Describe your experience with Advanced Fertility Associates.
The clinic is outdated but very comfortable and low lit. I feel like I'm at my grandma's house. There is a nice coffee and water dispenser with cookies in the waiting room and the front desk is quick to say hello and welcome you. It is a very warm feeling there and friendly.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Jennifer Ratcliffe at Advanced Fertility Associates?
She always listened to what we wanted and she advised us to transfer 3 embryos because they were only day 3 cleavage. There was no pressure from her and maybe there should have been more. We knew we couldn't handle triplets and we didn't want to take that chance and asked for only 2 embryos for the transfer. I did not get pregnant. I was sad about that but knew that she had advised us probably correctly the first time. Our 3rd embryo was discarded because it cannot be refrozen without risk of damage and it also had some significant fragmentation in the first place. Dr. Ratcliffe was very sorry about us not achieving the pregnancy and was very kind the day after the negative test result and then gave us other options.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Advanced Fertility Associates. (Assigned nurse: Bonnie Day)
Bonnie was wonderful and explained things very well! She was always quick to respond to my many emails and clearly instructed me how to give myself injections. The injections were not all that bad because of Bonnie's careful instructions. I couldn't even find Youtube videos that were as good as Bonnie's instructions. Bonnie also made me helpful calendars and gave great us driving directions since Santa Rosa is somewhat off the main roads.
How was your experience with Jennifer Ratcliffe at Advanced Fertility Associates?
I think Dr. Ratcliffe is a great doctor and is one of the few who keeps up on the current fertility medical research, which is more than a lot of doctors can say. I care more about getting pregnant than having someone listen to my infertility sadness. She did listen carefully when I was talking about medical problems and history. She did really study my charts and tests before and after my appointments and knew my health well. She is thorough, has a high success rate, and keeps costs very low compared to several other clinics we've seen. Her goal is to get you pregnant and she considers that a challenge. I like the fast appointments with the doctor and very little waiting room time. She thinks about all of her clients/patients in a medical sense and analyzes what they need to become pregnant but does not spend a whole lot of time with you. I appreciate that Dr. Ratcliffe found uterine scar tissue during my saline sonogram from past miscarriages and removed it without additional cost. This scar tissue was not seen by other doctors and was not removed after a D&C and ultrasound from another clinic. She spent a good deal of time after the saline sono explaining how this scar tissue could impede pregnancy. She even drew me a picture of it, even though I could see it on the big screen during treatment. Ultimately I think she can get me pregnant and we will keep trying. We used embryos that were slow freeze and only day 3. She said if I want to increase my chances of pregnancy, then we need to use embryos preserved with vitrification and that are 5 day old or use fresh eggs and sperm. She said, "Our clients come to us for a short period of time and then achieve the results they want and we don't usually see them again" (unless they want another). I think this is a great mantra when so many other fertility doctors just want your money and are happy to have you come back many times. The other doctors might empathize more with your infertility emotions, but I doubt they study your condition with all your medical testing and consider how to have success in a short time with a low cost. I read the reviews of how she was blunt and had poor bedside manner. We didn't see this behavior and my husband also thought she was great in spite of past bad reviews. My husband's only wish was that she would have explained how low our chances of pregnancy are with day 3 cleavage embryos from a slow freeze. I still don't think we would have done anything differently.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Jennifer Ratcliffe at Advanced Fertility Associates?
Ultimately she will go with what you want. However, I would listen to what she suggests because it would have been better for us to go that direction. She has a PhD in addition to her MD and has done all of this before and researched it and seen it done before. I think she will get you pregnant faster than doing it your own way.
Describe the protocols Jennifer Ratcliffe used in your cycles at Advanced Fertility Associates and their degree of success.
I had a saline sonogram with her where she removed a lot of scar tissue. I had a mammogram, pap smear, and blood tests for infectious diseases elsewhere. Her protocol then started out with 1.5/30 birth control, 81mg Aspirin, prescription B vitamins, prenatal vitamin, then Lupron, then estradiol injections, then progesterone injections, then Medrol, and Prometrium. There were 2 ultrasounds a couple weeks and one week before FET to check for the activity of the ovaries.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Jennifer Ratcliffe at Advanced Fertility Associates.
We had an initial phone consult $240. We purchased embryos for $800. I had a saline sonogram $350. The medications from MDR $1,250. Then the embryo transfer cost of $4,250. The total was like $6,890 plus travel expenses. I had to visit the office three times and we live many hours away so needed a hotel room.
Describe Jennifer Ratcliffe's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Advanced Fertility Associates.
My doctor is correct in that more embryos should be transferred depending on their quality, how old the embryos are, and the means in which they were cryopreserved. I wish she would have explained her reasoning a little more in the beginning rather than so easily let us have our way. Single or double embryo transfer is NOT helpful when you are dealing with day 3 cleavage embryos. My embryos were graded good (7 cells, 0% frag) and fair (6 cells, 10% frag) and I still did not get pregnant.