Describe your experience with Center for Reproductive Medicine of New Mexico.
Strengths: it's very convenient the clinic is inside a hospital. That makes me feel safe somehow even though they have their separate clinic. The blood tests can be done in the hospital, so it's very convenient as well. Dr. Reed, the head embryologist, is very knowledgeable and he is very caring and explains all details if you ask. If it wasn't for him we wouldn't have given a chance to try IVF in this clinic. He said to Dr. Thompson he would take our case given our severity.
Weaknesses: They don't provide a detailed written fertilization report because they simply don't take notes of each day when the embryo/cells are developing. The only thing they have it's a computer sheet they fill out for each day stating if the cells cleaved or not, with some acronyms about the embryo stage and quality. I was very disappointed with the other embryologist. We wanted to talk with him after our complete failed IVF and I never saw a person shake like him (nervous I guess) when he was trying to explain the fertilization "report". He basically didn't remember how our fertilization developed (later in the conversation we found out it was because they don't take notes) and he was giving us a lecture on embryology instead and not giving specific answers for our case. He blamed my eggs and my husband sperm. Little he knows the protocol plays a big role.
From all this experience, I feel Dr. Thompson and the embryology lab live in different worlds in this clinic. Dr. Thompson says in the follow up he would do the same protocol on me because I responded well and my eggs were great. In the same follow up, the embryologist without the presence of Dr. Thompson says my eggs were crappy and Dr. Thompson would change my protocol to improve things. They don't communicate or have a strategy that they are on the same page and the same happened with other things throughout the process.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
I felt that all the times we had appointments with the Dr. he was very eager to see the next patient while still answering our questions. That made us feel like a number. I felt he was bothered with us when we asked important details about the treatment.
Describe your experience with your nurse.
The nurse coordinator there gets a little irritated if you call her back again with the same questions. It's a difficult time and it's ok to ask same questions again even when you have forgotten you already asked them. Overall the nurse coordinator is organized and polite. She answered all our questions when possible in the first appointment. After that, I saw my nurse for the monitoring. Trish was lovely, compassionate. She would answer all my questions making sure I understood the answers and she would return my calls the same day. Very patient in explaining the injections. She is adorable. I am not sure about the other nurses though. She was the one throughout my monitoring during the week. On weekends, the nurse coordinator does the monitoring.
What specific things went wrong at this clinic?
- Lost appointments
- Failed to call with results
- Provided conflicting information
- Failed to convey critical information
How was your experience with Jim Thompson?
Dr. Thompson is a traditional doctor; he follows the book. Meaning that he won't take into account patient recommendations and concerns. For example, we found out a couple of days prior to starting stims with him that the IVF protocol used can play a big role on the quality of the eggs. We scheduled an appointment just to share our concern with that since the protocol he recommended was very high dose for me. He basically said it has been 20 years he has done this practice and he didn't believe the facts we were sharing with him were true and relevant. He was staring at us like we were crazy people. Therefore, he is a very traditional doctor, he won't take current research or patient research into account. Another example of that is when after our complete IVF failure he said he would do the same thing all over again. I always felt rushed in appointments with him. Off course he was listening to us but was all the time mentioning he had to see the next patient instead. He seemed a calm person though, he never raised his voice. He wasn't optimistic about our case. He was ALWAYS bringing donor sperm into the table even after we said we would not like to proceed with that route. I liked he was around in the clinic most of the times. Like for example, during the monitoring, he was there one day to take notes when the nurse coordinator was measuring the follicules. But I think that's an exception since the nurse staff are not there during weekends.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Jim Thompson?
Since I didn't have a good experience regarding the IVF protocol used for me, I'd recommend a prospective patient to ask ahead of time (the first appointment with him) which protocol is going to be used and why. They don't give details like that unless you ask. I would also not decide to go ahead with an IVF here just for convenience of avoiding to travel outside of state. Look for the best options for you and your case. Don't feel like your doctor is the boss because that's exactly the feeling I got from Dr. Thompson.
Describe the protocols Jim Thompson used in your cycles and their degree of success.
Because I have one ovary, Dr. Thompson's strategy was to overstimulate me which doesn't necessarily mean is a good and reasonable strategy. There are papers out there that prove the opposite. Since he is a very traditional doctor, in his words, he put me on a protocol he puts everyone else on. He doesn't tailor protocols according to the patient history. Before stimming, I was put on birth control for 40 days (another problem). Once I stopped birth control and my baseline ultrasound was clear (no cysts) I started stims the next day. I was on 225 IU follistim and 150 IU menopur from day 1 for 9 days without adjusting my dosage (not lower not higher). On day 6 of stims he added ganirelix (250 mcg) and I took it for 3 days. I administered follistim in the mornings and menopur in the nights according to their instructions. Then, I triggered on the 9th day of stimming with HCG 10k units. They retrieved 10 eggs, 8 were mature, 4 fertilized, and one made it to blastocyst (day 6). Did PGS testing and a week later found out the embryo was aneuploid (extra chromosome). We decided not to transfer it. The protocol damaged my eggs since I am young (31 yo) and I was in a pretty healthy diet and supplements for 1 year before IVF.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments.
They scheduled us for a specific time but since they were always running late we would be assisted around 1-2 hours window from our scheduled time. This was very inconvenient since we needed to go back to work but we didn't know the exact time we would be done. In the late stages though it was faster because not everyone was responding the same so there were few people.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Jim Thompson.
IVF with ICSI and monitoring/blood tests included was U$ 17,000.00 Medications were not included. PGS was separate as well. The baseline cost for PGS was U$ 2,500. There was a fee if you had more than 8 embryos to be tested. The first appointments were submitted through insurance. These were appointments before we confirmed we were doing IVF with them. Average, I think it was U$ 300 for each when not including ultrasounds before insurance covered it (they charge the first ultrasound). Semen analysis are also out of pocket as well. We payed U$ 100.00 for one analysis. They were nice to make us a deal for sperm freezing. We payed U$ 1,000.00 for many vials of frozen sperm. I believe for one vial it's around U$ 300.00.