He [Dr. Payson] demonstrated a complete lack of initiative to find out why I was having trouble conceiving and ovulating...It was not until after three unsuccessful timed intercourse cycles that Dr. Payson even bothered to get back in touch with me to discuss the cycles and next steps...he said there was no way I had PCOS because I am thin and do not exhibit the typical outward traits...He simply said that the next step was IVF or I could continue timed intercourse if I wanted...It ultimately turns out that I do have PCOS.
CCRM in general seem to be a fertility mill cycling as many patients in as possible. The wait times were exorbitantly long and it always felt like the staff were just rushing from one person to the next...trying to have my records sent to my new doctor was a complete nightmare. I submitted the paperwork through the patient portal as requested and it required me to call at least four times for the paperwork to be sent over. The receptionist acted as if I was bothering her by making this request since she had other work to do. The records that were sent were a total mess, in no sort of order, and over 100 documents long.
How was your experience with Mark Payson at CCRM Northern Virginia?
I originally contacted Dr. Payson because I thought I might not be ovulating after 4 months of trying to get pregnant and I wanted to confirm whether I was or not. After an initial consult, Dr. Payson had me come in for bloodwork and immediately jumped into a timed intercourse cycle with no search for whether I had been ovulating or not and if not, what might be causing it.
It was not until after three unsuccessful timed intercourse cycles that Dr. Payson even bothered to get back in touch with me to discuss the cycles and next steps.
During this time I had been doing my own research and, after my third unsuccessful cycle, sought out a second and third opinion. Both the second and third opinion doctors thought it was highly likely that I might have PCOS given my clear lack of natural ovulation and polycystic ovaries. When I asked Dr. Payson about PCOS during our consult after my three failed cycles, he said there was no way I had PCOS because I am thin and do not exhibit the typical outward traits. He simply said that the next step was IVF or I could continue timed intercourse if I wanted. He demonstrated a complete lack of initiative to find out why I was having trouble conceiving and ovulating.
It ultimately turns out that I do have PCOS. Luckily my new doctor insisted on finding out if there were any diagnosable reasons for my infertility and lack of ovulation before proceeding. Besides fertility, PCOS can have ramifications for life, including potential diabetes. It was also peace of mind to know that there may be a cause and that potential lifestyle changes could help a bit (even if not substantially, being empowered with that information made the process much smoother).
There is another fairly common reason for infertility and lack of ovulation (I cannot remember what it is called) that a simple blood test can determine. If someone has this, a procedure is required to fix it or no fertility treatment will be successful. My new doctor discovered in all of the records sent over from CCRM that this simple test was never completed for me so we needed to interrupt my current fertility cycle to test for it. Luckily I was negative. However, just knowing that likely or simple to fix issues were causing my infertility but that Dr. Payson never tested for them or even considered them was completely infuriating.
During my timed intercourse cycle, there was never any explanation of what exactly was going on, never any adjustments of the medicines that were prescribed, or anything else. In addition to my initial consult, my new doctor has already called me four times (not during scheduled appointments but to provide information, check-in, let me know what the next steps are and why she prescribed certain medications).
I am still in the middle of a cycle with my new doctor but I feel like a human with her and like a valued patient. I appreciated that she was willing to look deeply into what was the cause of my infertility because the answer could affect treatment and also my life in general.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Mark Payson at CCRM Northern Virginia?
Avoid CCRM at all costs. I know there are many positive reviews and I'm sure that patients who have a successful outcome are likely to rate a doctor and clinic highly and the reverse as well. However, I have still not had a positive outcome at my new clinic and it is still considerably better. Go to CCRM if you have an easily-diagnosed infertility issue, or are trying to conceive with a donor. Do not go there if you would like any inquiry into your infertility or any explanations along the way.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Mark Payson at CCRM Northern Virginia?
Dr. Payson and CCRM in general seem to be a fertility mill cycling as many patients in as possible. The wait times were exorbitantly long and it always felt like the staff were just rushing from one person to the next.
Describe the protocols Mark Payson used in your cycles at CCRM Northern Virginia and their degree of success.
For all three cycles of timed intercourse, I was prescribed 5mg of Letrozole daily for 5 days, was then seen for bloodwork and ultrasounds every few days, and then prescribed Ovidrel for my trigger shot. During one of my cycles, my follicles failed to grow to the needed size so the 5mg of Letrozole was prescribed for an additional five days. The medication dosages were never altered nor was any rational for using them (vs any other medications or lower or higher dosages) used. Similarly with timed intercourse, no other options were discussed until after three failed cycles at which time IVF was recommended, although additional cycles of timed intercourse were not ruled out.
Describe your experience with your nurse at CCRM Northern Virginia. (Assigned nurse: Emily)
Emily was fantastic to work with and honestly, the only bright spot at CCRM. However, it felt like ALL of the communication, information, direction, follow-up was on her shoulders rather than Dr. Payson ever interacting with me during the cycle.
The phlebotomist was always friendly and a welcome face and the ultrasound techs were always nice.
Describe your experience with CCRM Northern Virginia.
I honestly cannot think of a strength of this clinic. The wait times are exorbitantly long (trust me, I've now been to two other clinics, one of which is large and one small) and the times are miniscule compared to CCRM.
The disorganization here is just insane. When I first started at CCRM (I should have paid attention to my gut then), I needed to come in for two tests. I worked with a nurse to schedule the appointment and then came in, without a full bladder as instructed, at the appointed time. My bloodwork was taken but then it turned out that I had been instructed to make an appointment at the wrong day of my cycle and without a full bladder (when it needed to be full) so they could not do the other test that day. I rescheduled the test for the correct date. I came in as scheduled with a full bladder and then waited for over an hour during which time I needed to urinate badly. The staff were astonished that I was instructed to have a full bladder because the procedure actually requires an empty bladder. As I said, I should have known then.....
I had undergone genetic testing by my primary gyno before I started with CCRM. It turns out that I am the carrier of a fairly scary genetic disorder. Therefore, my boyfriend and I wanted him to be tested for this specific genetic deficiency. I had provided CCRM with all of the associated paperwork so that they could test my boyfriend. He had checked with his insurance and they would cover him for the deficiency I am a carrier of. He went to CCRM and had his bloodwork taken (for the genetic deficiency and a few other things) and, as I'm sure you can guess by the above information, they forgot to draw blood to test him for the genetic deficiency. He then had to go back to have his blood re-drawn. Luckily, it turned out he was not a carrier for the deficiency so we were in the clear! Fast forward a few months, his insurance denied the claim for the genetic testing and he's been arguing this with them since then. Fast forward a few more months, I started seeing a new doctor at a new practice and had my records sent over (that is another story of its own). It turns out that CCRM tested my boyfriend for THE WRONG genetic deficiency. This means that we do not actually know whether he is a carrier of the same deficiency as me. This is also why his insurance denied the claim - because there was zero reason to test for this genetic deficiency.
Finally, trying to have my records sent to my new doctor was a complete nightmare. I submitted the paperwork through the patient portal as requested and it required me to call at least four times for the paperwork to be sent over. The receptionist acted as if I was bothering her by making this request since she had other work to do. The records that were sent were a total mess, in no sort of order, and over 100 documents long.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Mark Payson at CCRM Northern Virginia.
With my insurance, timed intercourse was $300 per cycle. This seems reasonable (and I'm sure the costs for it without insurance is substantially more but it is at other clinics as well).
What specific things went wrong at CCRM Northern Virginia?
- Failed to call with results
- Failed to order appropriate test
- Provided conflicting information
- Failed to convey critical information