops goods, however, were very low-end and left a lot to be desired. In the usual tourist areas, street people were constantly trying to get us to follow them to view their knock-off counterfeit goods. We visited several parks and temples and tried to take in as much local culture as possible. The traditional Chinese architecture and culture is disappearing quickly in this fast-paced economy.
We had the opportunity to visit an IVF center in Shanghai, affiliated with one of the local hospitals. This center performs over 2,000 IVF cycles per year (compared to 800 a year at PFC). The center was not as clean as I would have hoped and there was a very crowded waiting room of patients waiting for ultrasound scans, blood tests and procedures. I did not get the sense that providing accommodating customer service was high on their list of priorities. Speaking to one of the laboratory staff there, it does seem as though they do most of the same type of IVF work we do at PFC, with the exception of ovum donation, surrogacy and sex selection, all of which are not allowed in the IVF centers in China.
Overall, it was a fascinating trip and I enjoyed the chance to tell others about the exciting new genetic technology affecting fertility patients.
-Carolyn Givens, M.D.