The effect of indium doping in the graded-index regions of the InGaAs/GaAs/AlGaAs graded-index separated confinement heterostructure quantum well laser has been studied. It was found that the threshold current density can be greatly reduced by a proper amount of In doping in the graded AlGaAs region. This result is attributed to an improvement in material quality due to a reduction in group III vacancies. The effect of thermal treatment on laser performance has also been studied. Although high temperature annealing can significantly improve non-In-doped lasers, it has little effect on In-doped lasers.