Describe your experience with Boston IVF.
Boston IVF Waltham is the best of the best. They have the best medical team, the best surgeons, the best nurses, embryologists, anesthesiologists, and the most experience. My best experience was with the egg retrieval and the embryo transfer. Dr. Riley did both the retrieval and the transfer, and he was amazing. His staff was also amazing - so kind and gentle, very reassuring that they would do everything in their power to help us make a baby, and I trust that they did. We were in very good hands.
Boston IVF literally has video cameras in the embryology lab to watch each embryo so they don't have to disrupt them by handling the petri-dishes - that's amazing. They also gave us a photo of our 7-cell embryo, and did a mock transfer before the real transfer. We were able to watch the transfer on the ultrasound - the entire experience was incredible.
They can't guarantee you that it will work, and in our case it didn't work, but know that it's the best team, with the best technology, and the most experience, and they are doing everything in their power to help you have a baby.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
Cycle 1 at BIVF Worcester was a mess. The short version is that cycle 1 was cancelled due to poor response on stimulation day 7 on a Saturday, over a long holiday weekend, by nurse Tanya who seemed to have no idea what was going on. When we finally had the post-cycle consult, found out that Dr. Thornton did NOT cancel my cycle; she was on vacation. The on-call Dr. cancelled it. She said she would have made the same decision. As a patient under her care during the most critical time in an IVF cycle, we should have been alerted that she was going on vacation and been given the contact info of the on-call Doctor, all of which we told her.
For Cycle 2 we made the decision to move all appointments to BIVF Waltham, and it was a completely different experience. It was well run, the nurses, ultrasound and blood techs were all great. We worked mainly with Kathy, Dr. Thornton's nurse in Waltham, and she was fantastic! Kathy was responsive, personable, and cared about us. She was also able to get in touch with Dr. Thornton when we needed her to, which was huge.
Describe your experience with your nurse.
Kathy was amazing. She was kind and on-top of all the details. During my mock cycle I had a very bad reaction to the estrogen (severe hot flash, extreme dizziness, nauseous) while I was traveling for work, and I was able to reach her via email through out the entire weekend. For the first time, somebody actually checked in on me to see how I was feeling or what the side effects were, and if I was OK to continue. It went a long way with me because she treated me like a person. And on top of that, she was able to coordinate a call with Dr. Thornton when I got home so that I could speak to her directly, which was very reassuring.
What specific things went wrong at this clinic?
- Failed to call in prescriptions to pharmacy
- Lost paperwork
How was your experience with Kim L. Thornton?
We have met with Dr Thornton 3x over 7 months. The initial consult was Dec 23, 2 days before Christmas, in the Worcester office. She had the uncomfortable job of delivering life changing, devastating news - that couldn't have been easy. I was 28 and my blood work showed Premature Ovarian "Insufficiency" (Failure). She was clear that the odds of us conceiving naturally were about 5% if I was ovulating, which I was not.
She's a straight shooter and I respect that about her. She didn't sugarcoat anything just to make us feel better and didn't create any sense of false hope. She was direct. There was no hand-holding. I felt that she had put the best plan together for my specific situation, and trusted her medical expertise.
Dr. Thornton felt that we needed to be aggressive and move straight to IVF. Anything less than that would be a waste of time. I appreciated that she felt the same urgency. We started the full panel of diagnostic testing 5 days later to rule out genetic disorder and prep for IVF.
The 2nd time we met was in February at the Worcester office after all the diagnostic testing. The plan was to proceed with IVF knowing that we won’t get many eggs, but hoping that they will be excellent quality due to my age.
The 3rd time we met was in April at the Waltham office after IVF Cycle 1 was cancelled during day 7 of stimulations, over a holiday long-weekend. My body sort-of responded, but nowhere near the anticipated response given near-normal AMH and Follicle count of 8 in January. The blood work/AFC counts didn’t line up with the results.
She was clear that IVF only works when you have follicles that respond to stimulation. If you don’t have follicles to stimulate, IVF can’t help make eggs that aren’t there. We decided to do an estrogen-priming cycle, change the ratio of meds, and push the dosage to 600iu. We also decided to do a mock cycle to prep the paperwork for Donor Eggs and attend the Donor Egg seminar at BIVF in case IVF Cycle 2 didn't work.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Kim L. Thornton?
Make the commitment and go to the Waltham office for the best care. All of the ultrasounds are recorded on video and it allows the doctors to see what the ultrasound tech sees in real time, significantly better than printed out screen-grabs, or handwritten data.
Also be aware that if the odds of IVF working is 25%, that means that 75% of the IVF cycles are failing. Yes, IVF gives you a chance that you may not have otherwise had, but it's not a magic bullet and it doesn't fix everything.
Keep your own log of everything - it will help you advocate for yourself. Write down notes, dates and times of appointments, names of the nurses, what the results were for all of the tests. Keep track of invoices and health insurance coverage - otherwise you may get stuck with the bill.
Describe the protocols Kim L. Thornton used in your cycles and their degree of success.
Birth Control Pill for 2 months while waiting for insurance approval. CoQ10 to help improve egg quality. Levothyroxine for thyroid (within normal range but higher than ideal for pregnancy). Continued prenatal vitamins.
IVF Cycle 1: 450iu total does of stimulations.
300iu Gonal F Redijet Pen, 150 Menopur daily injections.
Stimulation day 5, blood and ultrasound. AFC: 2 - 4 in left and right ovary. Estrogen 33. Nurse warned that cycle may be cancelled if estrogen didn't increase, but that it we had a chance.
Stimulation day 7, blood and ultrasound. AFC: 2 - 4 in left and right ovary, 1 10mm follicle in left. Estrogen 80. Tanya (nurse) called - cycle cancelled.
Mock Cycle to prep for Donor Egg in case IVF Cycle 2 doesn't work.
Estrogen Patch, 2mg Estrace pill 2x daily for 3 weeks, then ultrasound/blood work to check AFC, uterus lining (8mm needed for Donor Egg cycle). Then Prometrium 200mg for 7 days to induce period.
IVF Cycle 2: 600iu total dose of stimulations.
Menopur 450 iu, Gonal F 150iu daily injections for 14 days
Stimulation day 6, blood and ultrasound: AFC: 2 to 4 in left and right ovary. Estrogen 17.95. Instructed to continue injections, next appointment in 3 days.
Stimulation day 9, blood and ultrasound: Left AFC: 2 to 4, Left Follicle: 11.7mm,
Right AFC: One, Right Follicle: 10.14mm. Estrogen 183. Instructed to continue injections, next appointment in 2 days.
Stimulation day 11, blood and ultrasound, Left AFC: 2 to 4, Left Follicle: 10.5mm
Right AFC: One, Right Follicles: 15.47mm,14.24mm. Estrogen 370. Instructed to keep taking 450 menopur, 150 gonal F, add cetrotide 25mg to suppress ovulation. Next appointment in 2 days.
Stimulation day 13, blood and ultrasound, Left AFC: 2 to 4, Left Follicle: 11.35mm
Right AFC: 2 to 4, Right Follicles: 18.55mm,17.48mm. Estrogen 610. Instructed 450 Menopur, 150 Gonal F, and 25 of Cetrotide tonight. OR Nurse will call on Friday with instructions on when to inject Ovidrel (trigger) and schedule retrieval on Sunday!
Stimulation day 14, Ovidrel 250mcg at 9:30pm
Egg retrieval @ BIVF Waltham 36 hours later. Retrieved 2 eggs, 1 fertilized.
Day 3 transfer of "textbook perfect, High Implantation Potential, 7-cell embryo". Begin crinone 8% daily until beta test.
Period starts 1 day before beta test, instructed to continue crinone and come in for blood pregnancy test anyways. HCG 0.343 mIU/ml, negative.
Follow up appointment scheduled in 12 days.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Kim L. Thornton.
over $50,000 for all diagnostic testing, cycle monitoring, medicine.