Describe your experience with UCLA.
First thing is it's in Santa Monica, which is notorious for awful, expensive parking. Go across the street and park in the meter spots if you have an appointment in the early morning, meter parking is free there until 9am! As for the clinic, it is always clean, comfortable, and warm. The staff are nice and quick with check-in and check-out. You're going to be there every other day sometimes, and they really do recognize you and get to know you. The bedside manner really is great across the board.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
Dr. Brower has an incredible bedside manner and treats every patient uniquely based on that patient's needs and protocol and how the patient like their news/information delivered.
Describe your experience with your nurse.
Teri, IVF Coordinator, is so much fun and so incredibly nice. She has been in the IVF business for over ten years and worked at a couple different clinics. She's seen the industry evolve and really is a great help for injections. She knows the best pharmacy to have your protocol meds purchased through, regardless of them going through insurance or being out of pocket. Additionally, she will coach you on your injection trainings. She has the best tips for painless injections and knows how to administer an injection that normally may sting so that it doesn't. Jessica, nurse for Dr. Brower, is so incredibly sweet and nice ALWAYS. I had doctor appointments at the crack of dawn, 7:30am, and she was always so nice and had a great attitude even at that time of day. A big plus is she is great with blood draws. I have tiny veins that sometimes like to roll, she gets the blood draw in the first poke, no bruises and no pain!
How was your experience with Meredith Brower?
Dr. Brower is an amazing doctor with an incredible bedside manner. I unfortunately needed the assistance of a doctor to conceive, but my husband and I were lucky enough to have Dr. Brower on our side. IVF can be an emotional and time consuming process, nevermind the financial implications if insurance doesn't cover it. However, with Dr. Brower you feel like you have another person besides your spouse and/or any family and friends to turn to. Too often you hear a doctor say he/she understands what is happening to your body or knows what you're going through and they really don't. But this is not the case with Dr. Brower. During every single little step in the process she was there. She is incredibly prompt and detailed in her response to any and all questions - day or night AND on the weekends. She is up to date on her research and studies and is willing to work with you to make your protocol personal and what you specifically need. She helps you find financial assistance, if needed. In addition to Dr. Bower, you get her wonderful team - Teri, IVF Coordinator, who knows where to get the protocol meds cheapest and gives a great injection tutorial, and Jessica, nurse, who is an incredible joy to be around even at 7:30am and can draw blood at first poke even with the tiny veins I have! It is a true blessing to graduate from Dr. Brower's care to the care of a regular OB for the remainder of your pregnancy, but trust me when I say this (as you'll be thinking/saying the same thing) - you'll wish she delivered babies too! I did not want to leaver her office at my last appointment. She invited my husband and I into her office to see if we have any final questions - I always have questions (which she is beyond happy to answer) - and I couldn't muster one, not even to stay longer. I will miss her care immensely, but am excited to work with her again in the future when we want to conceive again.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Meredith Brower?
You made a great choice! Dr. Brower is patient, empathetic, sympathetic, and always available. Even if results aren't always great, you'll know that you have a support system always available.
Describe the protocols Meredith Brower used in your cycles and their degree of success.
I am not infertile, but went through fertility treatment because I have a chromosomal dominant disease that I did not want my child(ren) to have so my protocol may be different. I started off on birth control and the reason for this is to regulate your cycle, calm your ovaries, and so your doctor knows when you are most likely to ovulate. I had ten days of ovarian stimulation which included Gonal-F and Menopur and the final four days included Cetrotide so I wouldn't ovulate. I have a Lupron based trigger shot, which is great if you're a candidate for it as it helps combat the likelihood/side effects of OHSS. Post-retrieval for seven days I took Cabergoline which continues to combat the likelihood/side effects of OHSS. After starting my period, post-retrieval, I started birth control again (I wanted to do the transfer as soon as possible) so that my doctor would know when I would ovulate. I stopped birth control pills about 10-12 days in and got another period and then started a protocol of Estrogen by transdermal patches on my abdomen, which helps produce a thick uterine lining making it more likely that your embryo transfer will produce a pregnancy (thick lining=easier implantation of embryo). The Estrogen also stops ovulation. The five days leading up to the embryo transfer I started Progesterone. Dr. Brower provided a protocol of two Endometrin suppositories and a 1ml evening injection of Progesterone. She allows for Progesterone to be administered in one of three ways: three Endometrin suppositories; two Endometrin suppositories and a 1ml evening injection of Progesterone; or a 2ml evening injection of Progesterone. I started on the original protocol, but found that the injection was a breeze and the suppositories were frankly quite messy that about two days into this (three days prior to transfer) I switched over to the last option - a 2ml evening injection of Progesterone. Big plus is the progesterone by injection is MUCH less expensive than the Endometrin. The Estrogen transdermal patches and Progesterone (whichever protocol you choose) is done until you reach 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Meredith Brower.
0% of IVF and related expenses are covered by my insurance so it was fully out-of-pocket. One cycle of IVF cost about $3,000 and one transfer cycle monitoring cost about $2,000 - these are both paid directly to the doctor's office at the end of the cycle