How was your experience with Andre Denis at ACRM?
When you are one on one with Dr. Denis he seems to exhibit understanding and compassion. For the first three egg retrievals before the transfer process, we left feeling optimistic about next steps and grounded in a firm outcome of what happened during the last cycle. We also never felt rushed and he answered all the questions we brought to him. He is not the right doctor for you, however, if you like more grounded statistics and forthcoming details of the process. While he will answer all the questions you ask, when you are going through any piece of this for the first time, you might not know what to ask. Additionally, our last conversation did not go well with him and ultimately cemented our decision not to go back to him at all in the future. While my husband and I both know IVF doesn't mean the outcome of having a baby, there are two places where we feel let down by him: 1) Dr. Denis had clearly stated in an earlier debrief in March, "I feel confident you have one child between these two embryos." We did not have a child between those two embryos and now know that potential was misrepresented and overstated. When questioned about this, Dr. Denis got defensive and said, "This is just biology rearing it's ugly head." I would have rather heard that in March than be filled with false expectations. 2) We did not have critical information at key times in our cycles which could have impacted our decisions. Without going into vivid detail, we became aware of things that could go wrong AFTER they could go wrong, leaving us with few if any options. For people with large amounts of embryos, this might be less pertinent. We had fewer embryos and EVERY decision point was crucial. While there might be lines buried deep in consent forms of risks, some of the outcomes we got were never brought up in initial conversations. When we brought his up, twice, he mentioned it was in the consent forms.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Andre Denis at ACRM?
If you like to by assuaged with hope and have unlimited funds to put towards this journey, Dr. Denis will be a good fit for you. If you prefer someone who speaks more accurately and thoroughly, he is not the right fit for you. Additionally, if you do choose Dr. Denis, I would recommend having a lawyer read your consent forms with you to walk you through all of the key points.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Andre Denis at ACRM?
When we were in the same physical location with Dr. Denis, we found him to be engaging and thoughtful. This is true of most of the staff we encountered (not all, but most). I would especially like to highlight nurses Patty and Ellie as well as Meghan (whom we had as the main contact on our last cycle). Working with them was always a positive experience. While everyone was nice, the communication between different people playing a role in your cycle was annoying at best and catastrophic at worst. This is important because we only saw our doctor at the beginning of the cycle and the end of the cycle - he was never involved in the day-to-day. Here are some of the smaller things that would make the practice more patient-centric (this feedback has been shared with ACRM): 1) Electronic SIgnature software (like Docusign) for all of the paperwork. Coming into the office or printing and finding a notary was extremely cumbersome. 2) Adhering to 24 hour email response/phone call time. This was not with our second nurse Meghan, but this was a big issue that left me hanging multiple times with our first nurse. 3) Having the patient's team completely on the same page. Namely, if the doctor says things like "supplements and acupuncture aren't necessary," but then the nurse says otherwise, it is confusing. 4) Providing patients with a folder or website with all pertinent information in one place like: phone numbers and contact info for their team at ACRM, Info for the Pharmacy, injection guides, pertinent statistics and FAQs for their procedure/cycle. Without these things, we go to Google. Those were the smaller things that are "nice to haves," but we also had bigger issues with communication that made us feel ever more like a number. 1) We found out pertinent statistics to our cycles AFTER critical decision points. For example, we were not verbally informed of the survival rates of embryos from the thaw...until after we didn't have one of our two embryos survive the thaw on transfer day. For me personally, I like to know more information rather than less so I can manage my expectations. 2) We had three failed cycles and each time we found out from someone we didn't know. Dr. Denis said this is normal for doctors not to be the ones to share the news and got defensive when we brought it up. I am not sure what the standard is in medicine for sharing bad news, but regardless - hearing the news from someone else always us with alot of questions after we got the news from someone else as they didn't know our whole story or context.
Describe the protocols Andre Denis used in your cycles at ACRM and their degree of success.
I stimmed three times - I had an endometrioma on one ovary, so was operating with only one ovary. Each cycle (I believe), he increased the dosage of Gonal F and Menopur. We added HGH the second and third cycles. I then would start Cetrotide for several nights followed by three trigger shots (one lupron, then the trigger, followed by another lupron). I got 8, 9, then 10 eggs each cycle (mainly from the one functioning ovary). For the transfer, I was on Estradiol for about three weeks with progesterone in oil added five days before the transfer until the last beta.
Describe your experience with your nurse at ACRM. (Assigned nurse: Meghan Kent)
For our first two cycles we had Tulsi - she has gotten good reviews from others on this site, but she was a disaster for us to work with. She seemed checked out and unresponsive (perhaps a moment in time for her, but that was our experience). Meghan Kent was our nurse for our third transfer and moving forward - she was a breath of fresh air. Super responsive, on top of things, and compassionate.
Describe your experience with ACRM.
Pros: -Facilities are very nice -Nursing staff is very very kind -All procedures seemed to run smoothly Cons: -Communication (see earlier large example with Dr. Denis, with the addition of smaller things like having to send consent forms to multiple people multiple times and lack of responsiveness from first nurse.) -Small improvements could make a big difference (things like electronic signatures, appointment reminders for monitoring visits, FAQs, etc)
Describe the costs associated with your care under Andre Denis at ACRM.
Each cycle, including ICSI and PGS testing, was around $14,000. Medications ran between $4000-6000, so around 20k per cycle. The transfer of one embryo cost around $4000 (slightly over). Medications for the transfer were covered by insurance.
Describe Andre Denis's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at ACRM.
Dr. Denis highly recommended ICSI and PGS testing to then only do eSET. I don't remember multiple embryos in one transfer being a conversation. Fresh transfers are also not an option. In retrospect, I wish we had the option of a fresh transfer as we lost one of our viable embryos in the freeze process.
What specific things went wrong at ACRM?
- Lost paperwork
- Failed to call with results
- Provided conflicting information
- Failed to convey critical information
Describe the specific things that went wrong at ACRM.
Please see earlier comments.